Encouraging more journeys by rail and tracking the effectiveness of communications



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Why the client needed the research

Arriva Trains Wales (ATW) developed a new TV advertising campaign aimed at all adults in Wales but particularly targeted on less frequent / lapsed rail users. The intention was to encourage more rail journeys by communicating the value for money of travelling by train and the range of destinations available. Beaufort was commissioned to help with the development of the campaign by testing a range of messages for ATW, to explore which most clearly communicated their value for money proposition and which would best engage with and motivate the target audience. Since then we have helped assess the effectiveness of the TV advert by measuring awareness of the advert and its impact on consumers’ likelihood of using the train, via regular tracking surveys on the Beaufort Wales Omnibus survey.

Our approach

An initial stage of focus group research was carried out, to test possible messages and the appeal of different value-based propositions, as well as to help develop the most effective TV advert. The research also explored how consumers gather information about rail routes and tickets and how they plan journeys, as well as people’s knowledge of different ticket types and discounts. It focused on the core audience for the campaign, i.e. regular and occasional train travellers, and covered a spread of different ages and socioeconomic grades. The creative development qualitative gave clear pointers on messaging and execution for the TV advert.

imageThe next stage was to measure the impact of the advert through quantitative research. Baseline data was gathered through a series of questions on the Beaufort Wales Omnibus, before the advertising broke. This provided robust data from a representative sample of 1,000 adults interviewed face-to-face in-home across Wales, and allowed us to drill down to capture the views of train users and non-users.  Following the pre-campaign survey a second wave of research was carried out on the Wales Omnibus, where recall of the advertising was measured alongside take-out.  As the Wales Omnibus is conducted via CAPI (Computer Aided Personal Interviewing) we can play TV adverts in full to gain an accurate measure of awareness. 

Since then further waves of tracking research have been conducted, using the Wales Omnibus as a cost-effective means of measuring the long-term performance of the campaign and helping to gauge wear-out of the TV advert over time.

The outcome

The initial qualitative research informed the development of the communications campaign and helped ensure its messaging struck a chord with the target audience.  Since then the quantitative Omnibus tracking has monitored the effectiveness of the advert over time by assessing who has seen it and what they have taken out from it. This has provided Arriva Trains Wales with regular and robust updates on public awareness of the campaign and its impact on attitudes and behaviour.