Since 2015, solarisBank supports digital businesses by providing unique banking solutions. Allowing digital businesses to offer innovative financial services to their end customers with the help of solarisBank is a concept that caught on fast. Within the first 12 months, the company’s workforce expanded from a team of 10 to over 70, representing more than 20 nationalities. Being new to the market, and with a constantly growing team, solarisBank brought in Rlevance to set the direction for their brand right from the start. Fortifying solarisBank for their continuous growth, we decided to create a brand strategy that works both ways: externally to their B2B customers as value proposition, and internally on employees and company culture as brand purpose.
Brands provide meaning, services provide utility. Combined, they add up to what we call Brand Services: a simple service or communication tool offered in addition to the core product or core service and designed to help promote it. We fully agree with Mitch Joel when he writes for the Harvard Business Review Blog “Marketing is no longer just about messaging and brand loyalty. Now, brands can provide a high level of utility with real tools that consumers need to enhance their daily lives.”
In an ideal world, Brand Services provide usefulness like a service, create awareness through novelty like an ad or PR campaign, and at the same time help build up brand reputation by making brand values come alive. Instead of just giving the promise like traditional forms of communication they already can deliver it. By being useful, Brand Services are more relevant to customers. Furthermore, customers can gather positive experiences with the brand, which helps building the relationship.
We gathered 30 examples for this new marketing tool that helps complementing traditional methods. But only a few of them range high on all of the factors usefulness, novelty and brand-fit. Currently we are working on an approach and further relevant factors to design great brand services deliberately.
External and internal guiding principle
The research phase equipped us with a great deal of insights to lead several vision and brand workshops with senior management. Here, we matched internal strength with customer needs and expectations, and defined solarisBank’s brand strategy in a way for it to serve multiple purposes: a clear and differentiating value proposition, a guideline for all marketing related activities, and an internal motivating brand purpose, making everyone at solarisBank proud of what they do.
With solarisBank’s new brand strategy as a guideline, we created a wide range of implementation ideas that would manifest it externally: the brand claim, a testimonial campaign, a content strategy, and experience ideas for partner on-boarding. For the internal brand implementation, our measures ranged from a campaign to communicate the brand’s goals and values, to experience ideas for the office and a recruitment campaign.
Being faced with fast growth and employees from diverse backgrounds, our approach was to use the brand strategy as point of orientation for solarisBanks organizational culture. We deemed it necessary to bring all employees on board and have them interpret the brand vision for themselves in order to shape their specific contributions to customer success. We designed a workshop system that offered all employees a chance to apply the brand vision to the level of their department and function. This step ensured a solid and broad foundation for a brand-driven company culture.
Our work enabled solarisBank to condense their identity to a brand strategy with one clear proposition that sets the goal for a distinct brand image from an early stage on. Furthermore, we were able to ignite a company culture that all employees can get behind. The twofold approach – internal and external – proved to be the way to go for a young company with great growing potential.