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Transforming an American icon
To be asked to bring a one hundred year old American icon through a digital transformation is a huge compliment. But when you win a project like this, there's no time for self congratulation. It's time to prove what you can do. To roll up your sleeves and get to work.
Transforming the business
Greyhound has significant growth ambitions, and the strategy for the transformation is a simple one: leverage digital platforms to boost travel frequency with existing passengers and increase the number of new customers. All while developing a brand which stands as an American icon and creating a brand platform for engagement with the audience across all channels. Simple.
Putting a strategy in place
With the management team at Greyhound, we structured a programme of work to help define the digital strategy. The end to end process was driven by insight gathering and user validation, essential for e-commerce at this scale. After immersion in the company's five year plan and a process of defining and baselining the metrics we want to perform against, we moved into outside factors of market positioning and functional analysis against the customers expectation for a modern transport brand in digital.
Only then did we get started on planning the cornerstone in the new digital strategy.
The new Greyhound website.
Move fast. Test often.
We made use of the closest Greyhound station in Dallas to test as often as we could. Information architecture, tone of voice, early sketches to clickable designs.
The second we had something we thought was good, or we had a question that required insight, we asked the customers. From the navigation to the tone of voice.
At key stages when we needed more detail, we used a local testing partner to run closed testing sessions and reporting.
A family across the world
The team clocked up a few air miles between Dallas and the UK, but the Greyhound team really made us part of their family. Proud to show off their great city and state. We set up a project room in their offices and filled the walls with the thinking in progress. Everyone from the receptionist to the CEO would pop in to see what we were doing. We also became very familiar with the Greyhound service, clocking up some serious miles across the States and even trying the competition too.
Defining a digital experience
Through our strategy process we created a digital personality and values system for the brand. How it should feel to interact with the brand, and how it should behave in times of promotion and support. We then started to bring that to life, turning theory into principles, and then into creative exploration and a finally a detailed plan for content.
Adding a lot of love
We knew from the start that this brand had to have personality. Our work in defining that personality led us to look at non-digital methods. Settling on paper craft and hand illustration.
American cities and landscapes were lovingly made by hand in Manchester. We planned assets that would support content for years to come.
Telling honest stories
Our vast amount of user insight work told us that we needed customers to feel a connection to their fellow travellers and the staff behind the brand.
We connected with travellers on social media and found some to follow with a Brooklyn based film crew. We shot stunning and heart warming stories of Greyhound customers and the reasons they travel.
Each one representing one of our personas from our user research.
Code and collaboration
The first step to get your agencies working well together is to get them in the same room. So we did.
Seems like a no brainer, but having the client, Realise creating the build kit, and third party back end developers in the same room at key stages meant we all worked as one team.
That and some very stringent project management, you need a good plan in order to keep to it.
Getting eCommerce right
When almost two million people visit your site each month, you really have to get the booking process right. The user experience was one of our highest priorities, it had to be world class. We re-engineered the booking system from the ground up, based on the insight from the customers and then we ran phased and iterative test programme, across desktop, tablet and mobile.
Ensuring that customer insight is part of an on-going optimisation cycle involves careful planning. We ensured that every step in the customer journey was measured from first touch, to ticket purchase and beyond.
With advanced measurement allowing cross-device analysis and full e-commerce attribution, we ensured there was a comprehensive measurement solution in place that offers a unique view into the customer experience, and delivers the insight needed to understand the benefits of the transformation.
A new set of guidelines
When you implement a brand development process, its important that the Greyhound team and all their creative partners feel comfortable using it.
We created a digital guidelines site, with code ready to place, assets ready to download and advice written by humans for humans.
This isn't your usual logo placement doc, this is a really helpful guide. We wanted others to see the love that went into the thinking.
The future... beyond the .com
Todd Koch, Vice President, Strategy and Business Development at Greyhound, said:
“Over the past year Greyhound has worked with Realise over several different projects ranging from customer engagement strategy to website design and development. Realise has consistently delivered across all projects and has become a trusted long term partner to Greyhound in our transformation strategy. The Realise team is engaged and invested in the success of Greyhound."
The transformation is just starting.
We are on board.