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ST Brand: Messaging Framework

Our brand is more than a logo or a look. It’s how people perceive our agency based on their experience with it. The brand is impacted by our interactions with our customers and with each other within the agency. It’s affected by the way we answer phones, how we respond to emails or talk to customers at events, public meetings and on station platforms. 

When people do business with Sound Transit, ride our services or see our communications, we want them to think: dependable/reliable, innovative, industrious, progressive, fun/witty, non-bureaucratic. 

We need to foster a customer-centered culture that drives the agency’s brand. Success depends on everyone doing their part. That means all of us are Sound Transit ambassadors, actively and passionately engaged in not only our work, but also the mission of the agency. 


We need to tell the story of Sound Transit’s successes and portray the agency in a positive light in day-to-day interactions at work and away from work. Talk about what ST stands for with your own words and passion, but use brand messaging as a framework. By consistently emphasizing that by "riding the wave" and leaving their cars behind, commuters can free themselves of stress and congestion, we can demonstrate how the agency is changing lives with "easy connections to more places for more people." 


Sound Transit provides fast, frequent and easy-to-use rail and bus connections for Puget Sound commuters and others who want freedom and flexibility in their daily travels. It provides a cost-effective and stress-free alternative to driving. ST can help people bypass congestion while giving them time to relax and catch up on work or reading. Plus ST helps cut back on trips to the pump and reduce wear and tear on the family car.


These inform the way we talk with our audiences. Use them as a framework to craft your message and tailor to your audience. 



An important component of branding is the impression customers have when they ride a bus or train. We conduct annual Customer Satisfaction Surveys and maintain an online customer panel to help monitor how our customers feel about the agency and its services. Our customers consistently give the agency high marks for the quality of our services. Sound Transit must continue to foster a customer-centered culture that drives the agency’s brand. This will help us maximize the productivity of existing services, build and maintain ridership and increase support for new services. 


Sound Transit continues to build a track record of delivering major capital projects on schedule and under budget. In 2015 we’ll have 41 miles of light rail extension in planning or construction. We’re also carrying a record number of passengers on our trains and buses and testing equipment for the launch of new light rail service in 2016. The brand is reinforced by the way we treat and communicate with people in communities affected by Sound Transit projects and services. For those directly impacted by construction, the agency is committed to keeping the area near the site clean and accessible to neighbors, visitors and local traffic. 


Transparency and accountability are important parts of the agency’s values and brand. Sound Transit is one of the most scrutinized public agencies in the state and has a strong record of clean financial audits and reviews at the state and federal levels. The brand is influenced by the way we work and communicate with elected officials and community leaders. It is important that we show these audiences that Sound Transit uses tax dollars wisely and brings value to the constituents the officials represent. 


By 2040, estimates show that the region’s population is expected to grow by nearly a million, an increase of 30 percent, and support more than a million new jobs. All of these new people and jobs are expected to boost demand for travel by about 40 percent. We have already begun planning to expand congestion-free light rail farther and deeper into King, Snohomish and Pierce counties to meet the growing need in an area that is home to more than 40 percent of Washington’s residents and is responsible for 70 percent of the state’s economic activity. An important part of our brand is building on today’s successes to prove we are capable of planning and providing for tomorrow’s needs.