When overcoming negative perceptions it is essential to promote positive performance. I bumped into this ad at Gloucester Road tube station this week. The London Underground is currently running an evidence based, performance campaign to boost its reputation.
A 40% drop in delays implies that there is still a considerable way to go. To a Swiss or a German this would be anathema, but to us Brits we always award points for trying. To us it shows that things have improved and we are heading in the right direction. In the UK we like to live in hope. We value trying as much as winning. Good old London Underground I say.
I was struck by the directness of the message and the execution. No fluff here. When trying to improve a negative image it pays to advertise the facts and stats. When reputation is low, this is not the time to over promise and under deliver. Customers like to be informed of the measure of improvements – what you have done rather than what you intend to do. It’s promoting the journey, not promising the destination. If the evidence stacks up, perception will be transformed.
The best in class case study of such a perception shift was the ‘T5 is working’ campaign directed by BBH London following the debacle of the T5 launch in 2008. We all remember the mountains of lost luggage that was dispatched to Italy following the opening of the terminal – maybe your bag was among them?
The state of the art, high tec, opening promises turned into a very British kind of chaos. Fair play to BAA though. Five years on and T5 has recently been voted the world’s favourite airport terminal by airport customers. That was some turnaround.
It is the combination of real improvement (reduced delays, waiting time, security time, lost luggage etc.) and the visibility of improvement that makes the difference. Not one without the other.
I hope the London Underground is successful in both improving the traveller’s experience and rewarded with improved reputation through the promotion of it. I am with them for the journey.