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Design Strategy


How to Make Your Product Come First in the Frenzied Fintech Brand Race

Abby Milan

July 27, 2021

People will give away anything these days: their email address for 10% off their next salad at Chopt or a couch they no longer need to a neighbor on Nextdoor.

But one thing everyone still holds close to the vest? Trust. Especially when it comes to companies who handle people’s cash. Like yours.

Because trust is the most important currency in today’s consumer landscape, making people feel comfortable with your Fintech product is the most important thing to do.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Fintech is on fire, and it’s not dying out anytime soon. As your digital product blazes ahead, make sure you’re creating a trustworthy brand that will stay hot for years to come.

Great Fintech Brands Provide Clever Solutions to Common Problems

Look, the Fintech market is saturated. Especially after a pandemic that halted any in-person interaction whatsoever. So for your brand to stand out, it’s crucial to know who you’re up against and how you can differentiate yourself from the pack.

Take it from some of these outstanding Fintech brands who have really hit their stride. The most popular ones solve a familiar problem with a clever solution. Not only that, but they own their brand through memorable design features and elements.

Mobile payment services (Venmo, apply pay, square, paypal)

  • Problem: Asking your friends for money is awkward. Plus, many people simply don’t carry cash anymore, writing checks is so 1983. How else do you pay people back?

  • Solution: Mobile payment services with a frictionless (even fun) UX. The most memorable award goes to Venmo who makes paying people a pleasure. By creating a social feed that's displayed front and center on the app, users are able to use emojis to tell the story of their transactions. 🌮🍹💃

Insurance (lemonade, policy Genius, etc.)

  • Problem: Insurance agencies can seem shady (read: maximizing premiums while trying to minimize claim payouts). And they’re never fun to deal with. If your anxiety increases just thinking about the hours wasted on insurance calls, we see you.

  • Solution: Lemonade's whole brand is built around providing a breezy, delightful, transparent insurance experience. They’re totally flipping the script on typical insurance agencies because they also donate unused premiums to nonprofits that their customers choose. You can see how much their users love them by reading these ratings on insurance claims.

Robo-advisors (Robinhood, Betterment, Wealthfront)

  • Problem: Investing is complicated in general. And to the general public, it seems unreachable. There are a lot of horror stories about dipping a toe into the stock market.

  • Solution: People like games. Robinhood gamifies investing by allowing for pre-market and after-market trading, additional buying power, and large instant deposits. Betterment uses AI Robo-advisors and puts a lot of resources behind education to help users do more with their money. Both products make it easy to understand the benefits of investing, what the risks actually look like, and make visualizing the future fun.

Buy now pay later (Affirm, Klarna, Quadpay)

  • Problem: Life is expensive. Debt is real. There's a whole generation that's already buried in debt and having trouble realizing their adult goals.

  • Solution: Like the layaway concept, these digital products enable users to buy an item immediately and pay for it later in biweekly/monthly payments without accruing interest. Klarna is quirky and approachable. Quadpay has a celebrated UX.

3 Strategic Steps to Structuring a Strong Fintech Brand

You’ve got your business model on lock. Investors have signed on, and your numbers are looking good. It’s now or never to craft and refine your digital product into a trusty, buzzworthy brand.

Here’s how to get it done right.

Illustration of a person thinking about how to use data, symbolized by graphs and charts in thought bubbles, and create a strategic position.

STEP 1. Strategize your position

Take a good, hard look at the competitive landscape — especially in your niche.

Are you an eCommerce platform? Buy Now Pay later? Do you handle contactless payments?

Within your area of focus, look at your competition. To beat them out and stand on your own, you need to define your differentiator. Determine your points of parity (where your competition is strong and where you’re weak) and your unique solution. Why will users be psyched to use your product over the competition?

Next, zero in on your target users. Your digital product will gather dust if it’s not attracting the right audience! So do your research and get a solid understanding of your audience’s mindset.

Figure out their pain points and make sure your product does all it can to address them.

As you work on designing your product, user test early and often. Keep coming back to the personas you come up with for your brand. Always keep who you're designing for and why top of mind.

Illustration of a rocket taking off from a notebook surrounded by rulers and pencils indicating a unique story.

STEP 2. Write your brand story

Who are you? Why do you exist? What do you care about?

These aren’t just existential questions to contemplate as you stare at your morning cup of matcha. They’re necessary for defining your brand story. So figure them out with your team — and use them as your guide.

If you haven’t already, establish your brand’s mantra or vision. What are your guiding principles that will ground your team when your digital product (hopefully!) grows?

While you’re at it, don’t forget the emotional factor. People connect to emotion. When you make them feel something — hopeful, safe, seen — they’re easier to hook.

Illustration of how to make a good impression showing a handshake with a checkmark, a hand selecting four out of five stars, and a branded W with a flag.

STEP 3. Establish trust from the get-go through great design

There’s a lot to be said for first impressions. Gaining users on your digital product is no exception. That means your brand’s design is everything.

So, it’s safe to say that it’s well worth your time to perfect your visual identity and UX: logo, colors, illustrative or imagery direction, workflow, points of friction. Make sure every process flows and everything looks cohesive. (Building a robust design system is worth its weight in Bitcoin for this.)

Surprise! Your brand’s design goes well beyond aesthetics. It means your messaging and brand voice, too. That said, establishing your brand voice early on is crucial for gaining trust.

Since finance and tech are both traditionally viewed as complex industries, the combo of both (Fintech) makes some people automatically tune it out. That’s where your brand voice comes in.

Distilling high-level tech and finance concepts into a language that anyone could understand will win you users every time. A fresh, friendly, easy-to-understand voice is a proven winner. (Use animation to help explain how things work to make your product even more approachable and memorable.)

And while establishing trust through visuals and voice is important, sometimes it takes a little more to get people to hit the subscribe button. That’s where social proof comes in. People are much more likely to try something out if someone else does it first (and has a good experience).

This could look like including testimonials on your landing page or giving stats about how many users have downloaded your product. Offer a small incentive like a free month or discount for early-adopters to rate and review your app.

More Helpful Tips to Win Over Your Brand’s Perfect Audience

How do the stickiest products get so...sticky? Besides a lot of user testing and finding out exactly what works with their users, they’re interactive.

Create valuable and compelling content

Your brand can be viewed as a trusted friend if you prove you’re not just robots behind a computer screen hungry for people’s money. Show that you care about their journey by sharing insightful blog posts, podcasts, videos, or other compelling content.

Always Communicate clearly and openly

Another ingredient in the all-important customer trust recipe? Transparency. Let them know they can rely on you by being an active social brand (yep, spending time on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, or Facebook). Answer their questions, concerns, or customer service complaints promptly. And don’t hold out on important news, even if it’s not great.

Foster an active community

Brand loyalty is nonexistent without an enthusiastic brand community behind it. Creating connections with your users — even creating communities for them to join — can be a huge game-changer. YNAB (You Need a Budget) has buzzing Facebook and Reddit communities where people share their wins and losses. How cool is that? You can do it too!

Lead with a well-tested mobile experience

Lastly, we beg you: Spend time working out the kinks on your mobile app. At least 31% of Fintech users prefer mobile-first experiences. If your mobile app isn’t up to snuff, get ready to head to Churn City.

As Fintech products grow, so do users’ options. Earn their trust through your brand and you’re well on your way to winning the great Fintech brand race.

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