Strait Shipping Ltd.
A brand strategy and design system applied to every aspect of the company's business, from user-friendly bookings to engaging family fun.
Bluebridge has always been the ‘underdog’ in the inter-island ferry market. Started as a freight company to challenge a well-established government-backed competitor, they have often punched above their weight — in particular with their passenger offering. However their brand and marketing material was trying to emulate the competition — rather reflect what was special about their own business.
With our help, Bluebridge decided to change tack and fully embrace the more ‘gritty’ and ‘honest’ characteristics of their brand — hospitality, friendliness, creativity, humour and a down-to-earth Kiwi-ness would become the brand’s defining qualities. The more personal and approachable visual signature was carried across all the brand’s marketing collateral and environmental graphics — including the website.
This core brand was further built on when we turned our minds to capturing the hearts and minds of the family market. We collaborated with the talented illustrators at Teaspoon to create Bluebeard and his stinky crew of misfits. As a theme, pirates are not only cool and ‘on brand’ for Bluebridge, but were also able to light-heartedly deal with issues such sea-sickness, rough sailings, and the smelliness of some freight on board.
The kids' packs we created are given out free to every child that travels. And this is much more than some bog-standard, expected colouring-in placemat! These unique games, puzzles, activities and other giveaways are have been designed and crafted for the long trip and have helped transform a dull ferry ride into an awesome, swashbuckling, piratical adventure.
For Bluebridge customers, booking travel obviously needed to be the focus. The site was not responsive, making it terrible for 80% of those who book online while travelling. Our solution was to create an ever-present mobile-first booking widget, which hands-off to the 3rd party system at the last possible moment. The rest of the site is designed from the booking widget ‘out’, with all the supporting information and marketing material focused on encouraging booking.
The entire form is presented in one screen that first asks your direction of travel and clearly illustrates it. This deals with the number one call centre issue from foreign travellers who aren’t familiar with “North/South” or “Wellington/Picton”.
Having made their way through a customer-centric booking process, the details need to be transferred to the “operational” 3rd party system. To help reduce this jarring effect of this hand-over we created a deliberate, almost apologetic, pause to indicate this change in experience.