Marketing briefing: How do you market to a business/consumer hybrid?
- The gig economy is heating up. Meanwhile, corporate spend management tools continue to grow in popularity.
- All this to say, the line between consumer and business is blurring. How does a brand express that blur?
As the freelancer and gig economy continues to heat up, a new segment is emerging – a sort of cross between consumer and business: Bus-umer, if you will – an especially appropriate title for freelance bus drivers, by the way.
But I digress.
The main point is this: how do you market a product that’s part consumer-focused, part business-focused?
We sort of tackled this problem a couple of briefings ago when we looked at Lumanu, a fintech focused on Gen Z creators. Lumanu’s brand image is all about individuality, despite offering services surrounding business-related finances.
And this week we’re talking about Catch.
Founded in 2017, Catch aims to catch (heh heh) the attention of gig economy workers. Its app automatically sets aside portions of users’ income towards retirement and medical insurance.
Off the bat, the company knew it wanted a lighter look. According to CEO and co-founder Kristen Anderson, a lot of financial apps have this sort of heavy masculine tone. Catch wanted to steer away from that.
“Our lead designer in the very early days came from Care.com. [She was able to give the brand] a much more feminine touch, which I think was very helpful in getting early customers to trust us,” said Anderson. “Our customers are people who in general are not passionate about financial services, but rather their careers.”
Even though their existing brand had been working for them, Anderson said that in the last year or so, as consumers have been spending more time online because of the pandemic, companies all over (including Catch) have been making steps to bolster their digital branding initiatives.
“For the first time ever, brands are starting to acknowledge that the constraints of physical branding don't have to be applied to a brand identity,” said Anderson. “(...) A lot of brands leading with crypto and Web3 started to create visual aesthetics that could exist outside of the real world.”
A new color scheme
Anderson describes Catch’s early color scheme as being ‘very muted.’ One of the changes it’s made though is choosing stronger colors that better reflect boldness and brightness – traits that can be associated with their core customer base.
“We wanted to go for a palette that felt bold and competent, just like our customers,” said Andersson.
One significant change Catch has made is incorporating 3D elements into its branding. Andersson points out that 3D gives this sort of futuristic air that lives outside the world we know first-hand.
That sentiment acts in parallel with what Catch is trying to do – as Andersson puts it ‘uncoupling benefits from employers.’
This change spoke to the company’s mission to enter a new world that goes past the system that’s implemented today.
“It’s a system that's been entrenched in the US for the last 75 to 100 years, where employers give benefits and it’s this one-on-one arrangement. But that's just not how people work anymore,” said Andersson. “They have multiple income streams, they have variability in how and when they receive income, and there's this passion element of pursuing the things that they want to spend time on. And so we wanted to bring in that optimism and possibility by making our brand three-dimensional.”
Catch’s logo includes a jetpack. Andersson sums it up this way: The jetpack is like a rocketship but personal.
In that way, the logo sort of speaks to the freelancer mission of being employed by no one but oneself.
But getting those jetpacks right in 3D was tricky.
“We didn't want something that looked too much like a toy. We wanted it to look serious, but not scary. We wanted it to have a little bit of intrigue but not to feel malicious, so that there's strength but not negativity,” said Andersson. “So I think the jetpack was another thing that we really just spent a lot of time on testing out different iterations to get the right amount of detail.”
On Catch’s brand going forward
In terms of what Catch has planned for its brand image going forward, Andersson mentions that there are really two main methods to rebranding. One is the ‘that was the old us, this is the new us,’ sort of method, and the other method involves making small changes overtime and undergoing more of an evolution type of method. The latter is the form of rebranding Catch most identifies with.
“Apple, let’s say, hasn’t really gone through a formal rebrand, but if you look at Apple in the 80s and Apple now it's obviously a different brand. What it does is make small changes regularly, tweaking the brand just a little bit every couple of months, or every year. So there isn’t this huge unveiling of a completely different brand,” said Andersson.
“And now that we feel we've got our home brand in place, we're excited about this idea that a brand is a living and breathing thing. And we're constantly going to evolve to better serve our customers and ways that speak to them.”
Three questions with Christine Cuoco, new head of marketing at Rho
Rho, a corporate spend and cash management startup, recently hired marketing veteran Christine Cuoco as its new vp and head of marketing.
Cuoco comes with experience building brands in major companies, including Amex, LinkedIn and Twitter, and that gives her a unique perspective on things.
Right now, the corporate spend industry is growing, and standing out from the crowd is crucial for success. B2B companies can’t be faceless anymore. That’s where Cuoco comes in.
In this Q&A, Cuoco discusses her thoughts on the importance of social media in building a brand image – even for B2B brands, challenges she anticipates going forward, and what’s next for the Rho brand.
Would you say your experience working at social media firms gives you a unique perspective on building a fintech's brand? What are some interesting parallels and differences you notice?
As a marketer who worked at Twitter and LinkedIn, I’ve had a front-row seat to how social media platforms have evolved as marketing channels over the years, both as a result of technological advancements, but also cultural and societal shifts in what resonates with different audiences. Especially in recent years, brands have been pushed to think more creatively about how they engage with customers and how each social channel calls for a different kind of content. What’s been most interesting is to see brands that 5 to 10 years ago would never have considered using social (e.g. B2B brands like Rho) embrace the channels in new and exciting ways.
With people living and sharing almost every aspect of their lives online, whether it’s thoughts about the day’s news on Twitter, or highlighting career achievements on LinkedIn, or even giving a tutorial on expense management on TikTok, there’s an increased connection between social media and finance, and especially fintech.
While we’re a B2B enterprise company – and many think of social media as a B2C arena – the fact that we seek to elevate our customers as storytellers translates organically into stories that resonate on social platforms. I’ve found this is a refreshing way to approach finance and enterprise and am excited to bring this thinking to Rho.
Also, at Rho we focus on areas like expense management that touch the lives of practically everyone who works, so there are ample opportunities to be creative and show a very human side of the industry.
What are your plans with the brand going forward? What are some new strategies you're considering?
Our company name, Rho, is a Greek letter signifying the change in the price of an option when interest rates change. For us, it's a metaphor for how we improve the trajectory of our clients’ businesses and increase the efficiency of their teams.
We’re a customer-driven company and want to showcase our incredibly diverse and growing list of high-performing customers that have transformed their financial operations by using Rho. Our platform has contributed directly to the elimination of inefficiencies and has set organizations up for success as they’re scaling and growing.
Do you anticipate any challenges along the way?
This is unquestionably an interesting and growing category, and it will be important to differentiate Rho within the space. I’m looking forward to being more and more creative with how we’re approaching our marketing strategy, as it’s certainly not as straightforward as how one might approach marketing a consumer-facing brand. I strongly believe in marketing to the people behind the job title, versus limiting our thinking and approach to what can sometimes be faceless B2B marketing.
What we’re reading
Truist buys fintech startup Long Game to appeal to younger consumers. (TechCrunch)
Marketing strategies for the financial industry (Forbes)
Goldman Sachs’ plans for Marcus (The Financial Brand)
The Confederation of British Industry is launching a campaign to get non-financial firms to explore fintech (Mobile Marketing Magazine)
Concerto’s new co-branded credit card program (TechCrunch)
What’s impacting banks’ marketing strategies? (The Financial Brand)