Greyhound eyes comms shift, will re-issue RFP

DALLAS: Greyhound Lines continues to look for an agency to help it target Hispanic, urban, and college consumers after its initial RFP did not get the results the company wanted.

DALLAS: Greyhound Lines continues to look for an agency to help it target Hispanic, urban, and college consumers after its initial RFP did not get the results the company wanted.

The company issued an official RFP a month ago to general-market and multicultural-specialist agencies, but has since abandoned that initial request in order to rethink its strategy. Kim Plaskett, director of corporate communications, said the quality of responses was high, but did not specifically address what Greyhound decided was its core needs.

"Based on the responses, [we had to] take a step back and reevaluate what it is we wanted to do," Plaskett told PRWeek. "During the process we began reevaluating our strategy and decided that we really wanted more from an agency than originally planned."

Hispanics make up about 20% of its total customer base. The urban and college markets are targets because Greyhound is "currently in the process of turning the brand around and reinvigorating it" by building a younger audience, she noted.

Greyhound is currently engaged in a number of outreach initiatives targeting these segments, including the provision of a customized bus, which is Greyhound's primary mobile-marketing vehicle, for the "And One" basketball tour. The bus will also be used for a Spring Break tour of southern college campuses and to transport fans for rivalry football games between Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU).

"It's [about] psychographic, as opposed to demographic and geographic," Plaskett said. "These are very targeted consumer segments."

The company has worked with Burson-Marsteller, Weber Shandwick, and WS' multicultural unit The Axis Agency in the past, but has never brokered a true AOR relationship with any agency. But Plaskett says there is a possibility that, depending on responses, they would consider hiring an AOR.

"While we have gone through the RFP process before, this is the first time we're looking at a communications program that ties directly into our brand rejuvenation," she said. "This is opposed to a broad-brushstroke approach to the general market that has been done in the past, and that is a reflection of Greyhound changing its strategy more than anything else. Revisiting the RFP helps us get a better picture of what direction we want to head in."

Plaskett hasn't set a specific date for re-issuing the RFP, but said it will be sometime in the near future and hopefully "well before the end of the year."

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