Hailo, Goodbye: Why MyTaxi’s CMO believes difference, not global uniformity, is key to unlocking the transport app market

MyTaxi launched in the UK earlier this week

Gary Bramall, former chief marketing officer of Hailo, now finds himself in the same role at former competitor brand MyTaxi. The transport app officially merged with his old business earlier this week, demanding a physical and digital brand overhaul of the marketer in both UK and Ireland.

MyTaxi is a likely European forerunner in the race to edge past Uber: it currently operates in more than 50 cities across the continent and offers user features that go beyond the ordering of a ride, such as ‘Favourite driver’ and the ability to share approximate time of arrival via social.

Perhaps because it was founded outside of Silicon Valley and, indeed, North America, MyTaxi eschews the notion that all humans crave the same, chrome-like UX and the type of sleek, uniform marketing message that this breeds.

“We don’t think it’s one size fits all,” Bramall told The Drum. “For instance Apple portrays a world where everyone looks like an Abercrombie and Fitch model. We believe in people being a bit different and celebrating difference.”

Hence in Ireland – a market so big for Hailo that it “became a verb” there – the migration advertising read ‘Same craic, new app’. Understanding the different markets and languages it operates in is essential to MyTaxi, as Bramall explained: “I think embracing local language, local challenges, local media is really our way.”

So the CMO finds himself on what he labels the “bungee line” of creating effective local copy and messaging and keeping the brand consistent across what is becoming a more divided Europe. Does the former success of the brand make his job easier?

“If you’re on the tee and you’re Tiger Woods is that a good thing or a bad thing?” he retorted. He reckons his challenges will come in the form of operating in numerous currencies and languages, but having worked previously at Apple and Microsoft, shifting through multiple markets won’t be a tough job but an “exciting one”.

“And obviously we have some of the world’s fastest growing competitors,” he added.

It’s hard to imagine a better time for MyTaxi to pick its UK entrance, with Uber facing what feels like a constant, daily barrage of backlash and legal threats. But with cabbies on their side at least east of the Atlantic (“They’ve felt beaten up in recent years…they’re really engaged with the idea that this is the number one European taxi provider,” Bramall enthused), it’s now just down to consumer pick-up.

To lead this, there’s a full team leading migration on the ground in taxis, while customer messaging will be pushed out over the next eight to 12 weeks. There’s media and above the line work planned, but also influencer and experiential campaigns planned to “basically just drive more people into black cabs” across its new – and individual – markets.

“The world is celebrating difference, whether it’s Brexit, the French elections, what’s happening in America,” said Bramall. “Now globalisation is – for the right or the wrong reasons – potentially the wrong [route to go down as a brand].”

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