Lumo, the UK’s newest low-cost, low-carbon rail firm



The Challenge

How do you launch a new train operator during a pandemic?

Lumo is a new open access rail operator operating a fleet of 100% electric trains, which was given a license to run passenger routes on the East Coast Main Line from London to Scotland. Its license was granted on the basis that the company would actively work to persuade travellers currently choosing to make this journey via air to take the train instead – a big ask, when the company was brand-new, when customers had never heard of them…and when the UK was still coping with the impact of COVID-19.

Grayling was tasked with working with Lumo to build its consumer-facing brand proposition, introducing the new company to government, stakeholders and passengers, establishing and running its external and internal communications channels, and helping to ensure the best-possible ticket sales in the lead-up to launch. All of this was on top of demonstrating to political stakeholders that this sort of project is the future of delivering on-target, on-budget rail projects which are fit for passengers and the planet.

The Solution

Developing a truly integrated, 360-degree communications campaign, which left nothing to chance.

Our communications strategy focused on two pillars – cheaper and greener. Everything we did was focused on these two simple messages – to demonstrate Lumo’s environmental advantages compared to flying, and its cost advantages for consumers when compared to competing air operators or petrol costs.

We worked with the Lumo team to develop a full suite of brand tools including narrative, messaging, and tone of voice. Before we pre-launched the brand to media and politicians via our always-on press office, which developed a consisted drumbeat of coverage for Lumo, utilising a calendar of key political dates and regional and national media outreach. This helped raise awareness of the new service, introduced the brand to consumers, generated support from political stakeholders, and communicated the core messages of environmentally-friendly travel at an unbeatable price-point. This drove pre-launch ticket sales and ensured that a buzz was built around the brand and service before the first trains departed London and Edinburgh.

On launch day, we undertook a full-on multimedia blitz. This involved hosting media and politicians on a special inaugural Lumo journey to experience the new service. Celebrities and influencers, including Lumo’s Diversity & Inclusion Ambassador, Harvey Price, were invited to trial the service and tell their fans about the experience. This was underpinned by a fully managed social media, content, and customer service suite, ensuring that customer queries and media enquiries were handled in real time, and that hours of engaging content were produced on the day, showing potential customers the smooth, convenient reality of a journey by Lumo. We even created a 360-degree virtual reality train tour for political and media audiences who couldn’t make it on the day, bringing the Lumo experience to all target audiences in hi-tech style.

The Results

We made sure that we got people travelling AND talking...


journeys sold in three weeks

420 +

pieces of positive coverage

150 +

political stakeholders engaged

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