Fintech… exhilarating to some, boring to many (apologies). Fintech arose like a true disruptor amongst a backdrop of traditional financial services brands, powered by rapidly evolving technology and a belief that they could do things differently, and better, without the shackles and bureaucracy of more existing FS companies. However, the way they communicated their disruptor status has at times been confusing, and their approach to marketing hasn’t set the world on fire. But that is changing. Fintech is becoming more playful, and it's finally becoming cool. Yep, you heard me. Cool.
So, how have they done it? Despite still being a serious industry, one which has to adhere to high security and rigorous compliance, some industry leading brands have managed to make their services feel relatable, desirable and even fashionable - but still trusted; a difficult balance to strike.
Let’s take a look at how some of these futuristic Fintech companies have launched themselves as stylish and engaging ‘must haves’ in a crowded and often confusing market.
One of the first brands to jump on the Messenger Bot trend, Cleo have created a Facebook robot to help people with their personal finances. Offering users an easily accessible and simple online experience, Cleo uses it’s uber-clever algorithm to aid users to sign up online, check their account balance, budget and save. Accompanied with a friendly, youthful tone of voice, and fresh, contemporary branding, Cleo has attracted a tech savvy, younger audience base with its forward thinking technology and new service experience. Their customers no longer need to take time off work to ‘pop’ into a bank's branch or annoying detours to the ATM to find out their bank balance. The Cleo Messenger Bot makes this all possible from your Smartphone. Of course, there are the usual concerns over security, but with their prime audience being typical early adopters, it looks as if momentum is gathering regardless. They might need to do some work to address these concerns, but in the meantime, kudos to them for trying a fresh approach.
Explore more of Cleo here: https://www.facebook.com/MeetCleo/
Monzo is a banking app and card that, like Cleo, helps with budgeting. Launched in 2015, Monzo propelled itself to the top of Millennials mental ‘Wish Lists’ by publicly communicating a very long waiting list. In turn, Monzo positioned themselves as a much wanted, desired and exclusive service - only available to the few… (and maybe even the cool). They managed to create a ‘hype’ around the brand, incubating an audience full of excitement and anticipation.
PayPal, TransferWise & Western Union
I've bundled these few together as I think they are all very good examples which illustrate the same point. These three companies all allow customers to spend and transfer money easily and quickly online and overseas. But, what impresses me most about these useful services is their social media marketing efforts. When I say social media, I mean Instagram in particular.
Getting social right for a Fintech brand could initially seem like a challenge but, never the less, all three of these brands have smashed it.
Referring back to my earlier point, financial services are often sensitive brands to communicate in marketing strategies. Social media especially can commonly do a good job of ‘making light of things’. Frequently used to demonstrate a ‘down to earth’, slightly playful side of a brand, social media may not seem the ideal space for financial brands. But, of course, like most other industries, social media is essential, especially if your target audience are young and tech savvy.
So, how did they get it right? PayPal, TransferWise and Western Union all look past their direct service and promote the affected outcome. Understanding the purpose and the why behind the need and use of their product ensures they communicate relative and emotive content. Regularly using bright colours and fresh branding, these pages showcase an artistic flare. They are entertaining.
TransferWise and Western Union encourage their followers to get involved, and both recognise their youthful, travel loving user base. They’ve both turned their Instagram accounts into a portfolio of stunning photographs from around the world - some user generated, others created in-house. By framing themselves as cool and by exhibiting the traveller lifestyle that so many desire, these brands have ensured a solid and loyal following, aligned and familiar with their brand and services.
PayPal, while also encouraging their customers to get involved and featuring a lot of user generated content, focus more on a ‘customer first’ type of strategy.Their digital communications are not only fresh and modern but also give their users a platform for display. PayPal have become fascinating story tellers - they aren’t just a Fintech service, but a brand who really care, a brand who help others to excel and succeed, in business and in life. Leaving ‘finance and money’ behind, PayPal have become more about ‘life and convenience’.
Another budgeting app. Loot is a current account and online banking system that allows its users to budget and set future savings goals. Although handy, Loot doesn't seem to have a clear USP. Other brands such as Revolut and Monzo (as earlier mentioned) offer similar services.
So, what makes a brand like Loot stand out? For me, what really drives their success is their cutting-edge technology. Truly putting the tech in Fintech, Loot have designed an extremely seamless and easy flowing user journey. Priding themselves on an 8 second registration process, Loot eliminate the ‘pains’ in what was previously known as the standard user journey for anyone wanting to open a new bank account. No inconvenient visits to the bank branch, no printer-scanning of your important documents, and no long wait and unwieldy acceptance processes. A built in document reader users your phone's camera to detect important information. A front-facing camera feature that only requires you ‘blink twice’ for a selfie to be taken verifies your ID. Your name, age and address is naturally pre-populated into the app and within no more than 90 seconds your new debit card is on its way. Providing the rest of its services from within its exceptionally user friendly app, Loot have situated themselves right at their users fingertips. By understanding their majority millennial audience and their need for instant gratification, Loot have risen up against more traditional banks and are using relevance and forward thinking processes to generate a large user base.
So, what can we learn from the Fintech brands killing their branding and digital marketing? If you take anything from this article, it’s that nothing has to be boring. With the right amount of audience insight, technology and strategic marketing, you can make anything feel desirable and these brands just prove it.