How the Walrus was created…
Merseytravel were looking to create a new smart ticketing brand which would help to make people in the Liverpool City Region embrace the travel revolution and identify with the new product – a ticketing solution which will in time fundamentally change the way travellers buy tickets.
We researched other smart cards around the world and found that many of them – like London’s Oyster card – had original and quirky identities: no reference in the name to ‘smartness’, but a strong and distinctive character coming through.
Given that we knew long-standing clients Merseytravel would welcome a bold approach, we decided to go for something different.
Our team came up with literally dozens of possible names, but sometimes you just know when you’ve found ‘the one’. So, when someone suggested ‘Walrus’, we thought we had our winner.
There was a deliberate nod to ‘Liverpoolness’ – the Beatles’ song I Am The Walrus – and the name stood out and obviously lent itself to development as the core of a strong brand.
Next step was to test our assumption that Walrus would say the same things to the target audience as it did to us, and we set up focus groups where a number of options were tested with carefully selected members of the travelling public and other stakeholders.
There was overwhelming recognition of the strength of Walrus, and we were able to go to the client with a firm recommendation, backed up by creative concepts which showed the possible development routes, all worked up against overall Merseytravel brand guidelines.
The name was approved; designs were firmed up and Walrus brand guidelines created. And the roll-out of the new brand began, with Walrus set to take its place as a familiar name and image across the city region.