Merseytravel's Walrus card brand

We’ve been feeling pretty chuffed at Kenyon Fraser recently as we’ve been able to announce our work to create the branding for Merseytravel’s new smartcard – the Walrus.

We’ve been working on it for just over a year and have developed the brand from vision, through developing the name, to launch and are currently planning for implementation over the next couple of years. It’s all been done in partnership with our Merseytravel colleagues, with whom we form an extended team to work on all travel related strategic and operational marketing – as their sole supplier under a four year single party framework contract.

In conjunction with Merseytravel, we started the brand development process last September (2010) with a visioning and positioning exercise, taking a wide-ranging look at the key factors that would be relevant to developing the Smartcard brand for the Liverpool City Region – the equivalent of London’s Oyster card.

That’s quite a brief for starters – but a fantastic one – looking at what makes our City what it is – past, present and, most importantly, future.

Integrated transport of course has a key part to play in what makes Liverpool and Merseyside what it is – being crucial to the economy, culture, leisure and, well, everything else. We’re fortunate to have a great transport system – Merseyrail, bus, the iconic Ferries and Tunnels and a great cycle network and pedestrianised City Centre.

Understanding people, how they travel and how to influence greater use of public and sustainable transport is the foundation of Merseytravel’s corporate marketing strategy. Insight and segmentation guides all our marketing work, so it follows that the development of the Walrus has been insight led throughout.

The name Walrus emerged from a thorough development process, examining strategy, customer segments and international best practice and has been tested with focus groups drawn from Merseytravel’s key market segments.
The Walrus name came out top for a number of reasons. Sure, there’s a Beatles reference in there, but not only that. It has been chosen to reflect not simply a reference back to our most famous band, but also to the spirit of the City. An edge of unique humour, a strong sense of self-identity, an aquatic reference fitting to the both our seafaring past but also our future as a Gateway to the World. Also an environmental element – the importance of the marine environment, the ambition for the Mersey to become the cleanest City river, a reference to the strong commitment to green power being increasingly a key economic driver. The name also had the advantage of lining up with the meme for aquatic names started in Hong Kong with the Octopus smartcard, London’s Oyster, Canada’s Orca.

The brand name, identity and supporting communications needs to work across as diverse a range of segments as possible – everyone from Green Aware Twenty-somethings locally, to Japanese Beatles Tourists.
Ultimately, this name could only work for the Liverpool city region. So,Walrus it is!

Together with Merseytravel we’ve undertaken a whole range of activity to get to the branding, name and deliver the launch:

The work started in December 2010.

The first phase included:

· Research into other smart card projects and associated branding
· Research into the Liverpool City Region’s culture and economy, and the prominent brands within it
· Development of the brand position (personality, reasons to believe, benefits, brand essence)
· Creative sessions to develop ideas and concepts
· Refinement of concepts
· Testing of concepts; focus groups with different target segments (as defined by MT’s bespoke segmentation work)
· Further refinement of concepts and presentation to Chief Executive and Board
· Development of comprehensive brand guidelines; brand positioning, endorsement logos, typography, colour, brand logotype, iconography, sample applications)
This first phase was completed by March 2011.
The second phase included:
· Support in the development of a comprehensive media and stakeholder pack; developed in brand guidelines and containing key information about the brand and the introduction of smartcards across Merseyside
· Design and development of a micro-site with a content management system; introducing the brand to the general public and explaining how smartcards are being introduced across the region and data capture functionality

· Story-boarding, scripting, designing and building an animation (hosted on youtube and embedded on the homepage of the micro-site) to communicate key messages to the travelling public
· ‘Skinning’ of a Twitter page (@walruscard) & YouTube channel
· Supporting with the Media and Stakeholder launch
The second phase was completed by September 2011.

We are currently working on the brand strategy and supporting plans to support the implementation of Walrus cards across Merseyside’s transport network over the coming years.


We’ve been thinking a lot about social marketing and sustainable mobility recently. Not just because its key to our work with Merseytravel and Travelwise to encourage public transport use, but because we’ve been fortunate to have the opportunity to contribute to another EU conference on the subject.

