You know that feeling when you have a brilliant idea, a great project but you just don’t know how to announce it to the world. You can’t really show up in the middle of the street and shout: “This is my idea, isn’t it great? Who’s up for a meeting?”. Well, you can… but it probably won’t be effective. You need a plan, a strategy to work your way up the jungle that is the [business] world.
Rest assured, you don’t wake up one morning and have it all figured out. We can’t all be Steve Jobs! Who would we look up to? Anyway, you surround yourself with cultured and experienced people whose vision for your company is greater than imagined. There isn’t one path that’ll take you where you wish to go, every story is different, but there are common traits to all of them: tenacity, drive and passion - and have fun along the way, it’s allowed. Whether you’re looking for advice, just curious or have a few minutes to spare…This is our story.
Disclaimer: Stuart doesn’t guarantee immediate success after reading this article.
We went on a not-so-secret investigation to write you the most detailed article you will ever read about Stuart’s brand journey. Grab a seat and dive into our adventure.
Once upon a time…
It all began when two very cool guys, Benjamin and Clément, Stuart’s co-founders, had a realization: it was difficult to find the right company that guaranteed efficient and reliable services with couriers to deliver parcels sustainably within hours. Of course, there were different companies but none that gathered all of those needs and was easy to navigate through. They were sure that professional couriers and last-mile deliveries, not only for restaurants but for all businesses, were going to be the need of the future. So, they teamed up and created their own company in line with their vision.
When life gives you lemons
Let’s address the matter you’ve all been waiting for: Why the name Stuart? Well, we heard through the grapevine that our two founders were on a plane flying from Paris to Barcelona. What does a plane have to do with anything, right? Hang on, you’ll see why very soon. They were looking for a name for their company, something short and catchy that conveyed positivity and was accessible. And out of the blue, they met Stuart the plane’s steward – I couldn’t make that up even if I wanted to. This steward named Stuart was so nice and represented everything they wanted the company to be – elegant, accessible, friendly, helpful and trustworthy. They took it as a sign and kept the name. When the gods of Tech Startups send you a message, you take it and respect it. Stuart was a perfect fit for couriers and businesses. It was easy to pronounce and short enough to remember. This is why you should always listen to the safety measures at the beginning of the flight, you just don’t know what great things may come from it.
The main course
We have a need turned into an idea turned into a business, we have a name, what else is on the list? Well, how do you make people know your company? Beware, this word is dreaded in the industry, it’s the disliked cousin of Ideas at family reunions that after puberty becomes the cool kid. It’s like chocolate, doesn’t seem appealing at first but the second you taste it, you can’t imagine life without it. And this word, my friends, is Marketing! *gasps* If you want to build your company, be prepared to make marketing your best friend because it can make your wildest dreams come true – or your deepest fears as well, if not treated well. It has a temper, what can you do?
Start off on the right foot
First of all, every brand needs guidelines to help define the extent of...almost everything. It includes color palettes, typography, logo space requirements, brand tone, grammar, taglines, personas and many more. This is the base on which we built our brand on. Without it, you lose focus and can derail from who you are as a brand. This is why it’s the foundation of any marketing strategy. Spending time designing those guidelines will help you stay in line and avoid major don'ts. Brand guidelines are more than a tool designed to give consistency and flexibility, they’re also a resource that everyone in the company can use to understand how to represent your brand. Think about it, every department of a company represents one aspect of the brand. From the Sales, Marketing and Customer Service teams who are in contact with clients, to the brand representative who’s at a networking event and gets asked what the company does, everyone should have more than a cursory understanding of what genuinely makes your organization unique. Those guidelines that we created helped us set boundaries and better achieve our goals. They set the whole atmosphere of your brand and how you communicate internally and externally.
Here’s a sneak peek of our guidelines:
Building our teams
Nicolas, current Global Head of Marketing, Brand & Communications, joined the company in 2015. Recruited by one of the co-founders to take care of Stuart’s social media and public relations at the time, he quickly became a launching pad to Stuart’s brand strategy development.
With the goal to create a strong brand identity, Stuart’s wish was to be easily understandable for all. The objective was to create a strong, sustainable brand, capable of reaching all its corporate targets. In a world over-filled with information, a traditional B2B marketing strategy wouldn’t have been relevant in order to become an undisputed leader of the “last mile delivery”. So, the challenge of creating quality content became clear. We aimed high and targeted major accounts so we needed to offer the outside world - the media, B2B decision makers, couriers and future employees altogether - solid content to accelerate our process.
