“One day I’ll buy that motorhome”.
Does that day ever come without a little nudge?
TrailLite Motorhomes has been manufacturing motorhomes and caravans from their purpose- built factory in Auckland, New Zealand, for over 60 years. As a family-owned business they have a good name in the market with a strong sense of values that translates into handcrafted vehicles that are produced to the highest of standards.
Despite this, local and international competitors with cheaper components and mass produced manufacturing processes, were chipping away at their market share. TrailLite was not capitalising on their history—a great story of courage and craftsmanship—or moving fast enough to stop the decline. As such they were losing out on opportunities to reach new customers and grow their business. They asked me to help.
I started with a Marketing Brand Audit, and discovered immediate areas for improvement along with the need to develop resources that would resonate with their internal and external audiences, including:
- New Values
- New Positioning
- Update the Business Strategy
- A new Marketing strategy
- Redesign the Company Logo and Stationery
- Develop a new sales-driven Website
- Create a new Company Brochure
- Create new brand and retail advertising campaigns
- Create new on-site and in-vehicle signage
- Develop new Public Relations campaigns
- Develop new electronic Direct Mail campaigns
- Create Trade Show materials
- Develop Internal staff communications.
With a list this large, everything had to be developed over time to work with their cash flow.
Starting with their Brand Positioning and tagline, I wrote CHOOSE YOUR TRAIL as it embodied the independent spirit of their customers.
Retail messaging centred around getting people to take action sooner rather than later. That's because a common phrase heard in their sales yards was “One day I’ll do this”.
Life can change in the blink of an eye, so without a little nudge, that day may never come. Retail campaigns started with GET YOUR LIFE BACK because TrailLite had the perfect vehicle to do just that, by exploring New Zealand in style, and at your own pace. Before long, there was a 6-month waiting list for TrailLite's motorhomes.
Working closely with TrailLite over a five-year period, I ticked off all their goals, helped improve the TrailLite process and dramatically and positively changed the face of their marketing materials. Externally they now looked like the company they were inside, with an excellent story and quality materials that have an attention to detail rivalled only by their own craftsmanship.
The above was the second brand logo designed for them over a 5-year period working with TrailLite. It's their logo today.
New company brochure.
I collaborated with TrailLite’s management team on issues relating to their factory and manufacturing process. This resulted in TrailLite fully adopting the Lean Manufacturing process, which is a management philosophy derived mostly from the Toyota Production System. Lean is centred on preserving value with less work, and utilises a set of tools that assist in the identification and steady elimination of waste. As waste is eliminated, quality improves while production time and costs are reduced.
The first logo we created for TrailLite which was a vast improvement on what they had.
Product and brand logos.
New vehicle livery.
Trade show banners.
New website architecture and website design, writing and development.
A new category is born.
TrailLite noticed a trend with customers wanting to buy smaller motorhomes, so they could drive these with their standard car licence. I was asked to create an ad stating that ‘TrailLite now manufacture and sell small motorhomes too.’
Instead of merely responding to the brief with an ad, I created a new category.
TrailLite Motorhomes were traditionally large vehicles, up to 9.5 metres in length. A motorhome was essentially that, a home on wheels. What would smaller versions be?
The new Motor-apartment.
With the creation of “motor-apartment” a whole new category was created and TrailLite had trouble keeping up with demand.
I also looked to target a new customer base outside of the traditional motorhome buyer market. Industries such as Marine and Building were just a couple, where serious money is spent on lifestyle and leisure.
European imports were hurting TrailLite's business.
Customers were attracted to these imports as they are cheaper and look relatively nice to the naked eye. But when you looked deeper, their build process was inferior and a typical TrailLite customer would soon be disappointed.
“Why can’t we import European motorhomes and cater to that market too?”
TrailLite subsequently developed a relationship with Great Britain’s best motorhome manufacturer — also family owned — and proceeded to import and sell their motorhomes from their sales yard in Auckland.
TrailLite then developed relationships with other leading manufacturers in Europe (via trade show visits) and they now sell six leading brands, including their own. I then renamed and rebranded their sale yard to ‘Everything RV’ to show they deal in more than just the fine TrailLite brand. Then all the brand and marketing materials followed.
The result of our work together...
The result is nothing short of fantastic. Despite other significant local manufacturers folding in a tough market, and an increase in European motorhome imports, TrailLite has continued to grow, through acquisition of key competitors and by attracting new customers, to achieve record sales each year.
TrailLite also extended their manufacturing hours, and were considering building a second factory for 24-hour operations to keep up with ongoing demand for their new motorhomes (and to chip away at their waiting list). They were considering expanding into Australia too.
Good strategies, open collaboration between teams, a willingness to explore opportunities, asking the right questions and developing excellent quality collateral, have all helped to increase TrailLite’s business and ensure they’ll be a success for another 60 years.
Will has always impressed us with his creativity
We appreciate Will's creativity, high standard of his work and very importantly, how hard he works to get the job done, sometimes with seemingly impossibly tight deadlines.
The quality of work delivered by Will has been very impressive and always cost-effective. We enjoy working with Will and greatly value the contribution he makes to our business.
SHAUN NEWMAN // Joint-Managing Director, TrailLite Motorhomes