Anatomy of World-Beating Automotive Accessory Brand

Travall is the global market leader in smart, vehicle specific automotive upgrade solutions, aimed at the pet market and beyond. Spearheaded by its famous Guard product, the Travall brand today offers a whole range of innovative and highly functional automotive upgrades.

These include steel fabricated boot dividers, tailgates and gear storage drawers, as well as injection moulded threshold protection solutions. Travall also makes amongst the highest quality rubber and carpet mats on the market. Its load management and surface protection accessories now cover over 1000 vehicle specific applications, which are sold globally across both B2C and B2B markets.

In this article we take a deep dive into why and how Travall has been able to achieve its incredible success and the key role that brand and marketing continues to play.

The Secret Sauce – A Customer Driven Purpose

Travall’s success is rooted in a deep understanding of its target customers’ needs and the emotional drivers behind them – personality traits, attitudes, values, lifestyle habits and interests are all understood on a granular level.

Because of this the Company sees its ultimate purpose as not in offering the highest quality engineered accessories (although arguably it does) – but in developing solutions to make it easier for its audience to enjoy their active lives.

This is a critical distinction and one which shapes innovations in both product development and the way those products are marketed.

The Original Quality Advantage

Travall’s extensive customer insights into why, when and how people use its products directly feeds the R&D programme of parent Company ASG, who also manufactures genuine accessory programmes for many of the world’s most respected automakers including Jaguar Land Rover and the Volkswagen Group.

Such customers of course demand ongoing investment in technology, systems and manufacturing facilities as well as compliance with ever evolving standards and certifications.

This guarantees a very high ‘Original Quality’ product, which is offered directly to the consumer under the Travall brand name – for a fraction of the genuine accessory price.

Travall’s connection to the end user coupled with ASG’s intensive development programme represents a continual feedback loop connecting customer needs with innovative first class solutions.

Brand-First Philosophy

Because Travall considers itself to be in the business of inspiring and enabling its target audience to engage in a whole range of active lifestyles, it knew from day one that investing in its brand was a top priority.

This is actually quite different from lots of similar companies in the market who often prioritise sales, then marketing, with sometimes little or no brand building undertaken at all.

Whilst obviously connected, all three are separate strategies. However, sales and marketing are normally geared towards getting the customers’ attention right now to provoke or encourage a desired immediate behaviour. Whilst branding, on the other hand, is much more about building a perception over the longer term.

Because marketing activities are often more visibly linked to revenues it’s easy to see why lots of businesses look straight past brand, instead being perpetually engaged in trying to think up new tactics to encourage their customers to buy from them.

Travall has always done things a little differently – putting a lot of time, effort and investment into developing its brand, and then optimising its marketing strategies and tactics based around that brand framework.

This is a much more proactive strategy versus the reactive nature of marketing, and one which has enabled Travall to achieve significantly more impact amongst its audience whilst maximising marketing ROI.

‘enjoy the journey’

Travall’s ‘enjoy the journey’ brand promise was devised as a platform to talk about both the functional and performance benefits of its products that enable the customer to enjoy the physical journey; whilst also encouraging them to enjoy the emotional journey – the emotive experiences that the products and brand facilitate. 

Under ‘enjoy the journey’ we seek to connect the functional with the emotional. Giving customers the confidence to rely on Travall product performance, whilst also simply inspiring them to get more out of their active lifestyles!

 

Out-of-the-box thinking

“I’d say Travall is fairly unique in that from day one it has always talked about building its brand firmly around its customers,” says WDA’s Lee Waterhouse.

“Today, the Brand is able to confidently say, ‘love us or hate us, this is who we are; this is what we stand for’ – and everything the Company does is built around that.

“Lots of the management’s strategy is based around some pretty creative thinking, which has uncovered unique ways in which to market the products and opened up potential audiences far beyond the obvious / original ones.

“This kind of lateral thinking is something we also employ as a creative agency to help us arrive at new and unique solutions which could not have been discovered by traditional vertical / analytical thinking. Whilst it doesn’t always yield results, the important thing is that it has enabled Travall to stay vibrant, relevant and to continually push boundaries”.

 

 

Where to next?

Travall has become a global market leader due to the compound effect of success in several key areas, not least the exceptional quality of its innovative products and the power of its wider range.

Effective branding has allowed Travall to market these products as desirable branded accessories designed to upgrade its customers lifestyle. This brand advantage has become a key differentiator for Travall, giving the Company an edge in areas beyond the usual product features and price comparisons. Going forward Travall’s strategy is to consolidate this brand advantage – and to evolve its proposition to remain relevant amongst an ever-changing audience.

Protecting Travall’s Brand Advantage

As any business grows everything about its brand is under attack. This is because the brand tends to become increasingly represented across more and more touch-points and managed by more and more people – both internal and external.

Unfortunately this often includes people disconnected from the brand, those who don’t understand it; and sometimes even ‘brand saboteurs’ who simply don’t believe in branding and will try to hijack the activity!

None of these parties will faithfully or consistently communicate your brand. That’s about positioning, promise, platform, messaging, tone, visual identity – the whole lot.

Unsurprisingly, the brand starts to quickly unravel and becomes increasingly eroded if left unchecked. Only ongoing brand management, curation, guidelines and the control of assets and resources can prevent it.

Evolving the Travall brand 

Protecting what’s been built is only part of the story. Just as important (and much more exciting!) is how the Travall brand can be developed to maintain relevance amongst a very fast moving audience and marketplace.

And we’re not just talking about new solutions for new cars and new models. This is about some exciting challenges and opportunities which are emerging based around major shifts in customer attitudes, including:

  • Digitisation, increasing automation and electrification
  • Convenience and an increasing ‘DIY to DIFM’ culture
  • Owning to using – ie. increased vehicle leasing, shared mobility etc (and even the emerging dog sharing phenomenon!)
  • Factors surrounding sustainability
  • Subscription models for feature upgrades
  • Personalisation
  • New attitudes surrounding new emerging global markets

All this means that as Travall continues to develop its range and focus on both market penetration and developing and navigating new global markets, staying connected and relevant amongst its rapidly changing audiences will remain one of its key advantages.

 

Key takeaways for your brand

Whilst many of our clients understand marketing, not all understand brand the way Travall do – and fewer still appreciate just what a revenue generating opportunity it can represent. Remember that whilst we all need marketing, you can actually make significantly more impact and achieve a far better return on your marketing and advertising investments – when you are clear on your brand.

It’s a fact that strong brands consistently outperform the market – and often to a much larger extent than most think. The following graph shows that the world’s 40 strongest brands actually yielded almost twice the total return to shareholders vs the MSCI World index over the course of the 20-year period ending in 2019.

Data also shows that as choices and channels increase, brand trustworthiness is more important to consumers than ever. Yes, branding is a complex area, and we know that understanding brand strategy can be overwhelming for some. But it is simply too important a success factor to ignore.

As with Travall, it all starts with getting to the heart and soul of your target audience and working hard over time to connect your offering to their deepest needs. Ultimately, your brand and value proposition should be positively differentiated from anything else available within your category. 

Don’t fall into the trap of mistakenly thinking that all the tangible components are ‘brand’. Assets such as a beautifully resolved logo, a punchy positioning slogan, an authentic manifesto, and a clear brand voice, all play a part, but really should exists to support and convey what is really your brand…

Not sure what that is or what that could be? Let us help you get started – get in touch with Lee and the branding team today.

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