Think for a moment about some of the world’s largest & fastest growing brands these days and you’re likely to come up with names like Ebay, Facebook, Tripadvisor, Instagram, Twitter and now AirBnB and Uber.
They’re not traditional products pushed out to consumers via traditional marketing programs.
No, they’re communities of like-minded people who connected with each other around an idea.
With Ebay they liked the idea of buying and selling goods to each other without a retailer between them.
Now AirBnB has skirted around the traditional hotel infrastructure and booking systems and travellers have gathered around the concept of renting a room or apartment directly from the owner.
One of the more recent names to emerge is Uber. This concept has exploded in recent months with people under 30 rallying around the idea of connecting directly with an owner/driver in their private vehicle to take them home after a night out.
Often the more traditional businesses in a particular category are slow to react to these new entrants. So, let’s examine the taxi category and specifically on the key operator Yellow Cabs.
Yellow Cabs have taxis in Brisbane, Hobart, Yeppoon, Warwick and Rockhampton so they have lots of critical mass – and history too. The company has 1200 vehicles doing over 12 million jobs annually. A truly great success story.
Like many businesses Yellow Cabs has seen off challenges from competitors and weathered many changing market conditions. But are they now faced with a category game-changer like they’ve never seen before?
Why are the Gen X and Y’s flocking to Uber? And what can Yellow Cabs do about it?
So, the business model is quite compelling.
But what’s really interesting is how Yellow Cabs will react. Will they push communications out for their brand in an attempt to counter Uber’s market share gains or will they rethink their model? That is, brand versus community.
History is littered with case studies of organisations that couldn’t or wouldn’t adapt to a shifting market or technology. Look at Kodak. This organisation actually invented the technology that became its demise – the digital camera. Kodak just couldn’t shift from its film based business model.
Will this game changer change the public transport category forever?
Also, are you an Uber user? If so, why have you switched? I’m keen to hear your views.
Paul Cornwell is a Managing Director at BCM