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To meet the needs of a rapidly growing business and residential population, the Regional Municipality of York, in the Greater Toronto Area, undertook the development of a new bus rapid transit service. But neither the name of the plan (York Rapid Transit Plan) nor the name of the transit operator (York Region Transit) reflected its innovative approach to public transit. Given that York Region has one of the highest household car ownership ratios in Canada, an innovative approach was needed to entice people out of their cars and onto public transit for at least some daily trips.
Innovation and customer focus were at the heart of the new brand. We used research to both develop and sell a brand positioning of a new way to travel in York Region. We created an innovative name –Viva – to signal that this is not public transit as usual. And we used a distinctive colour palette and style of communications to bring home the message that Viva is a business-class way to travel. The brand design approach was carried through at all levels, from the seats and their fabric, to the signage and wayfinding in the transit shelters. In subsequent and unrelated transit research, customers spontaneously referred to "their Viva" and held it up as the best example of public transit in the Greater Toronto Area.

Research methodology, brand positioning, name strategy and creation, tagline development, strategic design direction, communications and marketing planning, brand education for politicians, senior managers, and Viva staff

Gee Jeffery Partners, The Strategic Counsel (research)



In a community where the automobile is king, this innovative public transit service needed to capture the community's imagination with a bold and innovative promise communicated through an appropriate name, design and marketing strategy.