February 2010. Buenos Aires, Argentina.

TrueStar group is an international airport services operator. They provide a complete range of comprehensive passenger assistance services and provide luggage wrapping and protection services at airports.

They started in Portugal at the end of the 1990s, and they expanded to Argentina and Italy after that. Even though people recognized them because of their plastic wrapping stations at the airports around the world, they have much more to offer on top of that.

The deal also includes customer care services and fines in the case of the event of non-fulfilment. A tracking number is added to your luggage to ensure its protection and security.

The problem with the Internet is that it gives you everything – reliable material and crazy material. So the problem becomes, how do you discriminate?

Umberto Eco

To be is to be perceived

As the company was expanding around the world, there was always the challenge of having to coordinate a global branding campaign, to show they are reliable, secure and transparent.Competition is fierce for the lucrative airport baggage wrap contract. So TrueStar decided to differentiate from the other services positioning as an authority in the market.

Because of that, its chairman, Fabio Talin, approached to the company I was working with (Web360). The task was to elaborate a business strategy to position the brand in the web. My role there was to lead the art direction.

We believed that an information interface for the early adopters of package wrapping would achieve an understanding of the value of the product. By having the website positioned on the main search engine results, we would reinforce the concepts of authority, relevance, and trust.

When less is more

There were many aspects involved in the elaboration of this strategy: design, information architecture, SEO, and content.

A number of users were coming to the website, seeking for help when their luggage was missing. That’s why in the first place the website had to be easy to reach.

The design had to be action driven and as minimal as possible. I got inspiration from airport signage and the works of Massimo Vignelli for the New York Subway.

Reduce the number of stimuli and get a faster decision-making process.

We worked with the company’s branding colors, to guide the user’s attention to the right place. The primary focus was the creation of easy-to-use methods of contact, to facilitate the tracking of specific pieces of luggage.

Hick’s law describes the time it takes for a person to make a decision as a result of the possible choices they have. Increasing the number of options will increase the decision time. Knowing our users were trying to find their luggage, we didn’t want to divert them into meaningless content.

SEO for human visitors

The website translated into five languages, so the challenge was to allow different text lengths to accommodate into the layout.

SEO was the other crucial aspect. Early adopters need to know they are in good hands with TrueStar. We had to add value to the site for the human visitors, and not for the search engines.Explaining who the company is enabled us to go above and beyond talking about the products or services and solutions they provide. It’s a way to demonstrate the company’s expertise.

An authority built under a cooperative principle

When we deployed the redesigned website, it started gaining relevance from the backlinks it was getting. The authority was obtained and built based on external citation, and that also leveraged the organic search of the company.

At the same time, TrueStar expanded to more airports. This growth generated a buzz in where the customers became influencers that recommended the product across multiple social networks.The response time when you submitted a claim at the website was short, and that helped reinforce the transparency and reliability. The company got several international awards, by being compliant with several international airport laws.

Although, there was something in the road that had always been the biggest struggle: airport security.

When external forces come to play

Even if you had paid the full fee to keep your luggage protected, that wouldn’t stop the Transportation Security Administration from opening your bag if they need to.

Many customers were worried about what happens next, and how much it was worth paying for a service that could eventually be vulnerable to external controls.

There was at the same time some bureaucracy problems with the concession of the stands in particular airports. External factors that were affecting the service as a whole. That’s when the feedback from people came into play to leverage the experience.

Relationships as agents of change

It’s important to realize that any given marketplace represents an ecosystem. Knowing this, we found a way to work the ecosystem: helping others out on social media. TruesStar achieved this by quickly responding to comments social media feeds, and online posts.

It’s now what you sell; it’s what you stand for.

They were always present in conferences and also making presentations to keep their audience informed. All of these collateral initiatives helped them consolidate as an authority for comprehensive passenger solutions.

The informational interface created on the website, and the very efficient team running it let the end users get quick responses. With the redesign of their website, they brought peace of mind to a clientele of customers who chose TrueStar as their brand of choice.

Additional reading