On a first trip to Lisbon (or anywhere in Portugal for that matter) for me, I was hosted generously by the organisers of the 2nd Conference on Urban Mobility in Portugal by the team at Jornal Arquitecturas, the leading Portuguese Architects professional magazine. beautiful City and a beautiful location for the conference at the Lisbon Tram Museum.

The conference was attended by colleagues across Portugal and the EU, and it was a privilege to speak alongside some fantastic people from the transport and urban planning professions.

The theme of Social Space is one that is gaining a lot of ground – including in the #Occupy movement. IN the context of mobility it gives us a conceptual framework to think about how we plan our urban environment in the future – moving away from car first to think about how spaces are designed for human beings to interact.

Sustainable transport options – and safety – of course are key to that. Bus, rail, cycling and walking bing key, but some fantastic innovations too including some very futuristic electric modes of transport starting to come in to reality and some of the great stuff I saw in Stuttgart earlier in the year too such as urban cable cars and gondolas, and monorails.  Also, where planning allows – whole new designs for urban environments to predate development on a more sustainable urban layout.

All great stuff! Key to us in all this behavioural change. Understanding different customer segments – their aspirations and needs relevant to public transport is key. We’ve seen until now a lot of ‘get what you’re given’, functional approaches to transport ‘marketing’. A true insight led approach is needed to get us thinking and acting sustainably – even when pushing that angle might not be a motivator.

There’s much to learn from consumer marketing here. Perhaps the question is – can we catch up with the marketing of motor cars with what we do for sustainable mobility? And can we make use of brand to engage? I believe we can – and I think we will. Time to step up…

Conference website:ências/2ªConferênciadeMobilidadeUrbana.aspx

World Streets:

Kenyon Fraser:








Cities for Mobility - social marketing and social space

We recently had the fantastic opportunity to contribute to the 5th annual Cities for Mobility World Congress in Stuttgart.

The theme of the conference was Social Space, a concept developed by the fabulous Eric Britton of World Streets (amongst many other things), and then set as a challenge to the conference speakers to consider in our various areas of expertise.

The concept goes something like this:

Urban Planners plan buildings and there is space between them that is either private or public. But if we are to think about our cities and how we both experience and move around them in a sustainable way, then thinking about Social Space can help re-frame that thinking.

The basic concept is that if we remove cars from public space, move away from our ‘speed/distance drug’ and think more about space as being social, we start potentially to create space where through walking, cycling, public transport (and cable cars in some cities, I learned!) becoming more prominent then we have safer, more pleasant, more environmentally friendly spaces people can enjoy.

I was asked to think about social media in this context and proposed that there is an additional layer to social space – a virtual rather than physical social space. Increasingly, we are living our lives in a physical and digital space in tandem – and in real time. With my smartphone in my pocket I can check what’s happening with public transport, where my friends are at, book tickets, have several conversations going on at once, navigate my way around, and, ‘report’ on what’s happening with me and around me. This ‘reporting’ includes my experiences with public transport and other brands, products and services. Its easy to have a quick moan, and if we monitor social media we can see that we certainly do. Frequently. For those running transport services maybe its sometimes a PR issue, but much more often its either banal and very everyday. Or its customers (passengers?) having real experiences with which we could support them through a little digital tlc. And cumulatively it certainly all adds up to intelligence – we can use it as one of the ways of understanding what’s going on around us and use it in our engagement and planning work. And if we get engaged in the digital social space, then it can be so much more.

Social space is also relevant, of course, to social marketing. Understanding how people use urban space, how they might use it if we changed it to be more social, the appetite for that and where it might take us is one of our biggest challenges in relation to our urban wellbeing. And its a massive challenge for us in the ‘developed world’. Should we be worried about what’s happening in the ‘developing world’, or should we look first in our own back yard? Perhaps both, but its our own back yard where we must certainly start – after all we’re accountable for the majority of the emissions generated through the hang-over from our 20th century love-affair with the automobile. How we understand and work with people to influence behaviours – and how digital as only one element of that plays a role – is one of our key challenges. And we’ve only just started to understand it.



