How 'ov-fiets' Influences Customer Based Brand Equity of Dutch Railways
A Lekkerkerker, K Mook, M van Hagen, P van Houten, Dutch Railways, NL
Netherlands Railways' Rental bike scheme enhances the parent brand and as a result the customer opinion of travelling by train increased. Adding a complementary service increases the attractiveness of public transport in numerous ways.
Since 2008 Netherlands Railways has been offering the 'OV-fiets' rental bike scheme which turned out to be the best innovation in Dutch public transport of the last ten years; due to the simplicity and sympathy of the system accompanied with growing numbers of usage and customers. It is a national system with over 225 rental locations, primarily at railway stations.
This study proves that the service does not only improve door-to-door transportation, but it additionally enhances the parent brand in many favorable ways. Based on academic Customer based brand equity models the study explored the influence of a sub brand on the parent brand. The relatively high level of Customer based brand equity of Netherlands Railways' Rental bike scheme certainly has a positive impact on the brand Netherlands Railways. Particularly the dimensions brand performance, brand imagery and brand judgments benefit from the positive associations related to the Rental bike scheme. The customer opinion of travelling by train increased on aspects as reliability and value for money. Furthermore, the findings demonstrated a certain influence on the level of brand resonance, which results in increased loyalty and usage of both the train and the bike rental.
The results provide valuable insights for Netherlands Railways, stakeholders and other public transport operators. For Netherlands Railways the impact of a sub brand, the Rental bike Scheme, should be considered as a chance to strengthen directly the sub brand and indirectly the corporate brand; because each appropriate investment in the sub brand will in its turn positively influence the corporate brand based on an excellent costs / benefit relation.
For stakeholders and other operators the research shows the potential advantages of adding a complementary service to the product portfolio and how sustainable modes of transport, like cycling, can increase the attractiveness of public transport in numerous ways.
Association for European Transport