Friday, 21 September 2007

7+1 Top UK Straplines

Yesterday’s post was on the importance of brands and the contribution straplines make. Continuing the ‘7+1’ series with something different, today we review seven-plus-one top UK bus-related straplines, all of which are important in playing their part in brand development and recognition. Feel free to add your own comments on these or other bus-related straplines we might've missed.

1. “The Brighter Bus Company”
Transdev Yellow Buses
Near enough safe and incorruptible. Stresses the complete change of image post July 2006, encapsulating a more vivid livery, while nicely setting the brand apart from its neighbouring competitor. Could, though, be tainted by such comments as, “Which bright spark thought to withdraw the 1C from Hengistbury Head?”

2. “The Driving Force in Local Travel”
Early innovation both in Avon and Poole but with elements of risk. A good example of the early application of a strapline in developing brand recognition, when brands and straplines were coming into vogue. Puns such as this and Hampshire Bus’ “We’re getting there” are now less popular but nonetheless played an important part in setting bus brands apart. The reliance on too specific a transport-related link made it vulnerable.

3. “Essential Travel for our City”
Brighton & Hove

Safe and incorruptible. Emphasises the importance of the local bus service to the area, the personal relevance of the bus service to the people of Brighton and its economy, and that B&H contributes to the cosmopolitan life of this ‘new’ city.

4. “Love Metro”
Safe and incorruptible. Makes no wild promises about transformations, being the best or improved standards. Instead, a soft focus aims to engender ownership, relationship and personality, perfect for emphasising the hugely popular changes made since 2005.

5. “The Really Good Bus Company”
Trent Barton
Powerful but potentially risky. Clever, reassuring, delightful even, this strapline encapsulates in a straightforward way the changes made by Trent Barton over 20 years and the sort of guarantees it offers. Dangerous if things go wrong.

6. “Serving Coast & Countryside”
Wilts & Dorset

Safe and incorruptible. Again, nothing here about false promises. You can’t really argue with this strapline. In an area that relies on an influx of tourists, it automatically aligns with satisfying the needs of that important market segment.

7. “Transforming Travel”
First Group
Clever but with an element of risk. Pleasing alliteration suggesting a forward, innovative business, reflected in such projects as its 84 yellow school buses and York & Leeds ftr but potentially hijackable when things go wrong (e.g. in West Lothian, as First this week responded to safety and service criticisms).

7+1 “Public Transport Info”
Can’t really argue with Traveline’s strapline, but is it 'strong' enough to be able to build the brand? An opportunity certainly not missed in Scotland with “Public transport made personal” and the excellent Welsh “Unravelling travelling”.

Other interesting straplines worth a mention include, “We take care of everything”, reinforcing WA Shearing’s total package; Coachmarque’s “Not all coach companies are the same”; Megabus’ “Low cost intercity travel in the UK”; “Excelsior – the exception”; and “Citylinking… smart thinking”.


fourcryingoutloud said...

Warrington Borough Transport's recent makeover as Network Warrington includes the slogan "making warrington move" - which I think is pretty clever and seems to be apt given the recent rise in patronage and a 15% reduction in morning peak-time congestion. Might come unstuck the next time there's an accident on Thelwall Viaduct however!

Anonymous said...

Southern Vectis' "the island's buses" can hardly go wrong! but it states the obvious!

Anonymous said...

I agree with your Trent Barton comments. I wonder how many letters of complaints they get saying "so much for you being a 'really good bus company'" - it does set them up for a fall!

Anyone who lives near Brighton knows how essential the buses are there. They allude to the traffic jams and parking problems in the ads that run on the back of their buses so I think it is certainly an essential commodity while in some places buses seem to be a token gesture as opposed to something we rely upon

GeneralAdam said...

Another Straplin is Cambus'
"Cambus-much less fuss" Quite workable- unless the bus is crowded, late or stuck in a traffic jam (or all three)

Anonymous said...

I like Stagecoach in Sheffield's "By bus, by tram - buy one ticket" or something like that. A certain rign tto it. Does this qualify as a strapline?

busing / omnibuses blog said...

Thank you all for your comments.

The Cambus strapline is a good example of the “old order”. Could Warrington’s be just a little risky? Unlike the Stagecoach Sheffield offering and that from Southern Vectis – both safe.

David said...

I just tried Travel Line to find the times of buses from Newton to Denbury. Bit of a waste of time, it offered so many altenatives I didn't know where to start. So I will wait until I get to Newton tomorrow and go and take a photo of the Country Bus Timetable. Much quicker.

Anonymous said...

Capital Citybus used to have "mvoing comfortably ahead" which on a 15 year metro was a bit rich!!!

Anonymous said...

I can never quite understand big bold slogans like "Transforming Travel" or the National Express "Making Travel Simpler" because they don't necessarily reflect reality, unless you've done something to boast about (for instance Trent Barton) or something which reflects on the geographical area of the company its probably best to stear clear, maybe NX should have spent longer designing a descent livery that a clever strapline!

Eric said...

I recall National Welsh's strapline in the late 80s was "Moving in the Right Direction". Maybe not the best in hindsight....

RC169 said...

Eric - no 'maybe' about it!