Automotive site motoring.co.uk rebrands as Regit
In 2015, an estimated 31 million people across the UK owned a car – a rise of 10 million since 1995. And, as the market expands, the means to buy and sell vehicles has shifted exponentially. Gone are the days of car dealer caricatures, akin to Mr Wormwood from hit 1996 Roald Dahl film adaption, Matilda, traversing garages in chequered suits and trilbies.
Reports now detail that up to two-thirds of potential customers instead opt to buy, or at least browse, cars online. With this shift in consumption habits, new platforms continue to develop to offer an inclusive, integrated service. This is exactly what Regit, this week rebranded from motoring.co.uk, aims to achieve.
Developed eight years ago, the site known as motoring.co.uk originally used digital to contact customers and develop business with a whole network of franchised car dealers. Despite growing online competition in the automotive sector, this site was different. It pioneered the use of digital and data gathering to assist customers with their automotive needs; it offered selling, servicing and MOT service information and would eventually become the backbone of the Regit brand.
While motoring.co.uk offered a clear alternative to other car dealership websites, Regit developed from the brand extension which eventually became motoring.co.uk’s most trusted feature. “We asked, what if we were to put everything in one place, rather than just focusing on new cars or used cars?,” explains Terry Hogan, joint CEO of Regit. “What if we help the motorists through their car’s whole lifecycle? And MyMotoring was born." And, once Hogan and Chris Ashton Green, Regit's other CEO, realised that the MyMotoring platform was actually motoring.co.uk’s most valuable asset, the basis for the company’s wider rebrand began to develop.
Hogan and Ashton Green did not make this decision alone, however. The Regit brand strategy took shape after the pair were contacted by brand development agency The Garage Soho and its founder, acclaimed advertising expert Sir John Hegarty - someone who likes to work with established yet disruptive brands. “We worked with John on the look and feel, on what we thought it should look like,” explains Ashton Green. However, finding a company purpose was the obvious yet crucial next step. A name change, far removed from the previous iteration although with the same clarity of purpose, became key to defining the brand's new direction.
“It’s simple,” says Ashton Green. “It’s easy to build a brand around, consumers get it. What we want to do is become synonymous with car-owning, where a car-based decision takes place between family and friends – it becomes ‘just Regit.'”
This change in brand direction also corresponds to an informal verbal identity developed by Regit, The Garage Soho, and the agency charged with Regit’s communication strategy, Tangerine. Ashton Green continues, “One thing we tried to move away from is these automotive websites that look very male dominated with a very male look and feel.” For the colour palette, this means stepping away from the classic red and burgundy tones often associated with car companies. Selecting alternative blue shades gives Regit a feel reminscient of other disruptive brands, such as AirBnb or Rightmove. This universal appeal reflects the wider audience Regit hopes to reach.
To aid this, says, Ashton Green, the company moves away from using technical car jargon, instead adopting a friendlier, more informal tone. “That means looking at things like ‘give your car some TLC’ instead of ‘service your car’, or ‘parting ways’ instead of ‘selling it,’ he explains. Along with Regit’s updated digital platforms and strategic use of data, a shift in tone of voice offer the company’s customers a more personalised experience. It also places it firmly in the contemporary brand experience which, says Hogan, is about being customer-centric – “The thing about Regit is we’re using the data to help the consumer make better decisions.”
In a perhaps unprecedented move, Regit retains its customer call centre which handles on average 1000 calls per day. The website has 2.7 million users. Unusual in a digital-driven age, the company proves that a mixed approach to brand strategy is often the most effective - virtual world meeting reality leads to an all-encompassing approach. So while Regit’s new website and communications platforms don't currently facilitate virtual test drives, the company’s digital know-how and future-focused brand development means this idea is not too far-fetched.