GrabCycle: Grab and oBike marry branding

Grab has made a push into bike sharing services through its partnership with oBike. Called GrabCycle, the partnership is being teased on social media without much details shared. Netizens were also quick to observe bicycles in public spaces which combined the branding colours of both Grab and oBike. Marketing has reached out to Grab and oBike for details.

The partnership coincides with the launch of GrabVentures, a new division which experiment with new products and services to “add value and improve quality of consumers living in Southeast Asia”, shared Reuben Lai, head of GrabVentures, in a press briefing this morning.

This is not the first time two brands have collaborated in a manner which saw an integration of brand colours in marketing collaterals moving forward. In October last year, OCBC Bank and StarHub collaborated for an innovation push, which saw both organisations using marketing visuals located in various branches boasting the brands' red and green brand colours.

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When do marriages of brand logos work?

In a conversation with Marketing, Simon Bell, managing director of FITCH Singapore, said in the case of Grab and oBike, there was a natural fit as both brands are about mobility, challenging the status quo and are eager for attention in competitive markets.

“While both brands may be after the same customer, consumers have different occasions for hailing a Grab vehicle or a riding an oBike,” Bell said.

He added that brand collaborations can give new attention and interest both brands might not have had otherwise, and have the ability to be highly successful as long as there is a good fit. Bell explained that problems only arise when there is an attempt to force it.Bell added that this initiative was one which “embodied the values of each brand”.

Successful brand collaborations include the partnership between GoPro and Redbull, culminating in one of their biggest efforts – “Stratos” which saw sky diver Felix Baumgartner jumping from a space-pod above the Earth's surface with a GoPro strapped to his person.  However, not all brands can make partnerships work.

Sharing the sentiment, Luke Lim, CEO of A.S. Louken said that while co-branding is common in the commercial market, not all initiatives work. In the case of Grab and oBike, the strength of their co-branding seems to be a synergistic one.

This allows Grab to claim it is in an extensive model of transportation services, which is their long term ambition. It also allows them to ensure dominance in the transportation marketplace. As for oBike, it would be able to leverage on Grab’s extensive customer base and reach, Lim explained. He added:

Brand leverage and synergy is key in the collaboration and co-branding.

Meanwhile, sustainability of the relationship will also depend on the long term synergy and revenue stream strategy, commercial terms which are currently not known to the public.

“I believe this is just another interesting milestone for Grab’s brand and shows their continuous disruption of the vehicle sharing industry – which benefits consumers at the end of the day,” Lim added.