Modern Marketing Agency

Be like Trevor: finding balance between brand and service

By Dave Jones | Programme manager

True Digital


The Drum Network article

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February 25, 2022 | 5 min read

It’s hard to stand out as a brand in today’s world, but Dave Jones, head of strategy at True Digital, cites ways for marketers to adopt a relaxed, reliable and heartwarming approach to their brand messaging and, when in doubt, to think more like Trevor.

True Digital on why embracing a slow and more considered brand messaging approach is more suited to consumers.

True Digital on why embracing a slow and more considered brand messaging approach is more suited to consumers

Let’s say you have a friend called Trevor who always makes you laugh. At dinner parties, he’s a raconteur who tells stories with wit and charm. Down the pub, he is warm and welcoming, cracking jokes with a twinkle in his eye that always wins you over. Everyone on the WhatsApp group is relieved when they see Trevor will be on a night out because they know it will be one to remember.

Now imagine you’re running late for a train. You wait in line for the ticket office because the machine’s broken (again) and the future of your career depends on making it to a meeting on time. You finally reach the front of the queue and carry your lukewarm coffee up to the little window. You look up from your phone and who do you see working behind the desk? Trevor.

At that moment, what runs through your head? For most people it will be some version of: “Not now Trevor, I’m in a rush and I just need a bloody ticket.”

Luckily for you, imaginary Trevor is a good friend. He spots the rising panic in your eyes, finds out where you’re going and gets that ticket into your hand so fast you can only just hear, “catch you soon, mate,” before you climb aboard your train.

Designing brilliant branded digital experiences means being like Trevor; understanding the context in which you are engaging with someone and giving them what they need in that moment.

When someone is relaxed, you have licence to make them think or make them laugh – to proactively communicate your brand’s message. But if someone needs to complete a task, you had better shut up and help them complete it.

So at True, our design process means combining two different modes of thought: brand-led thinking, where we focus on creating moments that are distinct and memorable, and service-led thinking, where we focus on helping users get things done.

Because the future will belong to those brands that can apply both lenses to each interaction they have with their customers.

They will be able to remove the friction from mundane interactions, say managing payment details or contacting customer service, by listening to customers and using technology to provide a simple and effective service.

But they will also have the confidence to break away from the homogenous ‘best-practice’ design standards used in most digital experiences and genuinely delight customers, showcase products and communicate brand ideas in new and innovative ways.

I would point to WeTransfer as a brand that absolutely gets that balance right, managing to combine a smooth and seamless file transfer service with bold creative projects that breathe life into the experience – somehow without ever interrupting or getting in the way.

In the e-commerce world, the websites of Lick paint and Patagonia both demonstrate that you can provide a slick online shopping experience without compromising on the way a brand is expressed.

As time goes on and customer expectations rise, marketers will need to learn to be a bit more Trevor – but the rewards will be there for the brands that get it right.

Modern Marketing Agency

Content by The Drum Network member:

True Digital

18 years ago true was founded with the aim of being different; straight-talking, to the point, focussed on delivering long-term growth, not through chat, but through action. Creating work that was true to our clients’ needs, true to their customers’ needs and true to our own expectations.

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