A financial institution is supposed to instill confidence. In its branding, it is supposed to be solid as a rock. Right? It’s not as bad today as it was right after the 2008 crash, but there’s still a widespread distrust of traditional banks, as well as some healthy general skepticism towards anything finance-related. Fintech is a massive market, and just seeming reliable is nowhere near enough. It might come as a surprise, but currently, branding for fintechs is both varied and vibrant.
Teaching Your Audience
In any market you need to explain your product, but it goes beyond that in fintech. Your branding, at times, needs to be downright educational. If your fintech is B2B, you need to explain in clear, straightforward, and concise terms, in how exactly does it help a business make more money (or spend less money). On this topic, we have a whole another article on how to make a website for a B2B product.
On the other hand, we have B2C fintechs. Most people out there simply aren’t financially savvy. You’ve probably heard, once or twice, someone say, "why did they teach us trigonometry in school instead of how to fill out taxes?". You’re going to have to explain some things, and show how your fintech helps to deal with them (without coming off condescending).
Yet, if you do aim at a savvy audience, say, investors with years of experience and an extensive portfolio, this educational aspect of your branding doesn’t go away. You need to show them that you’re just as knowledgeable and more, and that your product suits this knowledgeable audience.
Types of Fintechs
There are all kinds of fintechs: neobanks, billing and payment software, crowdfunding, all kinds of crypto-related things, etc, etc. What matters from the branding perspective, is that they fall into two broad categories: those that need to seem trustworthy, and those that need to seem exciting.
These are not mutually exclusive: no brand wants to seem unreliable (especially in fintech), and no brand wants to be completely dull. The difference is in which one is more important for a given fintech. You can’t have your cake and eat it too. Moreso, this division isn’t dependent on the type of fintech: one neobank might want to seem sturdy and reliable, while another is just entering the market, and might first want to seem thrilling.
For a while, all the fintechs that wanted to seem reliable used blue as the primary color for their visual identity (and not just fintechs, most products with the same goals for branding as solid, reliable, neutral). It doesn’t work anymore. It’s been done to death. Unless you’re Revolut, don’t stick with white background and blue accents (and even Revolut doesn’t do that much anymore). If you do, your audience will feel the same emotion towards your branding, as one does towards the paintings from Picasso’s Blue Period, and we don’t mean the feelings of appreciation for great art.
That was a bit of a hyperbole. Using white background with blue accents has been overused for a reason: it works. The branding won’t excite anyone, but it is solid and can solve your branding goals.
But you don’t have to stare at this digital blue and wait for some gift of sound and vision. A fintech can brand itself as sensible and dependable without resorting to that default option. Some examples:
Money is Exciting
As we’ve established, the traditional approach, the knee-jerk response to the question "what should branding for something finance-related be like?" is "solid, reliable, neutral". That being the default response is in itself a good enough reason to go against the grain and go for something exhilarating. Of course, the real reasons to do so are a lot more practical. The first one being that all the fintech markets are booming, and if you’re just entering one, you need to stand out.
The second reason being your audience. Quite a lot of fintechs are aimed at people who would groan and roll their eyes at the word "fintech". Yet, those very people still use digital banking, and they’re subscribed to some podcasts on Patreon, and some of them might even dabble with crypto, just a little bit.
Looking for a universal solution for branding goals in fintech is a waste of time. While there are some patterns in fintech branding, like the current trend on appearing nice and friendly, it’s a huge and varied market — where playing it safe doesn’t work anymore. You need to keep in mind your audience and your exact goals. And don’t be blue.