The Bus Industry of Greater Copenhagen had become a place you did not want to work, delivering unatractive services to its passengers. We gathered the industry and changed how they looked at themselves. We changed their service and helped them build a positive image in the public.
We gathered the private and public part of Copenhagen's bus industry with hundreds of busses and 4,000 bus drivers. During the four years in which the project ran, activities were implemented in order to change the behavior of the employees and transform the industry. We gave power to the bus drivers because the customers said that the drivers with character were essential to a good experience. Already within the first 8 months, we delivered results on several dimension, for example in relation to job satisfaction, which increased from 72 to 90 percent.
Bus drivers with character - that's a pioneer project. I think this is the beginning of many good stories about taking the bus. This project will be instrumental in achieving that. Lars Barfoed
Danish Minister of Transportation, 2008
A strategy of transforming an industry
We wanted to create a new reputation that would attract employees and get more people to choose the bus, but we knew that no media campaign could do the job. We had to change the staff and management focus from tangible measures, such as delays, towards more intangible measures, such as job satisfaction and positive customer experiences. We had to change the culture and internal perception of the job before we could change the public's image of bus drivers. We created three major initiatives:
- Leadership and staff training through Movia Academy
- Building the brand visually and digitally
- Internal and external communication
We designed, executed, and delivered a leadership and staff training program named Movia Academy with the objective of changing how the bus industry saw their role – as individuals and as part of society. We promoted "Drivers with character"; the employees who create good experiences for colleagues and customers. Our program helped the teams and staff members to see when colleagues do things right. The content of the program consisted of class instruction, outdoor team exercises, and personal mentoring.
I am proud of my job as a bus driver. I wasn’t when I first started. Back then it was just a job like any other. But I’ve learned that if I put everything that I find important into the job, I feel proud when I tell others about it. Lars Lylloff
Bus driver, Copenhagen
Cultural performance means business
The five day training program helped the executives, managers and front end staff to see which behavior was creating positive results. The staff who had participated in the Movia Academy program were awarded with diplomas and supported in promoting new behavior and narratives in their workplace. The program had a direct effect on job satisfaction, sickness absence, staff retention, recruitment, and customer satisfaction.
We can see our sickness absence is now about 3 percent. The industry has an average of 8 percent. We think that our lower fuel consumption is caused by employee behaviour. They appear looking happier. This means millions in savings for our company. Paul Lacoppidan
CEO, Nobina Denmark
By naming and visually showing the personalities that create and deliver extraordinary experiences, we helped create internal pride, attract new talents and show the customers the true face of the bus drivers. We created the visual identity, name, colors, typography, and visual grid that would carry the messaging – internally and externally, online and in campaigns.
The digital solution for the busdrivers with character-campaign was vital to the communication effort. The website allowed passengers to send in positive text messages, and through voting nominate the drivers who deserved to become "bus driver of the year". The website also offered knowledge about the bus driver job, possibilities for finding a job, the bus drivers' own online video broadcast and news about events. We delivered the concept, user experience development (UX), grahpic design, content and programming. The digital platform was first launched in the initial visual identity and later in the common national transportation design, using the characteristic colours: yellow and black.
Creating public events can be an effective way to get attention and communicate your message. The bus driver of the year was chosen and awarded at a large public event covered by the press. We also helped the bus drivers write, record and act a rap song which was performed on national television.
We invited Denmark’s best freestyle rapper Pede B and five bus drivers to record their own rap as a response to MC Einar’s rap “Jul, det cool” (meaning “Christmas, it’s cool”) where he describes bus drivers as being angry. The five bus drivers performed their rap live on “Aftenshowet” on national danish tv.
Bus driver of the year
To increase internal pride and external image of the bus drivers, we created and executed the ”Bus driver of the year” award show. Thousands of text messages from passengers were used to find the bus driver that got most positive feedback from customers. The award event was public in the middle of Copenhagen, where both bus drivers and passengers stopped by.
Linda Thomsen was the happy winner of the ”Bus driver of the year” award. Announced by tv host Huxi Bach she won a trip to Singapore along with the honour.
Danish singer Alberte Winding gave a concert during the Bus driver of the year award show on Kgs Nytorv in Copenhagen.
Bus driver Avi Achi had prepared a speech where he thanked the Danes for welcoming him to the Danish society. A very touching moment as he was talking on behalf of thousands of bus drivers originating from other nations.
Colleague of the year, Berit Thøger Pedersen, was mentioned by many colleagues for her effort in creating a great atmosphere in her work place. So she won the special award.
Give a pat on the shoulder – a new tradition and part of the event to symbolize that both colleagues and commuters can appreciate one another and make the day better with a pat on the shoulder.
Bus from Baghdad
The well known Danish photographer Henrik Saxgren was hired to create a photographic book "Bus from Baghdad" about the bus drivers who represent more than 30 nationalities in Copenhagen.
We managed a photographic exhibition to be shown in public squares around Eastern Denmark. All of the events gave the bus drivers a public face and helped us tell new stories about the industry and the job.
The goal of our communication was to create a new image and reputation in the minds of the public through the media. By using paid commercial media creatively inside the buses we got the passengers to send text messages, which contributed to the change of attitudes towards the bus drivers. Internal communication to the bus drivers helped them remember delivering the right service. We succeeded in getting hundreds of positive stories about the bus drivers in the press.
During a four year period we changed the image of bus drivers in the Danish public from negative to very positive. By changing the image and perception of bus drivers we removed an obstacle that was preventing people from taking the bus.
Now the politicians are willing to join us in celebrating the bus drivers. Busses used to be unpopular but that has changed. We feel that and our drivers feel it. And it makes everyone want to do a bit more. That is absolutely the strength of Stagis. Paul Lacoppidan
CEO, Nobina Denmark
Transform your brand
Would you like to know more about managing cultural changes and strengthening your brand? Meet us for a cup of coffee and we will give you our honest opinion on the possibilities for positioning your brand and business. Give us a call or write an email to Nikolaj Stagis. We can help you manage cultural changes or develop a digital strategy that attracts customers.Book a meeting