SINGAPORE: Content marketing and local influencers have helped start-up Grab successfully launch a new ride-sharing service, according to its head of marketing.

Ershad Ahamed told the recent #SPEAKEASYASIA conference that customer inertia had been a major roadblock when launching the GrabShare service.

"People kind of knew about the [concept], and we needed to know a bit more and understand what inertia they faced with sharing of the product," he explained. (For more details, read WARC's report: Singapore's Grab drives forward with content marketing, data and influencers.)

"The problem that came about was [the perception that] ‘Sharing isn't for me…. being in a car is my private time'," said Ahamed.

The solution was to target the "price sensitive and not necessarily time sensitive" core target audience of students, young Singaporeans and those doing National Service by engaging them with content involving influencers and showcasing various experiences.

Dealing with low budgets and seeking authentic content, Grab came up with three video content pieces which helped it to reach two million shared rides within two months of launch.

These involved Olympic swimming gold medallist Joseph Schooling taking GrabShare rides with Singaporean fans; a stunt in collaboration with Warner Music Singapore allowing GrabShare users to book a "car-aoke" ride with local musicians; and having 50 local personalities surprise fellow riders as they demonstrated various skills.

And how to compete in a saturated market? Grab captures riders' data by granting promotional codes. "We do this by giving people very small value but very long-term promos, and see how many rides this person actually will take and what he has the budget for," said Ahamed.

They also try to identify total ride wallets for individuals, meaning once they've understood rider habits they can then "guide the behaviour" of passengers.

Data sourced from WARC