The goal was to launch Stuart not only in France but also in Spain and in the UK. This directly placed the delivery service company as an European leader. Preparations were in order.
One of Stuart’s first moves was to create a short-film to showcase and explain Stuart easily – on the plus side, it was also used as a “wow factor” during meetings with clients, in couriers recruitment strategy and hiring outreach mails. This film helped kickstart Stuart’s mentions in the press after appearing in TechCrunch - over 300 mentions worldwide and in major French media outlets such as Le Figaro, Challenge, Les Echos, etc. Our mantra has always been to prioritize quality over quantity and it paid off. We’d rather take the needed time to have a perfect final product than to be rushed into creating short-term content. The fact that the video, made 4 years ago, is still relevant today is proof that we opted for the right strategy.
Discover the video right here.
No stones were left unturned, every angle was studied and designed to fit our goal. We shortlisted an agency to film the video who would let us direct it as we imagined. The idea was to make the film a “self-explaining tool”. In this sense, it allowed people to get a real grasp of what Stuart does from the moment the client places an order up to the final step of the delivery. It captured the true essence of what Stuart was becoming. Tech companies often forget that illustrating their work in “clean” and well thought of campaigns creates a bigger impact than lots of short-term content and posts.
But Stuart was still a blank canvas. Possibilities were infinite, ideas were overflowing. Where to begin? One key word to live by: Strategy. First: work on brand identity and story-telling. How: by building a team of creatives and leaders in their field.
Introducing Pablo, Stuart’s current Art Director who was recruited in 2016. It was clear that recruiting a full-time Art Director was mandatory for the proper growth and stability of Stuart’s brand identity. We needed someone with vision who would put all his efforts into this project and create long-term, efficient story-telling and creative assets.
“When you are a part of a project this great and you believe it will be a success eventually, you put all your time, heart and effort to make it shine. You recruit passionate people and the project becomes your own.” - Nicolas Breuil
When Pablo joined the adventure, there were only two brand-related assets - as well as our dashboard and app: our current logo and Stuart’s identitary blue color. His role was to kickstart Stuart’s branding efforts, leading artistic direction and photography and building Stuart’s visual brand strategy in tandem with Nicolas.
We had a lot of work to do. We rolled up our sleeves and then…magic happened.
We started developing a photo library of couriers in the streets, wearing the Stuart equipment that we could use on different touch points such as press releases, on our website, on social media, on sales decks and so on. We used photography in order to give a more concrete and human touch to the service and to help us bring our brand to life, therefore strengthening our marketing strategy. We focused on photography because we wanted to promote a service, a concept rather than a Tech product solely.
We wanted to use our photos to communicate a professional image for B2B customers but also to convey a cool and attractive image to the couriers. The idea behind it was to recreate the image of New York couriers, very professional and with a lot of style.
In July 2017, Stuart decided to sponsor the very first fixed gear bike race in Paris! This event called “La Petite Course” was made for bike lovers like us. More than 300 riders took part in this incredible experience we were able to share together. It was a great opportunity to establish ourselves in the cycling community and amongst couriers.
Are you craving for speed and adrenaline? Check out our video recap👇🏻
In an effort to give the couriers a voice, Stuart put together in 2019 a series of eight videos available on our YouTube channel called “Flash”. These short interview-like videos showcased Stuart’s couriers in a super fun and relatable way. This allowed the community to get to know everyone's story and to highlight the fact that there isn’t one type of courier, there are students, bankers combining their love for cycling with a full-time job, cycling-addicted couples (fun fact: they met using Stuart!) and many more but most importantly sport and cycling lovers. This project was produced internally from beginning to end, it was super fun to be able to find the perfect locations - we shot these series in two very cool bike shops in Paris - to shoot the videos according to our vision and cast the couriers. We saw our project come to life day by day and had the best time thinking of fun questions as well as creating our own opening sequence!
Find one example right here. 👇🏻
Even though we were working on creating an image that would speak to the rider community, we never lost sight of our B2B target and kept on innovating in the way we advertise our service. What better way to send a clear message than to create snapy self-explanatory videos? We produced two 30-second videos aiming at illustrating different ways our platform serves retailers, both on delivery and returns. Creatively thinking, we opted for a top view method in order to illustrate the consumers’ point of view.
