Updated: Oct 11
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In today’s episode, Araminta’s speaking to Romney Taylor, VP of Marketing at Habito. Romney’s been with Habito for nearly 4 years and his current role spans advertising, brand strategy, CRM, growth, partnerships, product marketing and more.
Habito is a UK-based online mortgage broker. But it’s not just any mortgage broker: they’re user-friendly, tech-savvy and are a B corp. Since 2015, they’ve received over £63M in total funding, sorted £4 bn worth of mortgages and have over 4000 excellent client ratings on Trustpilot.
Why is Habito hyper-focussed on customer-centricity, what are some of the best practices for doing customer research, and how important are human emotions to the success of Habito’s branding efforts? To find out the answers, listen to the show and check out the summary notes below.
Before working for Habito, you were working for a highly successful management consulting company, Albion. Working with some of the top brands including Giffgaff, Skype, Zoopla, Zopa (which I am a huge fan of) and King, helping transform their brands. What’s one thing you learnt during your work there, that you didn’t expect?
So, I spent almost seven years at Albion and as you said, I had a very, very broad set of clients that I worked within a consulting role. And it was obviously amazing to get exposure to all of those businesses at a young age. I mean, the thing I learned in my consulting role as a kind of on the agency side, was just how much a founder’s personality comes through the startup’s brand. I kind of got to know that a startup’s brand in the first few years of its existence is very much a reflection of the founder’s personality and an expression of the mission of that business.
So, you mentioned a couple of businesses that I worked with, you know, Zoopla was founded by Alex Chesterman. His personality is really strong and has shown through the brand in the early years. Similarly, I worked on the Wonga business when it was still a young business, and Errol Damelin again a very instrumental and inspirational founder of Wonga. I think that helped me when I joined Habito. It was still a young business to understand that in those early years, it's really about harnessing the founder’s energy and ambition and personality and channeling that through the brand. So, Dan, the founder of Habito, really embodied that for me, and I needed to learn how to channel that for the first couple of years until the brand could establish its own personality. So that was one of the best lessons I learned while I was at Albion, and had that sort of broad exposure to different businesses.
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Habito is a B Corp. organisation. Can you share what was your approach with this? And you personally, what is the initiative that you're most excited about?
Becoming a B Corp was a long journey at Habito. I think it took us about a year and guy called Gareth, our Chief Impact Officer., led the effort on Be corp. I sit on Habito’s impact committee. So, I'm pretty close to the work that we do. For being a B Corp. means that we put people and planet on the same level as profit. And I feel very privileged to work in a business that has that attitude.
I think if businesses can be a force for good in the communities that they exist, and then it just makes working there a much more pleasant thing.
It does flow through everything that we do. And I think there's a real direct connection between hammertoes mission of helping people find home and the impact that we can have as a business because the residential housing market in the UK is one of the areas where historically, we've not been great at cutting emissions. I think housing is responsible for about 25% of the UK emissions. That's because the housing stock is so old and Victorian housing is so inefficient, and there's no double glazing. We try to tie it as close to what we do as a business. And one of the things that we are looking at doing is how we can make homes more sustainable and home heating being one of the biggest issues that we can tackle.
You touched on some of the other things that we're doing around financial literacy. We worked with an organisation called Fair Finance, to ensure that our mortgage terms and conditions were certified by them as jargon-free. So, it's not something that we just say, but we make sure that we have the accreditation, and we take that very, very seriously. Thus, in terms of standing out as a business as well, and giving customers something different to choose when they're kind of researching how and where they should do their mortgage.
Being a B Corp, I think it's something that resonates with a larger and I guess an increasingly large proportion of our customer base as well.