"We need to rally public support in central Ohio, across the state, and around the country for public transportation."
There are many reasons why people ride a city bus: for the convenience, to save money, to benefit the environment, or out of necessity. In fact, central Ohio residents took 20 million trips on COTA just last year. Yet despite all those travelers, research showed that the brand had little to no equity with the public. Worse still, many saw public transit as detrimental to downtown businesses and inaccessible to suburbanites. With one levy about to expire, and a potential ballot measure to approve another, it was critical for COTA to transform how the region’s citizens felt about transit.
We discovered that the image problem wasn’t limited to the general public—even the organization’s own employees had trouble articulating what COTA stood for. This drove our approach: ensuring that every associate felt not only empowered to tell COTA’s story, but proud to do so. To do that, however, the COTA brand needed more than new rate cards and on-time buses. It needed some swagger.
To better equip all associates with the COTA story—and their part in it—we crafted a video, an internal microsite, and an entire photo library that showed COTA employees in an inspirational light.
A public campaign was launched soon after to drive home COTA’s real value: that it’s more than just public transit, it’s a true community asset. The entire central Ohio area was exposed to that story, on TV, on the streets of Columbus, and on social media.
By overhauling everything from tickets to maps to bus messaging, Ologie was able help the COTA brand become more consistent, more cohesive, and richer in personality. Detailed guidelines help ensure the brand will continue to be well represented down the road.