We created this project from scratch by putting together the storyboard, leading the art direction and so on. By doing this ourselves and with the help of professional video makers to shoot the scenes, we were able to be in control of the final result and to make sure it remained aligned with Stuart’s brand image and message we wanted to convey.
The launch of Stuart XL in 2019, our new 2-hour delivery service operating from urban warehouses, was a unique communication opportunity. We chose to use the trucks as real advertising surfaces capable of showing everything Stuart XL could do such as moving furniture, delivering and installing household appliances, delivering plants for a terrace, a new sofa for your living room and so on. Each vehicle was a unique opportunity to communicate on our brand, they were moving billboards thus allowing the service permanent visibility in the streets of Paris!
The whole truck sides were meant to showcase, in a very concrete way, a delivery situation. This allowed us to illustrate the different B2B sectors to which this offer is addressed.
You might need a bit more explanation to understand the whole process behind these pictures. Do you see the background? It wasn’t created on Illustrator, well, not quite. It’s actually 3D. We worked with a talented 3D artist specialised in architecture who helped us bring our ideas to life. To launch the service we had to create a whole universe around Stuart XL. We decided to create a series of key visuals, each illustrating one of the 5 customer verticals we work for which are Construction, Major Appliances, Garden Centers, Removals, Furniture. Pablo’s role for this project was to create these 5 visuals, to manage the artistic direction, to evaluate the different possibilities of production and the realisation of the project in itself. The project was managed internally, from styling to casting, including the photoshoots of the different characters.
Started from the bottom, now we’re here
The design team exclusively composed of Pablo at the time, was in need of (wo)manpower. They kept in mind Stuart’s goal to build its own marketing agency within the company and recruited Kathy in 2018 coming directly from Mexico.
She joined the company as an intern but quickly became an important part of the brand’s identity as she’s the sole creator of our illustrations. She designed them and built this universe that is now a big part of Stuart as they’re used in every aspect of the company: on social media, on our website, in our Product, in the offices, during client presentations, etc.
Having Kathya on the team allowed us to add a little playfulness to our brand and to simplify complex concepts thanks to her illustrations. Her work helped shape the brand’s personality and create our very own universe. Stuart had been looking for a designer to create illustrations for some time. She volunteered to give it a try just two weeks after she joined the company, everybody loved the results! One of the projects she worked on was Stuart’s blog, she created 80 illustrations since its launch in november 2019. The blog, in addition to being a great way to talk about who we are, our employees, what we stand for and more, is also of good use for our SEO strategy and to improve our ranking in online searches.
The company was getting bigger by the minute and needed to be represented correctly online for both clients and customers. It was time for Stuart to revamp its website and who better to do it than our marketing and design team? Every single aspect of the website has been designed within our company. Every page, every asset, every color has been selected to immerse the user in the best customer experience following our brand guidelines to make sure we stay aligned with our strategy. This project of six month is one of our most satisfying successes!
Here’s a sneak peek:
Ok, let’s recap. We have solid foundations thanks to our Brand Guidelines, a versatile team of talented people: photography, film, illustrations…something is missing. Can you guess what it is? *pause for suspense* Motion design! – We are a Tech company, after all.
Our last recruit joined the team in March 2020 and he’s name is Eoghan, straight out of… Ireland, cool name don’t you think? He masters creative thinking, brand and motion design - along other cool stuff. His arrival brought Kathya’s illustrations to life, a dream come true. Thanks to motion design we're able to better market our Products and delivery offers. Don’t miss out on the projects to come, it’s going to be amazing, by the way.
Taking a step back
In less than four years, the Marketing team has grown in 3 different countries, has created 900+ brand assets, directed a short-film and 56 films on our Youtube channel, built a website in 3 languages internally, created our blog, went from a team of 1 to a team of 13 and most importantly… actively shaped Stuart into the company that it is now thanks to cooperation.
Marketing is the bridge between your company and its clients. Putting effort into your brand, showing how your service is materialized, that there are real people working behind the screen is what will help you connect with your community. Overall, it’s reassuring for clients to work with a company that puts effort and care into its product and communication, it’s the key element to attract more customers and strengthen their loyalty towards your brand.
The amount of work you put into marketing is never really over, this is also why it’s such a fascinating sector. There’s always something new to create, a smarter way to showcase your company and/or service but what makes it so great is that you can be an actor in shaping the future. You are the one holding the cards, and this is what makes it so thrilling.
Want to join our team? You’re just in luck, we have job openings right here!