Driven to succeed
RED Driving School came to PHA Media to help rebuild their reputation as the UK’s leading driving school after they suffered a crash in 2010 when parent company LVG went into administration. Following a buyout by private equity turnaround specialists Kelso Place, Ian McIntosh was appointed as CEO in 2012, a former president of the Western division of AKK, with PHA Media brought on board in 2013 to enhance the profile and reputation of the business under the new management structure.
As one of the UK’s largest driving schools, RED wanted to repair their reputation after the failings of the previous owners had tarnished the public image of the franchise. In new hands, better financial health and with a clear growth strategy, RED wanted to enhance their profile as a leading and reputable driving school to key stake holders including instructors, pupils, parents and the media. Communicating new key messages about the brand, whilst encouraging instructor and pupil acquisition were key objectives in our brief. We were also tasked with building the online reputation of RED Driving School via social media.
Originality and Creativity
We wanted to present RED as a fresh, cool brand that would appeal to a target pupil audience of 17 – 24 year old learners, who were active across social platforms. In order to make the brand “cool” to this audience, we targeted relevant celebrities on the cusp of turning 17 who were eager to learn how to drive. We also wanted to challenge the idea that just because you have a driver’s license, it doesn’t mean you are a good driver. We challenged the media to retake their tests to see if they would pass by today’s standards, making all drivers more aware of road safety. The result was great coverage whilst emphasising no matter when you passed your test, when it comes to road safety, you never stop learning. Positioning Ian McIntosh as a spokesperson for relevant breaking news stories as a voice of the industry was also a key focus.
With social media playing such a crucial part in young people’s lives we created a RED Instagram, Pinterest and Goggle Plus account in addition to their already existing Facebook and Twitter, allowing RED to connect with their target audience this way and have a presence on all of these platforms. We also took over managing these accounts creating fun and relevant content on a daily basis.
Strategy and Implementation
Working with celebrities including Game of Thrones star, Maisie Williams and Singer Songwriter Nina Nesbitt, we provided these personalities with driving tuition in exchange for photos, interviews and social media posts after every lesson – including relevant tags and mentions for the RED Driving School social accounts. In addition to social media activity, coverage was secured in the main stream national, regional and online press showcasing RED as the driving school of the stars. We worked closely with national print media to supply case studies of all age groups to re-take their tests and alongside regional radio stations where presenters took up the RED Driving School mock test challenge.
Results and Evaluation
Working with RED we have secured wide spread coverage across national, broadcast, regional, consumer, trade, franchise and online media. Ian McIntosh has appeared as a leading industry commentator on Sky News and Channel 5 News, with a terrific full page interview in the Daily Mail highlighting the business changes employed by RED following Ian’s appointment. The Sun featured a full page spread testing case studies of people who re-sat their test with RED, with an array of breakfast show presenters taking each other on in pre-recorded driving test segments. Our celebrity coverage made splash in the UK and abroad, with coverage generated far and wide – and tens of thousands of likes, comments and shares across social platforms. The social media presence for RED continues to grow, with weekly themes implemented across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google + and Pinterest as engagement rises on a weekly basis.
PHA Media play a crucial role in helping to continually drive our brand forward by giving us an identity in the media that makes us accessible, relevant and engaging to our key audiences. They are proactive, constantly generating fresh ideas that help us break new ground and challenge the competition. They react to the news and understand which stories will help us to deliver our key messaging, particularly when it comes to road safety and core business propositions. In terms of social media, they have taken our channels onto a whole new level, implementing clever strategies to build our audience on a daily basis. I see PHA Media as a vital part of our team and I’m appreciative of all the work they have done for RED Driving School to date. Long may our relationship continue.
The Sunday Times