Tearsheet’s Acquire Awards are the financial industry’s top awards program focused on marketing, customer acquisition, and growth. This generation’s financial services and fintech companies are deeply focused on achieving scale, one customer at a time. The Acquire Awards are intended to identify and celebrate the best customer-facing work in financial services.
This year’s award winners featured exceptional marketing campaigns, creative designs, and top talent. The award winners were announced at the end of Tearsheet’s Acquire Conference, held Thursday, February 18th.
The Acquired Awards are sponsored by Burgopak. Top financial brands are strategically using packaging as part of the customer experience. Packaging design firm Burgopak has literally written a book on the art and science of fintech packaging. Welcome to the Club: Packaging Design for Neobanks & Fintechs is available for download here.
The 2021 Acquire Awards winners
Campaign of the Year: Truist’s Live United campaign
Working alongside National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman, Truist and United Way delivered a message of hope and unity amid a summer of uncertainty and unrest. While the country was struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic and facing a historic moment for civil rights, Truist and United Way partnered with Amanda Gorman to spread a message of solidarity and hope.
Her poem “Live United” served as a call-to-arms, challenging people all over
the country to come together for the greater good. The message broke from the melancholic and reactionary work flooding the market and inspired the country to take action.
Marketing Team of the Year: Step
The challenger bank Step is turning into a Gen Z marketing powerhouse with a small but mighty team. The firm wants to change the world of teen and family banking to make it more modern, accessible, educational and customer-centric. Four months after launching, Step already has over one million users on its platform. The exponential growth is a result of product market fit and an innovative marketing strategy.
Instead of typical paid marketing, Step leverages content creators to engage teens on popular platforms like Instagram and TikTok. Teens actively post about their favorite Step card features and ask personal finance questions. Step also has a referral program that’s helping to spread the word.
Marketer of the Year: Current’s Adam Hadi
As the challenger bank’s head of marketing, Adam Hadi brings a lot of experience in leveraging influencers to reach a Gen Z audience. Since Hadi joined Current in 2019, the challenger bank now has 2 million users. The challenger bank is fresh off a $131 million Series C fundraise, using influencers as a cornerstone strategy that touches nearly every aspect of marketing, including acquisition, brand and content.
Adam always believed working with influencers was about enabling great content, for mutually beneficial partnerships, and that building relevancy and trust was critical for all brands, but especially in financial services and for Current’s Gen Z members.
Agency of the Year: StrawberryFrog
The agency describes itself as the world’s first Movement Thinking company, working with clients to develop their sense of purpose in the market. StrawberryFrog has partnered with the purpose-driven leadership at Truist Financial. When Covid hit, the agency worked with its client to pivot its strategy in promoting the new brand name of the combined BB&T and SunTrust entity — now the sixth largest bank in the U.S.
The agency worked initially on Truist Cares, a campaign focused on the bank’s work helping out some of the hard-hit communities it serves. StrawberryFrog and Truist combined on the Live United campaign (this year’s Campaign of the Year) which featured National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman delivering a message of solidarity and hope.
Best Customer Unboxing Experience: Studio Blyss’ Credit Suisse Client Experience Toolbox
Zurich-based Studio Blyss developed a multi-part Client Experience Toolbox for Credit Suisse Private Banking and International Wealth Management, which provides Relationship Managers with materials that build, nurture and intensify their relationship with existing and potential clients.
All materials were developed, designed and produced in really high quality – without compromise. As digitalization grows, tactile and physical experiences become more important than ever. Studio Blyss has a focus on Private Banking, where creating unique experiences is even more important and can’t be achieved fully in digital channels.
Best Product Marketing: Shopify Capital
The e-commerce platform solves
complex financial problems for its merchants, including helping them access funding through Shopify Capital.
Shopify Capital is an alternative funding solution that helps businesses respond to the economic effects of the pandemic and build resilience into their operations. In response to COVID-19, Shopify Capital made an additional $200
million in funding available to merchants and expanded to the U.K. and Canada to offer funding to more merchants outside the U.S.
Shopify Capital helps entrepreneurs get the funds they need to grow their businesses. Shopify used case studies with merchants on its platform that highlighted the challenges and opportunities faced by small businesses through this period, providing inspiring stories of SMBs that were making it.
Most Creative Campaign: Varo’s A Bank for All of Us campaign
After receiving the first U.S. national bank charter issued to a fintech, Varo embarked on its first integrated brand campaign, after primarily investing in organic word-of-mouth, radio, and social media last year. The campaign includes Varo’s first broadcast TV ads that aired in select markets during this year’s Super Bowl.
The campaign is anchored in the company’s purpose and ambition: financial opportunity and inclusion for all. The launch phase of the campaign reimagines money and puts modern American consumers at the very core. The campaign highlights the diversity found in communities and features a range of American faces – front and center – on a reimagined $20 bill. The campaign signals Varo’s support for a renewed push to put Harriet Tubman on the face of the $20. The campaign will also see the launch of a Varo Dollar AR filter that allows users to put their own face on the $20 bill.
Best Content Series (B2B): Nuveen’s Income campaign
TIAA’s asset management arm expanded its income focused thought leadership offerings to support client needs in 2020 and 2021.
As part of its Income campaign, Nuveen built on its existing income content series and introduced a more focused thought leadership offering that helps refine Nuveen’s income story to be inclusive of all income-oriented capabilities it offers in both the private and
public markets. The income thought leadership offering began with a strategy of focusing more closely on enhancing the firm’s client engagement with institutional investors in the U.S. as the best choice for income solutions across portfolios of all types.
Best Content Series (B2C): Ally’s The Bright Side featuring Katie Couric
At a time the country was hurting deeply, Ally put together a content series featuring stories of helpers and healers doing good. Ally teamed up with Katie Couric to bring an uplifting content series called “The Bright Side” to spread a little hope and joy to Americans when they needed it most. This series aimed to share the stories of the heroes, the helpers and the people who made COVID & 2020 a little better, at a time when everyone could have used a little taste of the bright side.
Ally created a content series consisting of four videos featuring stories of the helpers and healers doing good in their communities. The stories showcased the best of humanity – wedding surprises, teachers lifting up their community, a service dog handing out medical supplies and a non-profit setting up handwashing stations for the homeless.