B2C: Steam Dreams brand strategy and identity

When you offer consumers a memorable experience you have to entice them with a relevant brand image to communicate your story. The Steam Dream Rail Co. delivers day trips and holidays brilliantly, but their brand identity was far from aspirational.

Overview

We first met the team at The Steam Dream Rail Co. on a Christmas trip that we nearly didn’t book. Why? The brand name, hierarchy, identity, design and website made us concerned that we would feel out of place on this steam train trip as it appeared to be aimed at retired people interested in cathedrals or train spotters. Thankfully a phone call convinced us otherwise and we tentatively headed out in vintage Pullman carriages to Lincoln’s Christmas market. We had such a fantastic and memorable company day out that we met with the chairman and team to see how we could help them attract and engage a larger audience.

Action

We ran Valiant Discover workshops to understand the interesting world of vintage steam train travel, the complexities, the customer base and their long term vision. The company had a complex brand naming structure which was confusing customers and diluting brand awareness. We tackled that first. We also adapted the main company name Steam Dreams to a more inspirational, vintage edged Steam Dream Rail Co. This gave us a solid strategic platform to begin our creative design journey.

Let’s face it, as designers, the inspiration for the romantic age of steam travel is plentiful. We were all so excited to start to bring this brand to life. We immersed ourselves in the glorious vintage travel posters of yesteryear, timetables, tickets, engineering and train design. We became familiar with locomotive names and trainspotters favourite photography places. We loved it. In fact we loved it so much we did find it hard to only develop three design routes. We presented the design directions to the team and waited tentatively and excitedly for their preferred choice.

Results

We developed a new flexible identity that has a definite nod to the vintage romance of steam travel of yesteryear balanced with a clean and precise application. The new identity repositions the company as a provider of aspirational experiences. The memorable and stylish logo is now applied to collateral which customers keep and treasure. The style is now being applied to a new website to complete the suite of new marketing tools to help the company grow their business.

If you’re interested in a great new team experience or a treat for someone special you should check them out – it’s a wonderful day out (and no, we’re not on commission!)

What we did.

Discover

Brand strategy

Brand evaluation

Brand positioning

Brand hierarchy

Name update

Design

Brand design

Brochure design

Website design

Deliver

Brand identity

Brand guidelines