2020 IPMI Marketing Award Winner: Parking Marketing Program: Bruin ePermit Launch, UCLA

Each year, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Transportation issues more than 50,000 parking permits to UCLA employees and students. To streamline parking services and be more sustainable, the department launched a new virtual parking permit system using license-plate-recognition technology.

To launch Bruin ePermit, a fully integrated marketing campaign was developed and implemented to promote the new paperless parking permit system. Assets included print and digital advertisements, website content, email campaigns, social media posts, videos, signage, T-shirts and promotional items, and outreach events. By the beginning of the new fiscal year in July 2019, the department had reached its compliance goal of 20,000 Bruin ePermit purchases.

Before the launch of Bruin ePermit, UCLA Transportation used a paper-based system for employee and student parking permits, which required paperwork, physical hangtags, and gate access cards. Transitioning to a virtual system came with numerous benefits, including reduced labor hours and maintenance costs, an enhanced customer experience, and a substantial reduction in paper and plastic waste.

A comprehensive marketing and communications plan was formulated to ensure adoption of the new system. The initial phase involved generating content for UCLA Transportation’s website, including a new informational page at bruinepermit.ucla.edu and adding a detailed FAQ webpage to address customer concerns. The customer chat web portal, Ask Transportation, was also updated with numerous questions and answers for customers to search.

“Your Plate Is Your Permit” was the campaign’s first tagline, with logos and graphics created for different platforms. A series of email campaigns targeted specific audiences, including students and departmental commute coordinators. Articles were written for UCLA Transportation’s Be a Green Commuter blog, and promotional and instructional videos were created. Social media posts also highlighted the new program using catchy, taglines such as “Straight Outta Hangtags” and “Less paper and plastic is good for the planet.”

Large, eye-catching signage was posted around campus, including in parking areas. Ads were placed in the student newspaper, which also published three articles about Bruin ePermit. Promotional items included T-shirts, tote bags, phone chargers, water bottles, and pens. The T-shirts were distributed to UCLA Transportation’s Commuter and Parking Services staff, who provided in-person customer service support.

UCLA Transportation also hosted Bruin ePermit presentations for hundreds of commute coordinators, who received goodie bags with ePermit swag to encourage their employees to purchase their Bruin ePermit by the June 30 deadline. With the transition to Bruin ePermit, 1,500 pounds of paper and 30,000 plastic hangtags have been removed from the production process each year. Customers no longer need to visit the transportation office to pick up permits, reducing foot traffic in the commuter services lobby by roughly 68 percent. And the new system eliminates fees for replacing lost or stolen hangtags and gate access cards.

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