Headquarters: Manchester, United Kingdom
Employees: 1900+ Independent Travel Counsellors, 200 Support Team Colleagues
Communication channels: Live broadcasts, webinars, video-on-demand, weekly newsletters, emails
Travel Counsellors is an international travel franchise business, providing personal, corporate, and leisure travel services to over 450,000 customers every year.
Headquartered in Manchester, UK, Travel Counsellors is made up of directly employed team members, working from offices in England, Dubai, Ireland, South Africa, and the Netherlands, and an additional 1900 travel professionals working as independent business owners dispersed around the globe.
David Purcell is the Internal Communications & Media Executive at Travel Counsellors.
He plays a pivotal role on the central support team to ensure that their community of Travel Counsellors are set up for success. This means making sure their franchisees are equipped with the support and resources they need to run their business and reach their earning potential.
The Travel Counsellors' TV studio
The internal branding challenge
For most companies, it’s generally much easier to deliver a great brand experience on the outside than the inside.
Where marketing teams often get the lion’s share of budget to drive brand awareness externally, internal branding can be an afterthought.
The benefits of delivering the same experience to your employees as your customers aren’t always obvious to employers.
As an international franchise operating across seven countries, Travel Counsellors understands how strong branding and visual identity can foster a sense of community and trust.
They rely on 1900 independent Travel Counsellors across the world to represent their brand. The company prides itself on putting people at the heart of everything it does and recognizes the need for every one of the independent business owners to stay connected and feel part of the wider community.
“The service we provide at Travel Counsellors is extra special. We’re committed to making moments that matter for our customers through our personal touch and unique approach, so it’s important that our brand is consistent, and people know who we are from a simple glance.”
But it's not easy to support a remote team of independent business owners scattered around the world.
If a travel counsellor can’t access the support or resources they need, when they need them, they’ll struggle to deliver a great customer experience, which could hurt the Travel Counsellors brand name.
Challenge #1 - Outdated and inconsistent branding
Email has always been a vital communications channel for Travel Counsellors. David is responsible for two important email touchpoints between the central TC team and franchisees:
- The global newsletter, Members’ Lounge – sent every Friday
- Catch-up emails that follow live TV broadcasts, recapping the most important content
When David joined, he recognized that, though the company had a sophisticated structure of communications in place, there was a lack of brand cohesion and consistency in those internal communications.
The growing number of emails going out heightened the need for more consistency. They needed to refine how they used the channel, so as to sustain brand cohesion.
Their outdated newsletter designs, colors, and fonts hindered the credibility of their employee emails.
They didn’t reflect the renowned Travel Counsellors brand that the company had worked hard to establish over the last 25 years.
Travel Counsellors already receive hundreds of emails a day. Without any consistency, there was a danger that any organizational messages would be lost in the noise.
It was hard to know what really mattered, and which information was the most up-to-date and trustworthy. They wanted their newsletters and emails to resonate and engage their employees, but more importantly, they needed them to inspire confidence.
Challenge #2 - Building HTML newsletters for Outlook
Because he had to send the employee emails with Outlook, David had to design all of their emails and newsletters using tables and custom HTML.
Even as an HTML wiz, David spent 2 hours every day just creating and formatting company-wide emails so they would send through Outlook. Nearly a quarter of David’s work life was being spent on simply creating email, never mind reading and replying to his own work emails or communicating with his own team through email.
That’s a lot of time and a lot of email.
Challenge #3 - Lack of collaborative tools
Each week, David would compile tons of company content from global support colleagues, but he had no way for contributors to add their own content. With every extra (or late) addition for the global newsletter, David would have to reformat the entire document. One false move, and the whole template could come crashing down.
Even if he managed to keep the HTML template intact, the template was no longer reflective of their modern, future-focused organization and brand. In the push to get things out by the deadline, branding would often suffer.
David needed a better way to:
- Ensure communications maintained a consistent look and feel.
- Save time building, curating, and sending newsletters
- Make it easy for any team member to create, contribute to, or send newsletters
Solution: Branding made easy with Bananatag’s email designer
When David got his hands on Bananatag and started to experiment with all of the features, what stood out immediately was how easy everything was to use.
Using Bananatag’s drag-and-drop Email Designer, David easily designed a responsive and flexible newsletter template consistent with the Travel Counsellors brand guidelines.
With a user-friendly interface and pre-existing modern templates, David was confident that anyone in the company could learn to use the tool to send beautifully branded emails.
Using the Branding Feature, David and his colleagues could easily select their exact brand colours to use on any element in the newsletter, rather than manually entering the color or hex codes. They could also lock in the brand settings, so that anyone using Bananatag would create emails in-line with brand guidelines.
"One of the standout features we enjoy is the ability to pre-set our brand colours so that everyone is able to ensure our internal communications are on-brand.”
Result: Supporting global teams with great employee emails
With the help of Bananatag’s Email Designer, Travel Counsellors have been able to elevate their internal brand identity to match the professional service the company has provided for over 25 years.
Not only was David able to upgrade the design of the Friday newsletters, he also used Bananatag to rebuild other company-wide emails that follow the live broadcasts.
The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive from franchisees, colleagues, and leadership.
And where previously David would spend nearly 2 hours everyday building emails from scratch, it now takes him less than an hour every week to curate content into templates. David is saving 9 hours a week using Bananatag.
With all the time he is saving with Bananatag, David can focus his efforts on the wider goal of refining the communications strategy:
“Email is just one part of our communication toolkit. We also have TV studios in all of our offices. So the time I no longer spend creating, formatting and reformatting newsletters is mostly spent improving the content we share via live broadcasts and working on our other digital offerings, like Yammer, so that our vast pool of business owners and remote working enabled colleagues can be as awesome as we know they are.”
Now David can share email templates and drafts with his colleagues, allowing them to easily drop their content into the draft and make edits before the sending deadline.
Last minute additions are a thing of the past, and he can now rest easy knowing that every email communication will be on-brand.
What's next for Travel Counsellors and Bananatag?
Since implementing Bananatag, David now has all the tools he needs to take Travel Counsellors' internal branding to the next level.
Other departments have taken notice. HR and Events are excited to adopt Bananatag and so they can upgrade their internal communications too.
We can’t wait to see how David and the team at Travel Counsellors continue to improve their employee comms in the future!