Grab is a mobile app that links transport options to passengers and these transport options range from regular taxis, private cars to larger vehicles with bigger seating capacity. It is present in many Southeast Asian countires and developed from a simple taxi booking app in Malaysia to a regional mainstay. In 2014, Grab launched its app in Singapore. Its very form as an app makes it necessary for the company to be savvy, especially on social media. This has to do with the demographic of people who are technologically savvy enough to employ the use of this app. Grab’s main competitor is Uber, an American company with an app that essentially has the same function and purpose. Grab has developed in a similar manner as Uber but its localisation has allowed it to take a significant chunk of the market share from Uber.
How has Grab capitalised on their competitive edge as a more relatable brand with a localised presence in relation to their nearest competitor, Uber via their online presence?
Social Media Presence & Analysis
Grab has a rather uniform presence in terms of content across all 3 platforms. While their content on Facebook is not entirely uninteresting, ambient noise from complaints and random enquiries dilute the message impact. On Instagram and Twitter, the content is identical, just tailored to different platforms. The engagement is largely confined to complaints and queries. Often, pertinent questions go unanswered and this goes to show a lack of training and perhaps even protocol in dealing with social media.
Objective 1: Create an online brand community through sustained engagement and interaction.
Objective 2: Create organic brand ambassadors through humanising brand identity.
- Feedback Channel
To address the flooding of posts with comments on bad experiences or enquiries, Grab should dedicate an in-app system of automating FAQ answers and providing feedback. Most importantly, the time-sensitivity of certain issues may necessitate speaking to a representative of the company. This can be in the form of an in-app live chat or hotline. This then frees up space on their Facebook wall and does not threaten to derail any messages that Grab is attempting to convey to its consumers.
- Diversification of Online Content
In partnership with celebrity food bloggers, Grab can come up with a campaign that engages users to share their favourite food haunts and perhaps even use the app algorithm to schedule Grab ride-sharing for those who would like to try the food that users have recommended. This adds an additional dimension of personality to the brand and contributes towards the creation of a brand community crowded around a common interest.
- Building on Existing Strategy
Currently, Grab has embarked on a #herestoourdrivers campaign whereby they feature Grab partners and their unique quirks in the car the operate out of. What is great about this strategy is that it gives a personal and human touch to the brand. What is problematic, however, is that some of the recent features do not have faces to them. It is important that the drivers they feature are humanised rather than just textual description. Next, the voting competition on their Facebook page that started on 13 Apr 2016 is a short term and myopic strategy to encourage interaction with the brand. Beyond this competition, there is no value-add to the relationship between consumer and brand. Instead, they should focus on making consumers organic brand ambassadors through using their partners’ service to win over consumers. This can be done through an extensive employee training programme where every one from drivers to front and back office staff go through a service standard training so that the level of service that Grab claims to offer can be matched and consistent.
In the observation period, it is clear to see that the social media performance is less than satisfactory. Moreover, the exploitation of their localised brand identity is incomplete and poorly sustained. However, it is encouraging to see that Grab has recognised their competitive advantage as a brand ‘closer to home’ and has begun to go about taking advantage of this unique position. In order to fully leverage their unique identity, Grab has to take a multi pronged approach in addressing the poor engagement and interaction levels as well as to build on their position as a localised service. In the future, it will be meaningful to research the effect that such marketing has on brand equity and establishment of a brand community.
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