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Making membership meaningful again for 15 million members




Increase in app usage



Online sales conversion increase



Revenue increase



ROI in the first year


For many people, a vehicle is an essential part of daily life. For some, it’s even their very livelihood, and the smooth running of that vehicle is not just important, it's critical. Since 1905, The AA has provided a membership to support this – offering breakdown cover, expert guidance and the technology needed to make driving life easier.   

But in recent years, The AA’s consumer experience had lost its way, and many members felt it was just an expensive roadside recovery service.

The AA challenged Rufus Leonard to create a customer-centric reimagining of their membership experience. One that showed members – both new and long-standing – that with this recovery service came the largest fleet of roadside patrol vehicles in the UK, reliable services, trustworthy advice, and more than 100 years’ experience of constantly evolving motoring innovation.    


Driving digital through a business whose heritage and history is firmly fixed in the analogue age was always going to be a complex challenge but it was one we relished. It called for a business-wide cultural shift towards customer-centricity through new process, frameworks and tools. We helped lead this huge three-year digital transformation program which saw the AA completely overhaul its business across six core areas: digital estate; staff systems; technical infrastructure; brand positioning; product strategy; content.  

Due to the amount of organisational, technical, and infrastructural change going on within the client – spanning departments at the AA who had rarely worked together before, we adopted an iterative collaborative design solution. One that combined the best of tactical agile processes with operational flexibility to ensure a smooth high-quality delivery in an environment of continual change. 

We started with detailed persona and journey primary research (conducting over 40 1:1 interviews to define clusters of behaviours, needs and goals). These inputted into detailed stakeholder requirements collection through a series of workshops iterating our membership experience blueprint so all parts of the business had a shared vision of the user-centric experience.

Having identified the ways in which digital could transform The AA’s internal processes and external membership experience, we then designed and built the brand’s digital ecosystem both for customers (website, membership app), colleagues (patrol sales tool app) and partners (white-labeled car marque apps). We designed integrated experiences across the ecosystem: laying the foundation for seamless web, mobile, CRM and back-end services.

To ensure success, we ran a program of ongoing bi-weekly usability testing during the design phases with cohorts recruited from the personas not only continually evaluated any design work, but continued to add to the body of persona information. We also designed and initiated a process of ongoing optimization to drive even greater business results. At the end of our 3-year program, we had transformed the way the organization evolves its customer experience. For example, after 3 rounds of our optimisation program, we could hand over the process to The AA’s internal team.  

A hero output of the pan-organisation digital transformation process was our core customer app that combined the best features, content and navigations from across multiple business units into one. It became ‘the ideal driving companion’ and valued by its customers, consistently scoring over 4.8 in the App store. 

Kristian Samuel-Camps

Digital Transformation Manager, The AA

“We have a strategic imperative to revolutionise the customer experience at the AA. For the Digital Transformation team, this has meant putting the customer experience at the forefront of our design process; taking a holistic view and using data and analysis to feed our understanding."
"By adopting agile delivery models and the core tenets of visibility, inspection and adaption, we have been able to move at pace - critical not only from a business perspective, but from a cultural one too - having impact and building groundswell support is absolutely key. This collaboration not only improved quality of output, but it forged a deeper and more effective understanding and sharing of the customer and business problems we were to resolve. I find it no longer viable for business to ‘hand over’ problems for agencies to solve. To achieve value and quality, you need to collaborate.”


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