tickr – a UK impact investment app – has rebranded its product during a pandemic to better reflect its philanthropic aims and vision for the future. We interviewed Tom McGillycuddy, co-founder of tickr, to understand the company’s decision.
Rebranding and redesigning products post-launch can prove to be an immense challenge. It takes careful planning and typically reflects a fundamental shift in a company’s aims, philosophy, or identity. tickr, which describes itself as “an impact platform that lets you invest in companies making a positive impact, and offset your carbon footprint”, has done just that.
tickr has raised more than $6 mln and has amassed more than one hundred thousand users since its launch in January 2019. It launched as an investing app, but Tom McGillycuddy, co-founder, tells us they want to expand and be known more generally as an impact platform:
“[W]e want to be known as … [t]he single most convenient place where people go to positively impact the world through their finances. Investing is just where we've started. The brand, the look and feel of the app, the product etc. all needed to change to represent this vision.”
What’s changed? tickr's new product offerings
tickr used to provide users with three impact-themed portfolios to invest in or allowed them to choose a combination of the three: ‘Climate Change’, ‘Equality’ and ‘Disruptive Technology’. The company has now diluted this into two impact-themed portfolios – ‘People’ and ‘Planet’ – but still offers the combination option.
The previous categories titled ‘Equality’ and ‘Disruptive Technology’ merged into one more comprehensive category: ‘People’. tickr describes the companies in this category as “improving access to education and driving innovation in healthcare and cybersecurity.” ‘Planet’, on the other hand, spotlights companies “focusing on renewable energy, and access to clean water and sustainable food.”
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The exchange-traded funds and bonds do not seem to have changed drastically. However, by simplifying the process of investment even further tickr gives itself space to expand into other initiatives. For example, its ‘Round it Up’ offering, which rounds up the spare change on your transactions to the nearest pound to maximise your investments, and its carbon offsetting subscription that allows you to contribute monthly to climate protection projects.
The company's recent rebranding suggests it is looking to launch even more features and services in the near future. When asked about the future of the company Tom McGillycuddy said:
“For us, the story of tickr has hardly begun. Set against the long-term goals that we have; the immediate term will see us build out the product to encompass more features and services that empower our customers to have more of a positive impact on the world. We will do this while expanding the team and launching internationally in 2021 and beyond.”
tick's brand promise: Positive impact, accessibility and inclusion
The aesthetic shift from abstract geometric shapes to more clearly representative graphics marks a move away from the individualistic investment angle of the product and towards a clearer philanthropic ethos, setting it apart from competitors. tickr isn’t just an investment app and its rebranding ensures customers are aware of the overarching vision of the company and its founders at all times.
In Tom McGillycuddy’s words, “having a positive impact is in our DNA as a business. It's embedded into every product decision we make, every marketing campaign we run, and it's integral to every person in the team.”
“We are working on a future where product usage, revenue and impact are all perfectly aligned. So that when we bring out a new product or feature and it's adopted by our customers, they do good for themselves and for everyone else, and we have more impact. Through doing this consistently over time, we can help chart the future of business, combining impact with a sustainable business model, showing that you can earn money and have a positive impact simultaneously.”
The company also traded its vibrant visuals for a more toned down and serious aesthetic in what seems to be an effort to expand its customer base beyond younger and first-time investors (the average age of the app user is 31). If tickr’s app proves attractive to older more serious patrons, it may see its customers investing larger sums of money, which would make a substantive difference in its business model.
However, the company remains dedicated to ensuring investing is accessible and inclusive on its platform:
“Many industries, especially the financial services industry, have been designed to confuse, and it really doesn't need to be this way. By taking away these barriers, speaking in normal English and making products straightforward and engaging to use, we can empower our customers to take charge of their financial future, doing so in a way that's good for everyone else too.”
The product’s rebranding threads the line between accessibility and reliability. It seems to want to be fun and serious at the same time. That being said, the people it includes in its marketing campaigns are still relatively young: its website mostly features people in their late twenties and early thirties. This isn’t a radical shift in their target customer base but a more subtle nod towards tech-savvy individuals who may happen to be of a different generation.
How has the pandemic affected tickr’s decision to rebrand?
Making big decisions during a crisis is always risky but it can also present companies with incredible opportunities. According to its co-founder, the pandemic gave tickr an opportunity to reflect on their future vision of the company.
“Overall, we are fortunate in that we have been one of the businesses that has performed well during the pandemic, and we are grateful to our customers for that. Despite this, we've had time to think long and hard about the product roadmap and the future vision of the company. Doing so has produced even greater clarity on where we want to take the product and brand. We think by staying true to those two themes that underpin our brand, we can build something truly differentiating, and something that is actually useful for the world.”
tickr’s investment model drastically changes how we think of investing, pairing humanitarian concerns with a desire to build wealth in a socially conscious way. Its rebranding doesn’t only highlight the new features it boasts but also indicates some exciting developments down the line.