How to implement a financial services rebrand

What makes a good financial services rebrand

Paul Brand

Creative Artworker

Posted on April 29, 2015

Chapter one: The client decides it’s time for a change

Talisman has been working with the client for many years and, in that time, we’ve seen them through a few brand refreshes. Although when they came to us at the beginning of 2014, something was different.

The company works with two different marketing agencies and it had become clear that the output from each agency was going in different directions, connected by only a logo and a colour palette. This meant, for example, that the banner at an event would appear totally different from the A6 leaflet being handed out.

So they turned to Talisman to help them rectify all brand inconsistencies and get everything in line.

Chapter two: Talisman gets to work

We focused on three main steps:

  1. We looked at the differences between the two agencies’ output. We knew the client didn’t want anything radically different, more of a refresh and overhaul, so we looked for similarities and common features.
  2. We then discussed with the client what they preferred. The majority of the client’s sales go through financial advisers but a lot of literature also goes to end clients. Since they specialise in annuities for people with serious or ongoing health issues, this tends to be people in their 40s possibly going through a difficult time, or people needing care in their 80s. The brand therefore needed to be welcoming, warm and sympathetic.
  3. Finally, we went about setting up visuals for key feature documents and application forms. Agencies can sometimes focus too hard on the shiny stuff like logos and brochures but, particularly in financial services, the nitty gritty must work too. Once we’d fully interrogated the brief and spoken to people from across the client’s business, we sat down with their marketing team and presented four concepts, from which they picked their favourite financial services rebrand.

Chapter three: The devil’s in the detail

So we had a concept, but we still had to implement it.

This process took a while because what works for one product might not work for another. We had to work through various documents, business units and compliance teams, all of whom did things slightly differently. We had to dig right down to ensure consistency, for example deciding whether numbering should be i, ii, iii or a, b, c etc.

We worked on colour palettes, a new font, imagery and style guidelines. At each stage of the design process we gave the client PDF proofs to review and approve.

Gradually we rolled the new brand out across all their literature, creating InDesign templates for each type of document they might require. Due to our financial services experience, we understood the various use cases this would include, ranging from A6 flyers and banners, to both eight-page application forms and two-page ones.

Creating templates removed the risk of non-compliance and, to reinforce that, we also started to put together some brand guidelines. This document helps us and the client’s marketing team when a product manager, sales team or agency wants to deviate from the brand, because it gives us the ‘why’ if we have to say ‘no’.

Chapter four: The imagery subplot

Developing the image guidelines is a great example of the importance of dialogue in a rebranding project. We talked a lot with the client to reach a point where the guidelines were specific enough to ensure brand consistency, while allowing flexibility for different campaigns and use cases.

We talked through the options for image sourcing, which primarily break down into:

  • Bespoke photography, which is unique to the company, looks great but costs a lot
  • Buying, say, 50 high-end images from Getty
  • Or sourcing lower-cost images from ShutterStock or iStockPhoto

The important thing was not to end up with beautiful Getty imagery in the brand guidelines, which was then too expensive to actually implement. Once the client made their choice, we supplied samples with copy that explained why we chose the image.

We also narrowed down the style of image, including what colours to avoid, where the focal point of the image should be and the shape of the image. For example, you might need the focal point to the right so you can overlay text to the left or images may only be used as banners, so need to be landscape.

Chapter five: The future of the financial services rebrand

Now that we have the document templates, they act as a client bible. They ensure the client always receives consistent branding and we don’t have to spend time searching for previous projects with similar documents to work from.

The guidelines also make us more efficient as we don’t spend time sourcing images that will be rejected. Together, they keep us all working in the same direction.

For the client, the guidelines mean they can continue to use multiple, specialist agencies but have confidence that all their marketing material will remain consistent, increasing brand recognition and demonstrating professionalism to financial advisers and customers alike.

If you’d like to talk about implementing a rebrand across your literature, why not sign up for a free consultation to see how we can help you do it.