Citymapper has a clear mission that it shouts loud and proud: “make cities easier to use”. Some of us may have experienced the pure relief when arriving in a new city, dumbfounded and tired, the little green Citymappyer app exclaims ‘looks like you’re in Berlin!’ (which implicitly reads ‘looks like you’re absolutely and helplessly lost!’) and tells us which train to get and where from. It’s safe to say that in these circumstances, they deliver pretty well on their mission.
But as the creation of the CM2 shows, this is about more than positive disruptions and clever GPS: Citymapper are using customer data to create purpose-delivering and category-changing innovations. What’s the CM2 you ask? No more and no less than a big and beautiful green bus.
When we talk about using data to drive innovation, your mind might jump to the futuristic Alexa or phones that know exactly when and how to take a selfie. But Citymapper uses data to detect customer needs and help deliver their mission. Data has made them what they are today; an extremely advanced geolocation app that has changed the way people navigate cities.
So what did the latest data tell Citymapper? It turns out that what people in London really want and need is a night bus running from Highbury & Islington and Aldgate East.
By collecting data on which journeys people search, when and with what frequency, Citymapper detected that there was a combination of particular needs that were not being responded to. They set about formulating the perfect smart route that would change this. Rather than the public having to bend themselves to existing transport routes, Citymapper has made transport work for them. It has taken a daring leap into a new category; the complexity of the London environment should not be underestimated.
This was no easy feat. The CM2 is what brand purpose and innovation should really be: smart solutions to deliver things that people really need, coming from a brand that wants to improve their customers’ experience, no matter how hard that might be.
Although it may seem a humble proposition, the CM2 is not your ordinary bus. It might just start a revolution in a tired category. Citymapper’s CM2 has USB plugs at every seat, smarter payment methods, and hopefully tracking technology that will improve overcrowding and delays. This could potentially send ripples through the way people move around the city, and how buses themselves are considered.
What the launch of CM2 really demonstrates is that data analysis is about more than NPD and crafting offers to suit consumers. It remains a strong example of good innovation, because despite being simple, it challenges the status quo and may create ripples in a well-established and somewhat stagnant industry. But beyond this, it shows using data and NPD well can and should live and breathe a brand purpose.
The Citymapper bus is great for brand because it’s green, yes, but far more importantly, because it epitomises the mission to “make cities easier to use”, and Citymapper’s endless commitment to making it a reality.