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Ola Cabs Effectively Implemented Online Reputation on Social Media

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logo_alphaAbout the company:

OlaCabs, commonly known as Ola, is an Indian online transportation network company that provides cab services that range from economic travel to luxury travel. Its services are quite similar to UBER and the primary way to book a cab is through their mobile app. This cab service supports both cash and cashless payment options with Ola money. Ola also started on-demand auto rickshaw service on its mobile app in Bangalore, Pune and few other cities.

Apart from OlaCabs, Ola has started more services such as Ola Cafe, Ola Store, Ola Shuttle, Ola Money and Ola Corporate.

Ola claims it has over 70% market share in India and its services are available in over 102 cities with a fleet of over 350,000 vehicles while its competitor Uber is operational in over 26 cities and has over 250,000 vehicles in the country.

Business Objectives

Olacabs first started as an online cab aggregator in December 2010 after one of the founders faced a huge problem with a cab service in Bangalore. While it has grown to offer various other services, its flagship product still remains as OlaCabs and now faces stiff competition from brands like Uber.

Ola Micro Rates

Olacabs flagged off its new ‘Economy Class’ service, Ola Micro. This new low-cost service seeks to match rival Uber’s lowest-cost service, UberGo and is being launched in seven cities in India at a per kilometer rate that is Re 1 less than rival Uber’s UberGo service.

Ola Micro has a base fare ranging from Rs. 35 to Rs. 45, at a rate of Rs. 6 per km. The Micro range of vehicles include compact cars such as Hyundai Eon, Wagon R, and Datsun Go. Ola_Micro_main

The launch of this new fleet is a clear strategy to take UberGo headon. UberGo is Uber’s cheapest class of cab available in the country and  ranges from Rs. 6 to Rs. 8 per km.

Approach Strategy adopted

Ola Micro is currently the most affordable and the fastest rising category. Around 75% of Ola Micro users are first time users of cab services and around 25% comprise of infrequent cab users.

To promote the new offering to its consumers and potential customers, the company began airing three Television Commercials (TVC) campaigns on the Ola Micro on the internet (youtube). Ola Micro was targeted at three categories of people: youngsters at their first jobs, young working adults and for youngsters with families. The TVC covers all the three target categories.

  • Macha Macha

The campaign is targeted at young adults and working professionals. It grabs the Target audience’s attention in a fun and entertaining way where even taking a walk with someone you love can get really expensive but taking a cab ride will now not be.

Results Achieved

OlaCabs put up the 3 TVCs on YouTube titled ‘Micro Stories’. Of the three ads, the Baby Baby TVC didn’t go well with a lot of the people especially women. Ola received a lot of criticism in social media where OlaCabs was slammed the cab hailing company, for stooping to a new low with their potrayal of women stereotypes. The primary concern was that it demeans the women as a whole and encourage men to promote such low expectations of women through content catered for quick social sharing in today’s world. The internet had slammed the ad for its sexist portrayal of women as it was based on the stereotype that women love shopping. The ad feeds off a stereotype that women, when out with men, talk in a ridiculously endearing tone and manipulate them into buying things for them.

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 6.21.41 PM

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 6.29.58 PM

Olacabs didn’t realize that in the real world of course women make a living, manage offices, vacation, manage a home, and play the role of a nurturer at home. They fulfill the many roles they play and millions of women require the service of cabs. They will remember this ad when they make the choice next time. Given the public outrage especially from women, the taxi aggregator has pulled down the distasteful ad within a day. Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 6.16.38 PM

Learning

  • In today’s world Online Reputation Management is important for any brand. And most importantly complaints are to be addressed within the shortest time possible. Maggie’s MSG fiasco is one such example.
  • Negative feedback over Social Media should be managed with as much care as possible given the nature of how it could snow ball in to a bigger problem to manage. A molehill can literally become a mountain on social media. Speed of response matters even more.
  • A company must acknowledge its faults and should proactively address the consumers discomfort with a possible solution as soon as possible.
  • Respond and not react should be the mantra of the company when in such situations and OlaCabs did just that within the shortest time possible
  • While relevant messaging is one thing, one should also be careful of not stepping on the consumer’s toes with distasteful advertising or messaging.

Sources and Image credits:

  1. http://www.letsintern.com/blog/the-olacabs-story/
  2. http://www.wikipedia.com
  3. http://gadgets.ndtv.com/apps/news/ola-undercuts-uber-with-micro-cabs-at-rs-6-per-km-808988
  4. http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/tech-news/Ola-launches-Micro-to-take-on-UberGo/articleshow/51218722.cms
  5. http://www.firstpost.com/business/olas-latest-offering-micro-bulks-up-overall-bookings-for-cab-aggreggator-2741624.html
  6. http://www.huffingtonpost.in/2016/04/23/ola-cab_n_9763388.html
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