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Marketing for good with fintech Cleo

Updated: Apr 14, 2021

The Covid-19 pandemic is probably one of the hardest times most marketers have faced so far. But, every crisis lies an opportunity and the Covid downturn is no different.

The current situation presents a unique opportunity for fintech startups and scaleups to compete against the incumbents and their more established rivals for exposure and market share. However, how can fintech marketers take advantage of this opportunity without damaging their brand’s reputation? The answer is: by providing “value” or doing “marketing for good”.

In this article, we speak to Henry Ottewill, Marketing Manager at the London-based fintech Cleo, and discuss how a fintech can strengthen its market position by taking a value-driven approach to marketing during the crisis and focusing on doing good.

Random Acts of Relief by Cleo
Image source: Cleo
We believe we are in the midst of a financial crisis. Now more than ever, people need help managing their finances and staying hopeful about the future. Henry Ottewill, Marketing Manager at Cleo

Amidst the pandemic, the AI-powered financial assistant Cleo discovered that more than 93% of their users needed financial support and they decided to act. Thus, they introduced “Random Acts of Relief” - a campaign aimed at supporting those hit hard financially by Covid-19 by redistributing collective gifts of $250 from those who want to help to those who need it most.

"Right now, we’re in a crisis. Millennials have been disproportionately affected by Covid-19 and are now two times as likely to experience redundancy and unemployment compared to older generations - they are slipping through the net when it comes to financial support. In mid-June, it was estimated that around 35 million Americans hadn’t received their stimulus check. So, Cleo has stepped up to launch Random Acts of Relief – a feature giving its community the ability to give financial support to those hit hardest by Covid-19 and fast." said Ottewill.

Value is key

Empathy, authenticity and relevancy are critical in crisis marketing. According to a recent market research by Edelman, 84% of consumers said that they would appreciate marketing focused on how companies are helping people cope with the pandemic’s consequences, and wanted brands to be a reliable source of information.

But, how can brands stay relevant, authentic and empathetic without jeopardising their image? In the current fast-changing consumer environment, taking the right actions and finding the right messages can be extremely difficult. And crossing the fine line between ‘opportunity and opportunism’ carries additional risk.

The only way is to listen and stay connected. With consumers constantly shifting behaviours and sentiment in unpredictable patterns, only brands that seek and listen to their clients’ feedback will be able to identify the right way to provide real value.

Cleo’s “Random Acts of Relief” is the perfect example. By remaining in constant contact with their customers, the company was able to recognise their customers’ changing needs and provide the most relevant solution.

“We recognise our customers’ concerns and needs have changed dramatically over the past few months. To stay current, we’re reaching out to them on a weekly basis across in-app, emails and social. We have been using our platform to educate our community around topics that aren’t related to Cleo. How they can make money from lockdown, how they can vote to make a structural change, or even just some light relief to get people through the week.” said Ottewill.

How does “Random Acts of Relief” work?

Ottewill explained that the campaign targets two key audiences - those wanting to give support and those looking to receive help. The givers are able to contribute anything from $5 upwards, which is pooled into $250 gifts and then distributed as one gift later that week.

So far, nearly 2000 users have pledged their support with over $40,000 being re-distributed. Those receiving the gifts are usually people who have experienced an income shock with no savings to fall back on – information that Cleo managed to detect through their AI.

One of the campaign’s key outreach channels has been social media, where the company continues to raise money for redistribution through weekly competitions.

An interesting fact about the campaign is that the first group of staff to start working on “Random Acts of Relief” were actually employees who volunteered to build the tooling outside of their day-to-day work.

“It was incredibly humbling to see the hard work everyone put in to make sure those who needed help were receiving it.” Henry Ottewill, Marketing Manager at Cleo


About Henry Ottewill: Henry Ottewill is a Marketing Manager at the London-based fintech startup Cleo, where he's on a mission to change the way people think about fintech products. With experience in social media and content marketing, he is helping build a fintech brand for the modern millennial.


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