Updated: Sep 8, 2020
sync., a London-based open banking fintech start-up, has now officially launched its pilot app to early access users across Europe after completing a £5.5m seed and pre-seed funding round earlier this year. A key aspect of sync’s launch strategy was developing a distinct and powerful brand identity. To find out why branding has played such an important role in sync’s initial launch strategy, we spoke to Lisa Preece, PR & Communications Manager at sync.
Our brand helps us stand out. We always wanted to have a strong style right from the product launch, rather than developing it over time. We want consumers to want our product as soon as they see the packaging, the card and the app. Lisa Preece, PR & Communications Manager at sync.
The new fintech uniform
As the fintech sector matures, it’s becoming harder than ever for new market entrants to differentiate and attract customers’ attention. Although fintechs have generally been associated with disruption and innovation following up on the success of early pioneers like Monzo, Revolut and N26, we haven’t seen much novelty in their branding efforts lately. In an effort to blend in and gain consumer trust, most new fintechs have been playing it safe, following the current trends set by their more established peers instead of pursuing new, bold and “out-of-the-box” ideas and approaches.
Enigmatic names, minimalist designs, flat illustrations and pastel-led colours…Sounds familiar? This seems to be the new uniform in fintech. People like comfort, so it’s no surprise why new fintechs opt in for uniformity rather than originality. Just like in the good old days of traditional finance, where heritage symbols and conservative, authoritative colours like red and blue were shaping the industry.
But following the crowd may turn out to be even riskier than being bold and unconventional. With so much competition and ever-increasing demand for innovation, the only way for fintechs to cut through the noise is actually building a unique and prominent brand identity.
sync. - a breath of fresh air
A great example of a fintech newcomer with a distinct and original branding is the London-based open banking solution sync. sync. is an exciting new smart financial service that combines a host of useful features into one beautifully-designed app. At the centre of its product offering lies an all-in-one hub that allows customers to open a sync. account in minutes, use open banking, and hold and transfer different currencies at affordable rates.
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After securing a £5.5m seed and pre-seed funding, sync. launched its pilot app to early users across Europe at the beginning of August. To convey the idea of its uniqueness and make a real statement, sync. decided to go for a rather bold and unusual brand identity. With a background in product design, sync’s CEO Ricky Lee recognised the importance of having a powerful brand right from the start.
“Our CEO, Ricky Lee, has a background in product design - he was the original product designer at Revolut - so the look and feel of the brand has always been at the forefront when developing the product.
As the challenger bank landscape is so competitive, our brand helps us stand out. We always wanted to have a strong style right from the product launch, rather than developing it over time. We want consumers to want our product as soon as they see the packaging, the card and the app.” Lisa Preece, PR & Communications Manager at sync.
So, instead of using “trendy” pastels and flat illustrations, sync. has used an original and bold combination of fluorescent green (“fluo”) and black along with real-life, people-related imagery. To learn more about its branding journey and concept, you can check out the company’s Instagram feed where it goes into much detail about sync.’s chosen brand assets.
Another key element of sync’s brand identity is its card design. Physical cards are probably one of the most important marketing tools for banking fintechs. They provide a great opportunity for experiential and referral marketing. A distinct card packaging and design can create a unique customer experience that (if positive) can get people sharing and go viral.
To take advantage of this opportunity, sync. decided to create an innovative new look for the sync. X card. Similar to Starling Bank, sync. flipped its card around, but it took a step further by hiding the magnetic stripe and removing the CVC number. In addition, all its card packaging is recyclable and it has been working hard to make its cards out of recycled PVC.
Thus, sync. has taken an organic approach to its launch marketing strategy with a major focus on branding that seems to be delivering some great results and build momentum.
“The key hook of our product is that users can manage their entire financial life in sync. Users can monitor all their bank accounts using Open Banking, hold and transfer money in multiple currencies, and use the sync. X debit card for all their spending, all over the world. We hope that this, combined with the simple customer experience and strong branding, will make customers want to use sync. to manage their money.” Lisa Preece, PR & Communications Manager at sync.
Lisa also adds,
“Our marketing plan has been developed to reflect the growth needs of the app. From a development perspective, steady organic growth will allow us to test the app and fix any bugs as they appear.”
About Lisa Preece: Lisa Preece is the PR & Communications Manager at sync., developing the fintech’s Marketing and Communication strategy. She has more than five years of in-house PR experience in the finance, property, travel and medical sectors. She originally trained as a journalist at the University of Sheffield.
Connect with Lisa on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/lisapreece/.