Differentiate or Die. Innovate Your Brand Strategy or Die.
Launched in May 2013, Citi Bike is a program that put 10,000 cobalt blue three-speed bicycles with puncture resistant tires into some 600 stations all around New York City. It means that the Citi brand is pervasive in New York and, better yet, is seen on something innovative, even trendy. So trendy that Bruce Willis rode a Citi Bike onto the stage of David Letterman’s Late Night Show. So trendy that even celebrities are seen riding the citi bike, for example Leonardo Di Caprio.
There’s no apparent downside: fewer cars, less pollution, good exercise, access to neighborhoods far from public transportation and cool factor.
The program is not only cool, but also successful. During the first five months of the program more than 90,000 people bought annual passes for $95 and five million trips were made, over nearly ten million miles.
But what is most important is that the program re-energized the citi brand strategy as the brand began to be seen as more innovative, socially responsible and `for people like me`. It is an important and quick win after a lot of bad press during the financial crisis.