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‘Calm and deliberate’: Betterment’s new visual identity

  • The pandemic has changed the way people manage their finances, and with that investing is becoming more about financial stability and less about financial fantasy.
  • Betterment’s new look could help position it as a partner for consumers’ financial journeys, rather than just another investing platform.
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‘Calm and deliberate’: Betterment’s new visual identity

The world of investing has changed over the course of the pandemic. Last year, individual investors were behind 20% of all stock trading – double the number 10 years ago.

The toolkit for investing has gone from having a generous pension, a good 401(k), and a broker to just owning a smartphone. And the goal of investing seems to have gone from ‘get rich’ to ‘get financially stable’.

In light of the growing number of investors, the robo-advisory market is likewise expected to grow at a CAGR of 54% from 2018 to 2023, according to a market report by Kenneth Research. Global robo-advisor revenue is expected to reach $74 billion by 2023.

With over 700,000 users, Betterment is still one of the biggest robo-advisors, but competition is growing. And as the world of investing changes, so does the look and feel of investing apps.

Betterment is adjusting accordingly. With its new look, the company aims to juxtapose wealth with wellbeing. 

When Betterment started out in 2010, it was one of the first robo-advisors around. Its logo reflected its specific role within investing – a speedometer that represented a stock-and-bond-allocation. A few years later, as Betterment started to grow, it made the logo more abstract, keeping the shape of a speedometer but getting rid of the focus on numbers. This was to make it feel less about the numbers and more about the app’s role in improving consumers’ financial health.

Now, Betterment has gone a step further by getting rid of the speedometer altogether and replacing it with what it calls ‘the sunrise’. The rising sun is still the same shape as the speedometer but instead reflects a broader idea, alluding to financial wellbeing.

betterment new branding
Source: Betterment

In addition to the new logo, Betterment is going for a more serene color pallette that gives a sense of a meditation app rather than a gamified investing platform. 

Betterment’s chief marketing officer Kim Rosenblum says this is intentional. It helps the company steer away from the FOMO-molded look investing apps often have. 

The new look, she says, has more of an anti-FOMO feel.

“You don’t have to feel like you’re missing out, you don’t have to worry that there’s a trend or a moment to jump on. It’s not about timing the market, it’s about time in the market. And so the branding really is meant to reinforce that, and give you a sense [that’s] calm and deliberate so you can make good long-term decisions,” she said.

In addition to the new colors, there is a new tone within the user interface. Whenever a user logs on, she receives a welcome message matching the time of day. A simple Good morning, Jack or Good evening, Jill can help create a sense of comradery, says Rosenblum. That, in turn, makes Betterment feel more like a partner than an ad dispenser for investing options.

“It’s like saying, we’re here with you along this journey, [rather than] yelling at you and saying, ‘do this, do that.’”

The new look comes as Betterment continues to steer its focus towards more personalized content and investing. Its socially responsible investing options, for example, allow consumers to invest in companies that align with specific values. One option is ‘climate impact,’ which lets consumers invest in companies that lower carbon emissions. Another is ‘social impact,’ which lets consumers invest with companies that support minority empowerment and gender diversity.

“We want to help people understand [that they can have] both something that’s managed on their behalf, but also is connected to their values,” said Rosenblum.  

betterment new welcome screen
Source: Betterment

Betterment’s rebranding also comes just after a marketing campaign Betterment did starring renowned actor Maggie Siff. Siff plays in-house coach Wendy Rhoades on the hit series Billions, which tells the story of Bobby Axelrod, a hedge fund manager who uses aggressive tactics to grow wealth and power. Siff’s character plays an integral role throughout the show in keeping Axelrod on the path to success. 

The ad is essentially a collection of black-and-white shots of Siff speaking directly to the camera as she seems to embody her role as Wendy Rhoades. “Hello investor, the law of averages promises everything evens out in the end. That’s not true, and that’s not you,” is how one video begins.

In terms of what’s next for Betterment, Rosenblum wants upcoming content to match the mission of personalization. 

“One of the things we aspire to do in 2022 is provide even more advice and more content and meet the demands for what people want to know,” she said.

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