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The History and Growth of Ofo Bikes: How the Company Still Fares Well Among the Competitors

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Ofo Bike is a private brand was founded in 2014. It is based in Beijing, China, and is now known as the world’s first and largest station-free bike sharing platform.

The name and logo of the company symbolizes the shape of a bike and is readable and comprehensive to worldwide users. Ofo has successfully created consumer recognition of what the brand is. The name Ofo is easy to pronounce, recognize, remember and easily translated into other language, as it’s simply pronounced “oh-fo”.Ofo’s system runs on a smartphone application to unlock bicycles. It charges an hourly rate for use. Today, Ofo has more than 10 million bikes and about 200 million users spread across 17 countries. Their mission is to solve any “last minute” problem, by providing commuters a connective, convenient, and clean short-distance travel option at the same time being environmentally friendly and providing a healthy life style for the users. Ofo Bike belongs in the transportation industry and what they offer are bicycles which allows anyone who has the smartphone’s Ofo Bike app to rent a bike and travel anywhere they want.

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Ofo stands firmly by their social mission and the transportation way by bicycle is not clunky, boring, expensive or harmful towards the environment. Their main target audience are teenagers and young adults.

Ofo has a Brand sponsorship and is marketed under its own name and it is engaged in the design. It is partners with Chinese leading bike manufacturers to produce the bikes and join forces with overseas companies to market its product worldwide. Ofo bikes are available in 150 cities in five countries.

Ofo’s bike has a basket infront, lights at the front and back of the bike which automatically would turn on when the bike is being used, and also a lock at the back wheel which you can unlock using your phone and after use lock it back for the next user to use. The bike also has gears that can be changed making it easier to ride at different type of roads. Besides the great features and design, Ofo also proves to be of greater quality than other rented bikes. A packaging decision made by Ofo is that all it’s bikes are yellow in colour with stainless steel parts. The bikes are anti-rust and have adjustable seats.

Ofo bikes top 3 competitors are OBikes,Mobike and SG Bikes.

O Bike is Singapore’s first homegrown station-less smart bike-sharing company which uses technology like smartphones to change how transportation is viewed locally. It has started operations since Jan 2017 and today, it rolled out O Bike’s bicycles across Singapore for users to ride.

Mobike was founded in Beijing in 2015 (co-founded by Uber’s ex Shanghai GM), operating in Beijing, Shanghai & Guangzhou and is expanding to more countries and beyond China before the end of 2016 and even Singapore. Today, it is the world’s first station-less bike share service.

SGBikes costs $1 to rent a bicycle for 30 minutes,If a bicycle is parked outside the zone, it will emit an alarm sound and the user’s app will notify him to move the bike into the zone, or else he will face a penalty fee.

Ofo Bike’s social media is quite active as they update it every 2-3days a week. Ofo’s Instagram account has pictures of rides all over the world who have chosen ofo as their mode of service for that day, it also has pictures in which there are users riding Ofo bikes with their pets. On the other hand the other social media, facebook posts offers and promotions that Ofo has to offer to users. The most recent promotion that was put up on Facebook was called BONUS IN A TAP, where Ofo gives you bonus recharge every time you top up your account. Their other social media account, Twitter also tweets regularly. Totally adding up all social media platforms the outreach of Ofo through social media is about 10K people.

Ofo’s brand positioning is based on bringing convenience to users. With ofo, customers get to pick up a bike, travel anywhere, and leave it there without the need for docking stations or walking. Ofo encourages brand loyalty by making sure that their bikes are easy to locate and by maintaining their price.

The most recent marketing campaign for ofo took place in March 2018, it was an joint venture together with the Singapore Kindness Movement, who together produced a 90 second film which talks about tackling indiscriminate dumping of dockless ofo bikes all over Singapore.

A spokesman for the movement said “Singapore Kindness Movement was more than happy to be given this chance to work with ofo bikes in this meaning, educational campaign which draws attention on responsible bike sharing, specifically on parking, sharing and caring of shared property. This was tabled to improve enforcement however at the same time this is something that had to be put across before it was too late as it is important & effective in the long run to be responsible users. Singapore Kindness Movement is glad that they were able to be the voice of the characters Ben and Bang who have become popular and gained lots of fans on social media supporting Ofo’s initiative.”

This campaign was really important as over the past 12 months, there has been an increase of irresponsible users in Singapore’s press as bicycles were left strewn in public places. The government has now decided to step up after this campaign and is now wanting to make the bicycle firms such as Ofo apply for a licence, which will require them, not only that, they might also have to pay a licenced fee if failed to keep up to the rules, however this is yet to be decided. This campaign was a success as this film was posted on Youtube and it gained up to 40K views and the change amongs the users was visible. Also Ben and Bang gaining popularity also shows that this campaign was a success.

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