San Francisco PR helps moovel successfully launch in Finland, making local transit smarter

by Mar 20, 2017Case studies, PR

Reading time: 4 minutes

As is the case with most cities today, route planner apps are an essential component of the daily commute. Prior to its launch in Finland, moovel aimed to understand the preferences and habits of local commuters in Finland’s big cities, as well as needing expertise in Finnish and strong connections to local media. They decided to ask San Francisco Agency for help.

MaaS, moovel and urban mobility

moovel (and the moovel Group) is a MaaS (Mobility as a Service) provider that aggregates local transport timetables and means of transport in one easy to use app, free of charge. moovel wants to simplify the local commute in cities around the world, and Helsinki has a strong track record in cutting-edge public mobility.

With public transit being the backbone of a city’s mobility, infrastructure and commuting play an important role in our daily routine. Current trends suggest people will not necessarily own cars in the future in cities, so moovel aims to make public transit in cities smarter. The service is currently available in Amsterdam, Austin, Barcelona, Boston, Kiev, Lviv, Madrid, Oslo, Portland, Sydney, and now, Helsinki and other larger cities in Finland. Users can download the app for free on both Android and iOS devices.

Creating a beta testing community

In the late fall of 2016, San Francisco began its cooperation with moovel by conducting a series of coffee house surveys that asked local public transport users about their transportation preferences, as well as finding out about the apps they know and use to plan routes across the region. The most suitable respondents were subsequently asked to join a closed Facebook community of beta testers for the moovel application. The beta testers were able to download a preview version of the app and could test new and upcoming features before they went live.

The group sparked active discussion, with valuable opinions, usage data and feedback all providing moovel with valuable insights that lead to a number of new features being introduced for the Finnish market. A great example of this is the fact that buses in Finland will not stop if they are not being hailed, and will equally pass by empty bus stops if the driver is not alerted. As a result, moovel introduced a feature that alerts commuters when a bus is approaching, and when you are approaching your stop when in transit.

Targeted capital region PR

After the testing phase, San Francisco launched a PR campaign throughout the Helsinki region in December that successfully raised awareness and drove sustained download numbers throughout the entire period. The PR campaign included the pitching and the distribution of a press release to Finnish media outlets. According to Jörg Lamparter, CEO of moovel group:

“moovel develops services to make mobility in cities smarter. Our products are designed to simplify the shared transportation experience around the world. The Helsinki area is at the forefront of transit services. We are really excited to launch the moovel application as a useful travel companion in this innovative city.”

The resulting coverage generated interest across the region. San Francisco also helped moovel process the feedback that arrived through various channels, providing knowledge of local communication styles and revealing the intended message.

Local influencer collaboration

With awareness building, San Francisco helped maintain moovel’s PR momentum by contacting the Helsinki Traveler – a 9-year old local vlogger who posts videos of his travels across the Helsinki region public transport service. moovel decided to invite the Helsinki Traveler to their headquarters in Stuttgart to discuss the future of transportation, and the trip generated good visibility for all involved.

This coverage – alongside further PR from San Francisco – helped boost moovel’s expansion into Tampere, Turku and Oulu. moovel CEO Jörg Lamparter once again:

“Our moovel products and services are designed to make mobility in cities smarter. This implies that they are constantly evolving. With the introduction of the moovel app as a travel companion for the daily commute in Helsinki in November 2016, we met the great demand for a modern, application based route planner that makes it easier to get around town. Today, we are launching an advanced version of the free-of-charge moovel app, which is now also available in Tampere, Turku and Oulu. It’s a result of a close collaboration with many users in the Helsinki region.”

San Francisco further helped moovel drive downloads in week 9 and 10 of this year by effectively targeting local commuters with 2 separate outdoor promotions. By placing stickers on the back seats of buses and handing out reflector sleeves for travel cards, new downloads and retention levels were boosted.


As the first Finnish agency hired to conduct PR and marketing on behalf of moovel, San Francisco assisted moovel’s entry to Finland by understanding the local market, having bodies on the ground and leveraging strong media connections. If your business is looking to enter the Finnish marketplace, San Francisco is ready and willing to help you succeed.

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