The mini cab firm says the strategic shift comes at a time “of strength” when awareness and recall for the brand are high throughout the capital.
However, a more competitive market and an unwillingness to evolve the brand over the last 40 years, had left the business unequipped to go after a larger customer base, according to head of marketing and product innovation director Nick Constantinou.
Constantinou who joined the company last month, is developing its first integrated marketing strategy to tackle the issue. Unlike its rivals, Addison Lee owns the “whole value chain”, meaning everything from driving training to innovation will feed into the customer-focused principles.
“We’re known as a provider of corporate transport but nearly half of our journeys are for people”, he adds.
“Being customer centric hasn’t been a priority [for Addison Lee] while the business has been growing from strength to strength. What we’re trying to do now is understand the role we play in people’s lives so we can build on that strong awareness in the corporate world”, adds Constantinou.
Mobile marketing and digital products will be the strategy’s primary focus in the short-term.
The company plans to use the data it has gathered over the years to amplify its geo-location ads to target commuters at certain times of the day with promotions and messages based on what zones they normally travel to.
Addison Lee will also broaden the range of services it offers, which it says will concentrate on helping consumers “run their lives a little easier”. A service that transports young families across the capital in a “safe and engaging” manner is an example of how the plan will unfold, says Constantinou.
Further brand partnerships are in the pipeline after the company’s tie-up with London Cocktail Week, whereby visitors were offered two types of non-alcoholic cocktails if they won a free cab ride, was well received.
The marketing charge comes at a time of heightened pressure for traditional mini-cab firms from app-based services offering cheaper fares. Despite the criticisms heaped on the likes of Uber and Hailo over its unfair business model, Constantinou recognises the competition is needed in order to grow the market. The company is the biggest cab firm in the UK with 10m passengers in London per year. Uber does not reveal figures, while Hailo has 1 million customers worldwide.
“Addison Lee has around 10 per cent of the private transport market in London and we have just under 5,000 cars. There are about 70,000 cars across the city in the private transport market and so we feel there’s enough pie for everyone to share. We’re keeping an eye on [Uber] but the brand hasn’t had an impact on us”, he adds.
” Addison Lee has one marketing eye on international expansion, particularly in the US, which it says will play a “massive role” in the brand’s story moving forward.