Bateman’s Case #2: Yilu
– The smart platform for travel
Backed by Lufthansa, Yilu is creating growth opportunities for hotel chains and airlines with an integration platform connecting them — and their customers — to hundreds of individual service providers. Oh, and there is also some machine learning under the hood. My job was to help them communicate all this in a simple but compelling way.
Yilu’s business case and go-to-market model were razor sharp. They knew their potential customers, and how they were going to deliver value. Their challenge was communicating their story in a clear way externally. We agreed that the starting point had to be a value proposition that worked across multiple audiences, specifically potential employees and customers, and within the Lufthansa group. Once that was nailed, I’d write copy for their launch site and other channels.
Any good proposition is rooted in a product truth. Yilu’s challenge was that the nature of their product — essentially a single API connecting travel companies with hundreds of ancillary services — was somewhat complex. Compounding the difficulty was the need to ensure consumers, and not just Yilu’s direct customers, would understand the service.
I needed to get my head round the technical aspects, and the Yilu team needed to empty their heads of all the ideas they’d been discussing internally. We decided that I’d spend two full days in Berlin. Day 1 was me meeting the team and diving into the product. Day two was a workshop focused exclusively on value proposition development. Together with the head of product, I designed a day with a mix of discussion, and solo and group exercises geared towards stripping back their product and their business model in an attempt to reveal a single compelling truth.
Following the workshop I went away and focused on trying to connect the ‘smart’ aspects of what they were building with the eventual benefit. Initially we focused on how Yilu would make travel more pleasurable for the consumer but we realised we were straying too far from the needs of their actual customers. The decision at the board level was that the proposition had to encompass end user and customer. This led us to ‘The smart platform for travel’, supported by a simple articulation of what they were all about:
Yilu makes every aspect of the journey better for the traveller, while creating new growth opportunities for travel companies.
With the proposition in place, we decided the best way to bring the platform to life on the launch site was with a step-by-step narrative. From a communication perspective, this simple pedagogical approach was critical. It gave Yilu a story to tell that has fed into all their subsequent material, from sales material to investor presentations.
As well as copy for the rest of the site, I helped the team with their social profiles, a press release, and boilerplate text. In essence, it was a starter pack that gave the team a solid foundation for the next phase of their growth.
“For Yilu’s takeoff, we sought a well-rounded strategist with excellent hands-on copywriting skills and that’s Aaron in a nutshell. He was a great partner during the crucial phase of translating strategy to relatable language and was able to quickly grasp the challenge, navigate the complexity, and provide quality deliverables within the agreed timeline.”
Frederik Cordes, Chief Product Officer, Yilu