In July 2018, Wellington’s transport network underwent the biggest overhaul in the capital’s history. Copper was brought in to help ease Wellingtonians through the migration period, making the transition as painless as possible. To do this we needed to have face to face conversations with Wellingtonians’, providing them with key information around the new bus ticketing system and bus route changes in the greater region. We recruited and trained a large team of Copper Brand Ambassadors whom we named AmBUSsadors. We positioned AmBUSadors with iPads and informative comms at main commuter hubs and locations identified as pain points. The AmBUSsadors engaged with commuters on their terms, having as brief or in-depth conversations as required, frequently in multiple languages. AmBUSadors worked with passengers to identify how they could change their travel behaviour to minimise disruption.
The immense transport overhaul saw existing Wellington bus drivers taking on new routes and new bus drivers being recruited from around the country. Copper was pulled in to assist in crisis management, literally at the coal face. We carefully recruited and trained Copper Brand Ambassadors in the new role of Bus Buddies. They were given detailed training on bus routes and help familiarise new drivers with the city and their allocated routes. Each new bus driver was paired with a Bus Buddy who was equipped with route information and tasked with navigating and supporting the bus driver as they gained confidence traversing the Wellington region.
Copper managed the full recruitment plan, all logistics, scheduling and reactive engagement. This involved daily updates to schedules and up weighting staff where the need was greatest in a matter of hours. We offered 24/7 support and liaison with both Copper staff and our clients and we were a true extension of the Metlink team, working from the GWRC office side by side with the Operations team when the driver crisis reached its peak level of concern. In the busiest week, Copper successfully deployed 150 AmBUSsadors daily, along with 40 Bus Buddies.
Live reporting with key consumer feedback enabled us to tweak our messaging and location strategy in real time, mitigating issues where possible and attributing more resource to pain points.
As part of the transport overhaul, Greater Wellington Regional Council unified its transport modes from separately branded and operated branches, to one unified network. Copper’s sister agency HeyDay! worked with GWRC to create the brand platform and identity for the new Metlink brand.
Working alongside HeyDay! as one seamless integrated agency, Copper leveraged on the ground learnings to input into Metlink communications, which we then used our AmBUSsador network to distribute.
A transport overhaul of this magnitude was always bound to be disruptive and Copper was the partner to assist where it mattered: right where the Wellington public needed support, at bus hubs and on the buses themselves. What we demonstrated with the enormity of this campaign is that with well recruited, highly engaged Ambassadors, and logistics processes that are both nimble and scalable, successful Ambassador campaigns, even in the face of a crisis, can be achieved.
From Sheree Phillips, Metlink Senior Marketing Advisor
“Can you please send out a huge, appreciative and wonderful thanks to the whole team for all their work!!! The feedback that has come through from all over the regions is they LOVE AmBUSsadors as well as the Bus Buddies. The amazing service, information and friendly face they have provided for commuters has been and continues to be exceptional.”