Successful app promotion is all about finding new users who will be excited by what your brand has to offer. Constantly exploring new audiences and markets is the name of the game, but things get even trickier once a new opportunity is spotted, and the strategy building begins.
Every new market launch is complex but making international leaps definitely turns the whole process up to “hard mode”. Different competitors, cultures, languages, and local laws and regulations all mean that unfortunately, what works well in one geo might not work in another. And although it’s very fun to say posh things like “we will be shifting our focus to Europe”, in practice, it’s a lot of work that requires extensive local market research and a solid strategy.
We were able to speak with the passionate and intuitive marketing manager at Scoot, Anna Juan Sala, and ask her how her team managed to build a hyperlocal marketing strategy to bring Scoot across the pond, from San Francisco to Barcelona. In the following interview, she explains looks back on the entire process, one year later.
So how did Scoot make the decision that it was the right time to expand to Europe?
I think our founder Michael Keating felt it was the right time because the solutions we provide are important for cities and the brand has really come into its own. Scoot was a well-known brand in San Francisco, as it was the first vehicle sharing company & the only player in the city, it had a strong & authentic identity built over several years.
We were founded in 2012 in the city of San Francisco as a solution to congested and polluted cities, offering flexible & fast transportation that is efficient, green & friendlier to inhabitants.
What makes us special is that Scoot is multimodal, meaning we offer the ability to rent different modes of transportation (electric bikes as well as scooters) from the same app. Our users simply find the nearest vehicle in Scoot’s App, ride it & drop it at their destination which ensures flexibility, as well as cost & time-saving. We knew we were ready to expand our services and we’re confident we could provide benefits to new markets.
Why did you choose Barcelona as your future European hub?
One of the many reasons why Scoot chose Barcelona as the first city on its expansion list was because of the similarities between both cities. However, marketing-wise, they could not be more different and we had to do a lot of market research to develop a specific and hyperlocal strategy for the official launch on the 4th of June, 2018.
How did you prepare for the Barcelona launch?
We focused on 3 key aspects when building the launch strategy & positioning our Brand:
- Collaboration with governments & the public sector: Scoot is a mobility solution, that aims not only to make the life of its users easier, but to contribute to building what we call “Happy Cities”, i.e. less polluted, more efficient, & green.
- Local communication: Scoot is a service that users often use on a daily basis. We get accepted into people’s lives and become part of their routine. That’s why our communication needs to be as local, honest & real as possible.
- Highlighting what makes us special: Scoot was not the first company offering a sustainable mobility solution, in fact, the mobility sector changes extremely quickly. There are constantly more players, and new services… and we can’t deny there are really strong companies operating in Barcelona. We decided to focus on highlighting the things we do well and our unique selling point, like our multimodality, which was key in our launch strategy.
We worked hard to maintain a balance between these 3 aspects of our brand awareness & performance marketing efforts so we could grow quickly as well as sustainably.
What was the locally focused launch like?
It was great to see how quickly people in Barcelona started using Scoot. The market was already familiar with using scooter services, so many people took to our brand quickly.
Scoot’s ebike services was another story, however. We were the first company in the area to offer a one-way, dockless & electric shared ebike, so users had a lot of questions about how the service worked (how do I park it? Is this just for tourists? Where can I ride if it’s electric? Etc.)
We decided to separate our ebike and scooter launch strategies. And focused all our ebike communications on education, while our scooter campaigns focused on lifestyle and enjoying the ride.
Is there anything you wish you would have done differently, looking back now?
Well, one of our biggest education efforts for the ebike services was the organization of a free ebike weekend, combined with email campaigns explaining how to use our ebikes, so users could try them out for themselves. What happened was we painfully re-learned something we already knew: a big boost in demand drains a lot of battery. The issue was we hadn’t communicated with our fleet department to prepare, and some of our vehicles ended up drained which negatively affected some of our new users’ experiences.
Needless to say, the experience made the whole team very aware of the importance of interdepartmental communication and allowed us to establish better practices across all departments from that moment on.
What is the aspect you are personally most proud?
As I said before, Scoot views its role as part of the community, so one initiative I am particularly proud of is our monthly Scoot event, hosted in different spots throughout Barcelona. Our hyperlocal outlook means we believe connecting with your audiences & building a community should not be only in Social Media!
The monthly events give Scoot the ability to connect with our current and potential new users, but more importantly give us a chance to learn from, exchange experiences, and build the cities we want to see in the future. We are passionate about working alongside the people who we share space with, regardless of if they use our services or not. Which is why, throughout our European expansion, my motto is to think global, act local & keep it real!