Client : East West Rail
Building a brand strategy from design to delivery
East West Rail (EWR) is a new rail link under development which will connect communities between Oxford, Milton Keynes, Bedford, and Cambridge. They had an existing brand identity that was complex to express, with many stakeholders involved. EWR challenged us devise a simplified long-term brand strategy, that all stakeholders could align on. A flexible strategy that would evolve throughout all their programme phases – from planning, engagement and consultation, design and construction to the operation of the new railway. Our role was to develop that brand strategy with them, and illustrate it to a level where EWR would be able to clearly brief a full-service brand agency.
Researching with industry professionals & end users
We conducted desk research to provide a detailed understanding of branding within the rail industry, before speaking to a cross section of future service users from communities along the line. New insights from our ethnographic research were pooled with pre-existing data to provide an evidence base, aligning stakeholders across the company around a singular a Brand Vision.
The strategy took into consideration how it would feel for customers to interact with the brand in the future – at stations, on trains and across digital touchpoints.
The brand vision
To provide EWR with brand architecture we needed to understand the relationships between different parts and partners of the new railway line and define how this could be expressed through branding. The construction programme is to be delivered over three ‘connection stages’, with stage one, between Oxford and Milton Keynes, being set to launch in 2025. Within each of these stages, the brand has to take on different forms to reflect the activities taking place – from planning through to construction and eventually operation. We defined a set of brand architecture guidelines to help the EWR Co. evolve as the programme moves forwards.
EWR is an interim construction brand, in the same way that the Elizabeth Line was called Crossrail while being built. Our brand strategy for EWR includes a customer-facing ‘product brand’ for the new company which will take over from EWR, when the line opens. We gave the brand a notional name and identity and created conceptual visualisations to communicate how this might look across a range of customer-facing touchpoints.
A co-created strategy that everyone is happy to own and implement.
A brand strategy that will work for all phases of the new railway from its conception to launch.
A brand which responds to what customers want from their new railway line.
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