Hailo’s new global CMO outlines vision but questions 'aggressive' tactics of rival Uber

By Jennifer Faull | Deputy Editor

September 29, 2014 | 4 min read

Hailo’s newly appointed global chief marketing officer Gary Bramall will avoid the “aggressive” marketing tactics of rival Uber as he plans his roadmap for the taxi-booking app.

Speaking to The Drum as London cabbies went on another strike against such services, Bramall suggested that some of the techniques Uber has used have been "aggressive”.

For example, it ran 50 per cent off promotions and launched an UberTaxi service during the srtrikes in a bid to woo more customers, while its co-founder and chief executive Travis Kalanick has described the company as ‘David’ in the Goliath taxi-war.

“It’s generally a trash talking and bashing of each other. But, an eye for an eye makes everyone blind, and that’s not in the DNA of the Hailo brand. We’re a brand that wants to make things better, but we don’t want to do that explicit bashing. We’ll let our actions speak louder that our words,” he said, despite the Hailo office in Somerset House being attacked by disgruntled cabbies back in May.

Bramall added that while he respects Uber and the growth it has achieved – a reported 850 per cent jump in member sign-ups following the strike this June – the strategy is not one he will adopt.

"Modern-day brands should be defined by what they do, not what they say. Our customers are both drivers and on the ground, and want to get into a relationship with us, want to trust and rely on us, and we need to do right by them."

However, a healthy dose of competition can be what motivates companis to push themselves forward, according to Bramall. “As marketeers it helps focus what we’re trying to do – with great competition comes great innovation,” he said.

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Only 16 hours into his new role, he is still getting to grips with the business and the marketing team of 18 – which is spread across some of the 20 cities Hailo in which currently operates.

While a brand campaign is not in the immediate pipeline he is exploring how Hailo tells its story.

“In the past I’ve been responsible for big storytelling campaigns like Skype [where he was global director of brand and creative] and the Stay Together work. With the type of brand that Hailo is there’s definitely an opportunity to do something around storytelling with these amazing drivers around the world who have amazing stories,” he said.

Bramall is also interested in the space where physical meets digital, citing Burberry as a retailer he admires for bringing the two together.

“We have got a great opportunity to do that,” he said. “Humans are very visceral, tactile beings and we respond well to physical goods and services. I’m going to be looking at those moments and where we can delight our passengers and drivers in situ and through digital. It’s always a challenge with scalability – we’ve got tens of thousands of cabs around the world – but that is a great opportunity to do some really interesting things,” he said.

A review of the agency roster is not off the cards, with Bramall expecting to meet its partners in the coming weeks for an audit of what they are doing before making any decisions.


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