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Adding Fuel to a Platform (Bus)iness with Crowd Power

Rallying for Shared Passions through a Platform Ecosystem

In 2017, Rally achieved an incredible feat in the rideshare industry by executing the largest mass mobilization in history: over 50,000 protestors used Rally, a bus-sharing platform, to organize their commute to the Women’s March in Washington D.C. A year later, Numaan Akram, Founder and CEO of Rally, found himself leading a fast-growing business that services a radically changing consumer world enabled by the sharing economy. With an exciting opportunity on his hands, Numaan tapped Vivaldi to further capitalize on his business’s growth opportunities. Vivaldi was eager to partner with a venture that recognized the power of platform thinking to set a strategic foundation for growth.

The beautiful part of the network effect is that it scales exponentially, which is why we at Vivaldi are big believers in the power of platforms.

Erich Joachimsthaler, Founder & CEO of Vivaldi

Designing Crowd-Powered Travel for the 21st Century

In order to fully take advantage of the platform opportunity, our approach for Rally was to build a new and frictionless user flow experience that made it easier for riders’ actions to lead to network effects. We wanted to fully explore the crowd-powered aspect of Rally’s platform, in which anyone can create, sign up for, and share a trip, all of which would lead to collective experiences. Riders with a shared interest could have a bus travel anywhere, just because enough people wanted it to. We realized that the Rally experience was not only about attending the event itself, but also encompassed the planning of and the actual journey to and from the event. In order to ensure that the user experience was flawless and memorable, Rally’s platform required not only efficient and user-friendly functionality for the booking process, but also the utmost convenience of connecting different riders attending the event. With these attributes, Vivaldi could help Rally revolutionize the bus and rideshare industries through crowd power, transforming a bus ticket into the social channel of a ride.

Done right, the residual output of a seamlessly operated trip would become Rally’s best marketing channel. To create this engaging user experience that would be conversational and evergreen, our goal was to redesign the core user flow by advising Rally on their service and customer experience model, as well as on their messaging, design, and communication stance.

At the onset of the project, creating an audit of Rally’s existing internal structure became a crucial first step to understanding the value of the platform and the existing frictions that needed improvement. By looking at the way disruptors and other crowd powered companies in and out of the transportation category engaged with the audience, we soon realized the opportunities Rally actually had. Through conducting workshops and interviews, Vivaldi developed an algorithm and service design for connecting riders to those on the same trip.

In order to capitalize on Rally’s full potential and take the rider experience to the next level, we designed a full comprehensive sitemap along with wireframes for a new elevated app, desktop and tablet encounter. Additionally, based on the Rally Bus Brand Book and ID package, we perfected Rally’s true brand experience with a thorough design and messaging direction, core page designs and other creative assets.

The wisdom of the crowds - empowering people and letting them tell you what they want - is what a platform is about.

Numaan Akram, Founder & CEO of Rally

Social Engagements Beyond Bus Sharing

As a strategic partner, Vivaldi is proud to present Rally’s revamped user experience with a 68% conversion rate increase within only one month of the relaunch. With user interface that delivers a clear message, Rally is able to position itself not merely as a solution to a problem of event transportation, but also a bridge that connects all participants of the rideshare platform business- from bus operators to event coordinators.

In 2018, Rally's innovative idea attracted its first equity investor, Daimler, parent company of Mercedes-Benz and world's largest commercial vehicle manufacturer. Daimler shares Rally's vision that high occupancy vehicles can solve for the challenges resulting from increased congestion. With a premium bus supplier as an additional player in Rally's platform ecosystem, Rally is set to further unlock potential of the underutilized bus industry.

What initially started as a way for protestors to commute to D.C. has now evolved into a platform on which sports fans, college alumni, and festival-goers connect. Rally serves as a link between people and their passions, positioning themselves as a social and experiential transportation movement. Rally is now embarking on the journey to become an influential industry leader capable of changing the concept of mobility, while expanding into more regions across the nation.

Meet The Expert

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Thomas Ajello

Global Chief Creative Officer & Senior Partner

Tom Ajello is Vivaldi's Global CCO. Tom believes in the power of design and technology as a force for building value. He thrives in the middle of what can be done and what will be done, relishing the idea of inspiring the people around him with the seduction of real invention. Today, he leads Vivaldi’s creative vision by collaborating with the firm’s leadership team to ensure our wide range of branding, business consulting, product design, service design, and communications capabilities are equally grounded in creativity, strategy, and technology.