Enterprise Rent-A-Car is an industry leading multi-national company with approximately one million vehicles in its global rental fleet. In the UK its current rental fleet is approximately 47,000, which makes it the largest car rental company and the biggest purchaser of vehicles in the country.
As part of its environmental initiative, Enterprise has developed the “WeCar” car club scheme designed to help local authorities and other public bodies reduce carbon emissions from their employee’s vehicles as well as reduce the cost of mileage reimbursement. Through this programme, Enterprise helped Woking Borough Council reduce the cost of its ‘grey fleet’ by 28% and carbon emissions from road travel by 10% in the first year.
Despite having a hugely effective service solution to the rising cost of mileage reimbursement, Enterprise needed expert advice on how best to influence decision makers in the public sector capable of incorporating that solution into their system and aligning the incentives of both parties for mutual benefit. Enterprise chose Whitehouse to help it with this task and refine its approach to a public sector audience.
Having assessed Enterprise’s key messages and aligning those with the efficiency challenges of the public sector, Whitehouse mapped out an engagement strategy and identified key budget holders and able to influence this agenda. It was important to ensure that our message was not only relevant, but aimed at the most appropriate audience. Our targeted approach ensured Enterprise gained access to decision makers and given face time to explain its service offer.
This work entailed a briefing event and reception for Enterprise at the annual Local Government Association conference, which developed Enterprise’s links with the world of local government and led to significant interest in their service offer. At the regional level, Whitehouse ensured that Enterprise was able to make its case through meetings at Transport for London and the Greater London Authority, including with Conservative MLAs and the Mayor of London’s advisor on environment and transport issues. The strategic value in relationship building was seen by our ability to maintain regular dialogue with influential stakeholders across the GLA family as they developed their transport policies.
Whitehouse secured the active engagement of the Secretary of State for Transport, Shadow Transport Ministers, members of the Transport Select Committee and prominent backbench MPs who were picking up the issue of grey fleet following our activity. This put pressure on the Government to look at the issue of grey fleet in a more holistic manner. Whitehouse recognised the strategic importance of the Cabinet Office’s Efficiency and Reform Group, tasked with identifying ways that public services could be delivered at greater value for money to the taxpayer. Whitehouse’s engagement with the group ensured that its members were made aware of the problem with grey fleet and the potential solutions on offer prior to the 2010 Comprehensive Spending Review, and secured an invitation for Enterprise to brief the Cabinet Office on its service offering directly.
Developing the most appropriate messaging, aligned to the needs of the public sector, was paramount in creating new opportunities for Enterprise and getting greater attention paid to the costs of grey fleet. It also put the issue on the national agenda.
Our focused engagement with Parliamentarians similarly helped to bring grey fleet to the attention of Ministers and marked the start of a process to secure guidance for the public sector on how best to manage grey fleet expenditure and take advantage of the range of alternatives offered by private sector providers such as Enterprise.
Whitehouse’s linked strategy for local government enabled Enterprise to identify the best way of identifying new sales leads by creating political pressure for the cost saving, directly creating a number of new business opportunities.
Whitehouse’s work for Enterprise is a stark illustration of how public affairs can be used as an indirect route to market, creating sales opportunities for companies and fostering a political climate in which specific service solutions become accepted practice.
“I have been personally impressed with The Whitehouse Consultancy and the team’s ability to mould themselves to our cultures and objectives. They allowed me to discover my own strategy as it changed throughout all the hurdles we overcame. Whitehouse has also helped define a long term business approach which we clearly did not have from the inception. I would recommend their services to anyone, and thanks for all your help.”
Adrian Bewley, Business Development Manager, Enterprise Rent-A-Car