Updated: Nov 7
UK fintech's new kid on the block, Communion, grabbed headlines with its "two fingers up" launch campaign led by Uncommon. We reached out to Romney Taylor who's part of the company's founding team and ex-Habito to find out more about the campaign and Communion's overall GTM strategy.
In August 2023, Habito's ex-CEO Daniel Hegarty and team launched Communion - the newest player in the UK's fintech arena, born out of a pressing concern for financial wellness among young adults. In a telling revelation by its own research, Communion identified a pervasive sense of money anxiety among 18 to 40-year-olds, with a staggering 94% experiencing financial stress and a quarter worrying about money daily. Following a successful £2.5 million Pre-seed funding round led by notable investors like Target Global and several angel investors, the fintech is now on a mission to mend the fractured relationship many have with their finances.
As Communion's journey unfolds, the team, leveraging their prior successful partnership with creative agency Uncommon, has crafted an expressive and bold brand identity to captivate the young, creative minds they see as their ideal customer base. From navigating the challenges of a financial product launch to making a mark with their distinctive branding, the following Q&A with its marketing lead Romney Taylor sheds light on the strategies that have propelled Communion into the spotlight. With a clear focus on customer acquisition, retention, and the continuous iteration of their app based on user feedback, the company is rapidly moving towards establishing its place in the daily lives of its users, far beyond the confines of traditional savings apps.
Read Romney's complete Q&A below.
What is Communion? What does the brand stand for? And what differentiates Communion from the other saving apps on the market?
I describe Communion as a financial wellbeing app, but I don’t think that does the brand or the product justice.
We built Communion because people don't save enough and everyone’s anxious about money. The research we did around this was pretty scary: 40% of people in the UK don't have enough money saved to cover one month of living expenses.
There are dozens of saving apps and thousands of money gurus out there, and yet the problems remain. We believe we're designing a new category rather than trying to steal market share from them.
Communion is different in that:
We've created a unique saving ritual using behavioural science to embed powerful long-term money habits that make saving as addictive as spending
We provide our members with unlimited access to Communion’s team of Money Guides to answer any money-related questions
We also offer market-leading returns of up to 6.84% AER by giving our members ways to boost their interest rate and unlock bonus rewards as they save
For the brand launch you partnered with Uncommon and opted for a rather expressive and bold brand identity and messaging. What made you decide to take that approach?
Communion’s Founder Dan, Izzy and I worked with Uncommon for 5 years while at Habito and we created some incredibly effective work for that business. A lot of mutual respect and trust was forged over that time (and we had some good arguments) so we were incredibly lucky to partner with them and build the Communion brand from the ground up.
We went into the engagement with the ambition to be bold and break category norms: no lens flare, no mention of “rainy days”. Their strategic and creative support helped us bring an extraordinary brand world to life, integrated across Communion’s narrative, design and product, and centred very much around our audience.
For launch, we identified young creative people as our ideal customer profile. Building hype and getting widespread press and social media coverage around the brand was one of the ways we planned to reach them.
Did you face any challenges implementing the launch strategy? What reactions have you seen so far?
Before the more public press launch, my first job was to acquire a group of several hundred real customers who could scare up bugs and set conversion and engagement baselines.
One of the reasons building a financial product is difficult is that there’s only so much testing you can do in a staging environment. When people started downloading the app and going through ID verification and bank account connection we saw all of the quirks and edge cases. So there was a lot of hands-on customer support and frantic bug squashing.
We were more confident in the version of the app that we included in our launch materials and this allowed us to secure some phenomenal media coverage. Our launch was mostly very well received, with significant critical acclaim… as well as winning Campaign’s Turkey of the Week, which is no bad thing!
We now have the challenge of sustaining momentum, finding product-market and product-channel fit, and building out our growth engine. At the moment this consists of launching loads of experiments, which is really fun!
Level up your marketing mojo! Subscribe to the Fintech Marketing News Digest and join our growing community of fintech marketers.
Besides branding, what other tactics have you included in your GTM strategy? What are your current marketing priorities?
Our go to market strategy is to get our product into the hands of enough people in our target audience so that we can test the hypotheses that we built it on.
So we need to find where our customers hang out, pique their interest enough to get them to download the app, observe their behaviour, get feedback, iterate and repeat.
Once we have a sense that Communion is solving their problems in a way that is remarkable, we’ll shift our focus to growing our user base at a higher rate.
Tactically, we’re experimenting with:
Paid social ads: while remaining wary of getting addicted to Meta and TikTok and their inevitable rising CAC. Rather, we’re using paid social to increase awareness, test messaging, and acquire enough users to measure the network effects of our product.
Influencers: and organic content to grow a social following and provide our users with entertaining content in our app.
Referrals: by incentivising our members to invite friends to boost their interest rate. Getting our k-factor greater than 1 is the aim here. Virality is obviously the best way to grow!
What’s the key to creating a successful fintech marketing campaign?
Financial services are relatively considered purchases, so fintech marketing campaigns need to work harder.
When I was VP of Marketing at Habito we learned that people don’t want to engage with mortgages until they absolutely have to: either when they’re seriously looking to buy a house or when they’re around 3 months from the end of their current mortgage deal. We needed them to be aware of Habito and to remember us when they were in those moments. So our campaigns were optimised to be jaw-dropping and sear Habito into people’s brains. We were hugely successful in doing so.
Another way to be successful is to play a role in people’s lives outside of the product use case. This was the thinking behind our sponsorship of Skateboard GB which was spearheaded by our CMO Abba. Skateboarding was hugely popular in the 90s and is seeing a massive resurgence in the UK. There are loads of parents getting back into it and teaching their kids to skate. It was a really good audience and brand fit for us, and allowed us to have a physical presence across the country at skateboarding events.
What’s next for Communion?
We’re 6 weeks post-launch [at the time of the Q&A] so there’s a ton of hygiene stuff we just need to get on with. Our main focus is acquiring more customers and speaking to as many of them as we can. We’re interested in Day 1 and Week 1 retention, and have dozens and dozens of optimisations underway.
Our near-term roadmap has a few key features that are launching soon:
Personalisation: Providing an analysis of members’ income and expenditure so that we can recommend a monthly saving target that will help them build a F.U.nd - a financial buffer against the world and the amount of money that means they can tell whatever or whoever is holding them back to f*** off
Tortoise Mode: Most new savers set ambitious goals, miss them and then quit. Tortoise Mode - our proprietary autosaving tool - allows the user to increase their saving rate incrementally over time so that they stick with it and form a strong habit.
Multi-player rituals: Think BeReal crossed with a Sunday Mass. A 5-minute weekly live-stream where members save together and those present have the opportunity to win very meaningful interest bonuses.