Who can you trust? Richard Laughton, CEO of easyCar, realised this was the key question to be addressed for the easyCar peer-to-peer car-lending concept to work.
The peer-to-peer model is simple to understand: instead of hiring a car from a rental firm, you borrow a car from someone who’s not using their own. The challenge in peer-to-peer networks is always the same: the supply. Would you lend your car to someone you don’t know?
How as a brand, can you build that trust?
Richard asked us to develop easyCar’s verbal identity guidelines and brand positioning to help members trust the brand and trust each other.
We held workshops with the marketing and tech teams.
In the workshops, we looked at the problems that car owners face and looked at what a peer-to-peer network can provide. And we looked at the concept of trust.
We identified that trust usually comes from a sense of community, but also requires a sense of ‘mutual-assured embarrassment’ if trust is broken.
We realised that lending your car to a neighbour – someone you would see again and again – was a different proposition to lending your car to a distant stranger.
Working with London’s Champion Agency, we created the positioning of the ‘neighbour-to-neighbour car lending club’.
We then created verbal identity guidelines paying particular attention to the message structure: unlike 20th century brands which put themselves first and the customer second, we realised that a neighbour-to-neighbour membership scheme needed to always talk about its members first and then reference the brand, only as a way of supporting what members can do with each other.
The guidelines, including tone of voice and brand narrative, were designed to be used easily throughout the company, as it was a start-up and everyone needed to contribute to the comms.
easyCar recently celebrated its first anniversary with a tenfold rise in membership across the UK.