World Streets:

Cities for Mobility:

Kenyon Fraser:

A key theme at last month’s World Social Marketing Conference in Dublin, sponsored by Kenyon Fraser, was the convergence of commercial and social marketing.

Ogilvy Worldwide CEO, Miles Young, gave a convincing keynote on this calling for commercial marketing and social marketing to share the best of both worlds – in that commercial marketing can bring greater rigour and efficiency in strategy, creativity and innovation, and that the best in social marketing can support commercial organisations create greater “authenticity” in positioning brands, products and themselves in their respective markets.

It’s a compelling case, but one of the key things that struck us was the academic nature of this emerging debate. Its something we think about a lot at Kenyon Fraser, but also something we do a lot – because as a truly integrated agency we split our time equally between commercial & social marketing projects.

In commercial and social marketing, we know there has never been a one size fits all approach. But we believe the fundamental shared principle is that strategic marketing, communications and social change work is about understanding people. And using that understanding to influence people’s behaviour to help our clients to achieve their objectives – whether that is to achieve profit, to achieve a social good or, increasingly, both.

Take our work in public transport. We’re working with Merseytravel to increase sales across a range of travel products and services that at the same time have a direct impact on sustainability, the environment, cultural life, tourism, economic regeneration, long-term transport behaviours – we could go on. It’s tricky to draw a line on what’s social and what’s commercial.

Are we creatingchange* or creatingvalue*?

The answer, of course, is both. A couple of years ago we’d have been trying to draw the line. Now, we know we don’t need to – quite the reverse.

And being Headquartered in Liverpool gives us an even greater interest in this. Accepted wisdom is that the Liverpool economy is the ‘wrong way up’ – too much reliance historically on the public sector, too weak a private sector.

Well if the Liverpool City Region is challenging that balance – and it is – then that’s a responsibility we take seriously too.

If we are working with public money to address social challenges – then far better to also be working to generate that wealth in the first place.

And if we are working on what has in the past been both ‘sides’ – then bringing the best of both worlds together can only be a good thing for everyone.

Certainly keeps us motivated!

Kenyon Fraser:

Miles Young:

WSM Conference:

Its been a great first evening at the World Social Marketing Conference – before its even fully underway.

So what’s the buzz?

A real sense of energy, a desire to learn and exchange, share experiences and practices… and a really different vibe and mix than Brighton 2008.

We’d say Dublin feels much more like a genuine World Social Marketing Conference, more cosmopolitan and, already, a richer discussion and debate  – its been great to meet colleagues already from Egypt, Kenya, the USA, Scandinavia and the Antipodes – all with a shared purpose and approach but different experiences and learning to share.

Really excited about tomorrow!

Ben & Steve

World Social Marketing Conference 2011

We’re starting to get excited about our trip to the 2nd World Non-Profit & Social Marketing Conference in Dublin – 11th and 12th April.

Kenyon Fraser are proud to be supporting the event as a conference sponsor and to meeting colleagues from around the world. We’re exhibiting on stand 6 in the ‘green zone’ with lots of our work to share.

Hope to meet you there!

Check out the conference website

Kenyon Fraser have been at the cutting edge of health communications and marketing for over 20 years.

Over that time we’ve seen the emergence and development of social marketing, and made a massive contribution to that development – particularly in the field of public health. Whether its tobacco control, stop smoking services, cancer screening and early detection, alcohol, food, physical activity – we could, of course, go on… One golden thread holds it together for us – understanding people.

As we move in to a new era, we’ve launched a new website highlighting our work, our team and our services. This blog is designed to help us engage in and contribute to the myriad discussions and debates informing the development of social marketing and not for profit marketing and communications.

Whether its behavioural economics and nudging, social and organisation change, design thinking, service deign, LEAN thinking or large scale change… we look forward to sharing our thoughts and hearing your views.

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