Promises promises: Trent Barton Buses marketing vs reality 


There is an important difference between value and values. Often firms conflate the two.

Value is what the customer gets and values are what underpin the attitudes and behaviours of the people working for the firm. Customer too of course have values. Values are our deeply held beliefs that guide how we act in the world, such as being honest is good, or be kind to others, be a team player etc.

People are frequently passionate about what they stand for and this is often communicated in marketing claims. Trent Barton buses proclaim they are a ‘really good bus company’. Nothing wrong in being proud of what you do and how you do it.

I don’t know of course if this is a customer comment plucked from a research campaign or how the people of Trent Barton feel about their company. Either way it is bold claim and one that sets high customer expectations.

Today I didn’t think that Trent Barton were a really good bus company.

Normally service is fine and the drivers are excellent, always happy and helpful.

I commute from Nottingham and use Trent Barton buses Rushcliffe Mainline. This service is a re-brand of the rationalised service that stopped a more convenient service passing through my village with the promise of more frequent buses from a stop roughly 700 yards away.

So ok trade convenience for efficiency.  I can buy that.

Today though my day was screwed up. I rely on the bus to make a train connection. 10 mins early I was at stop waiting for the 8.54 which turned up displaying ‘a really good bus company’ liveried on the front at 9.17

Bunny and happy I was not.

So marketing people beware. Whilst your firm might aspire to be ‘a really good bus company’ or similar the reality might end up being very different.

The perceived pressure to stand out makes firms do weird things like over promise. So perhaps instead of bragging about a £5m investment in new buses you simply get the bus to turn up on time? Now THAT would be something to brag about!

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