Fintechs like Stash and Chime are upgrading their brands and logos to move beyond their ‘stick-it-to-the-man’ roots

Fintechs like Stash and Chime are upgrading their brands and logos to move beyond their ‘stick-it-to-the-man’ roots

  • Fintechs are coming of age, and for some, that’s meant a rebrand.
  • They’re balancing the disruptive fintech spirit with the stability of a traditional institution.
  • DailyPay and Stash recently undertook full redesigns while HMBradley hired a creative director.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

As fintech players come of age, their missions and offerings have grown beyond the point solutions they started with. And some have pursued rebrands to communicate that maturation to the market.

DailyPay partners with employers to give workers access to their earned wages between paychecks. 

It’s a straightforward offering with a simple value proposition to employers: flexibility in getting paid helps employers retain workers. And for employees, drawing on earned wages saves them from overdraft and late fees and turning to payday loans. 

But now, DailyPay is eyeing a much broader mission: leading the national conversation about how workers get paid. As a result, DailyPay leadership decided they had outgrown their brand. 

“By supporting the on-demand pay market, we were doing something more than just putting a band-aid on the issue of pay by giving people early access to it,” Jeanniey Walden, chief innovation and marketing officer at DailyPay, told Insider “We were actually rewriting what we consider to be this invisible rule about money, that you have to wait for your pay.”

DailyPay's old and new logos.

DailyPay’s old and new logos.

DailyPay


So DailyPay hired an agency, considering 27 shops over several months before landing on one, which it declined to disclose. It took more than six months iterating on a new image. From the font to the logo to the color scheme, the design agency, alongside DailyPay’s internal creative team, changed everything.

In an effort to be more warm and inviting, DailyPay switched from blue and green to orange, Walden said. 

As for its logo, it’s meant to represent a sunrise, a sunset, and a coin, simultaneously. The rise symbolizes the dawn of a new day in finance, whereas the set resembles a penny in a piggy bank. It’s all tied together with a custom font, called Horizon.

DailyPay isn’t alone. As fintechs come of age, some have looked to ditch the off-the-rack suit for a tailor-made look. Personal finance apps Chime and Stash both hired creative leads for branding. Meanwhile, HMBradley nabbed a creative director and outside agency before it launched to make sure it stood apart.

And while rebrands aren’t cheap, or without risks, these fintechs believe its a necessary step in their evolution as a company. 

“We wanted something that showed that we were not this cheeky startup,” DailyPay’s Walden said. “We are a very serious player in this market with intent to redefine the way that money moves.”

Balancing the scrappy fintech spirit with institutional chops

In recent years, fintechs positioning in the market has shifted from scrappy startups disrupting the status quo to full-fledged financial institutions. They manage more money, and are fighting to become the next generation of life-long financial institutions for consumers.

Stash Chief Creative Officer Chidi Achara

Stash Chief Creative Officer Chidi Achara.

Stash


Stash, which enjoyed massive growth in 2020, went through a full rebrand under the leadership of Chidi Achara, a creative industry veteran the startup hired as its first chief creative officer.

“The word that I started using when we looked at our rebranding was neo-institutional,” Achara told Insider. “We’re no longer a snotty-nosed, stick-it-to-the man, early-stage startup.”

With $2.9 billion in assets under management, the weight of managing people’s wealth wasn’t lost on Achara as he redesigned Stash.

“We need to project a degree of authentic credibility, trustworthiness, and gravitas that allows us to build long-term, lifelong relationships with our customers,” he said.

Achara’s experience in retail, an industry filled with aspirational lifestyle brands, helped inform his vision for Stash. He noted the homogeneity and coldness of fintech branding.

Photo of Stash's logo and mobile home screen

Stash’s logo reminds users of throwbacks like Battlestar Galactica and Star Trek.

Stash


“I felt that there was a significant opportunity for us to break free from those conventions to create a differentiated, distinct, and coherent identity that would stand out from the crowd,” Achara said.

Today, Stash’s brand is simultaneously retro and forward-looking. Its custom font evokes references to Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica, Achara said.

He described the new look as playful, provocative, and futuristic.

“I want this brand to represent a sense of history while nodding to the future,” Achara said. 

Rejecting ‘new and different’

Digital bank HMBradley, too, wove retro themes into its brand to communicate an element of reliability and history despite being founded in 2019.

Three iterations of the HMBradley logo.

The original logo for Halleman Bradley (top), the place-holder logo ahead of the redesign (middle), and the current HMBradley logo (bottom).

HMBradley


John Zelek, creative director at HMBradley, joined in April 2019 to help the fintech re-establish its brand. First came a name change, from Halleman Bradley to HMBradley. It was a hard sell to the startup’s designers given the divergence from the common single-noun name so prevalent in tech — Acorns, Affirm, Chime, Mint, Point, to name a few.

But after user interviews, the name stuck. HMBradley sounded like it had been around for a while and didn’t require much search engine optimization.

In partnership with Natasha Jen, a partner at the creative agency Pentagram, HMBradley became what it is today: a retro-meets-challenger fintech brand. It’s also one of the few fintechs with serifs in its logo. The goal is to place the fintech simultaneously in the 1970s and the 2030s. 

The redesign did have its hangups. One of HMBradley’s Series A investors initially thought the fintech might be too late-stage for her portfolio based on its look. 

The retro feel of HMBradley’s color palette isn’t unique in the design world, Zelek said. But it’s meant to stand out in the fintech space, where brands are positioned as disruptive, new, and straightforward with bright, simple fonts and colors.

“It’s sort of a rejection of ‘this is new and different.'” Zelek said. “It’s actually, ‘this is kind of old school.'”

A photo of an HMBradley credit card.

HMBradley’s color palette and gradient designs are a nod to both the 1970s and the future.

HMBradley


That’s intentional, as HMBradley focuses not on the underbanked, but on consumers with stable, higher deposit rates. Its savings rates are tiered, based on the percentage of deposits users save, which is represented in the brand’s gradation design on its website and its credit cards.

For a consumer, switching from an incumbent bank to a challenger raises questions around the risks of banking with a new player that could fold.

“We wanted to dispel as much of that as possible with the brand,” Zelek said.

Growth funds a rebrand, but a rebrand fuels growth

To be sure, rebranding isn’t cheap. While a rebrand might be needed to boost growth, growth is often needed to fund a rebrand.

“We’re in a very fortunate position which is that our platform is resonating with the market,” Achara said. Beyond growing its customer base by 40% last year, Stash just doubled its valuation, reportedly to $1.4 billion, with a $125 million Series G in February, Achara said. 

Achara’s efforts will be judged by user growth and retention, but specifically organic growth, which would indicate the power of the brand. 

“Brand awareness, brand affinity, likelihood to use, favorability, all the classic brand metrics are ways in which we can measure ROI,” he added.

Headshot of Jeanniey Waldon, chief marketing officer of DailyPay

Jeanniey Walden, chief marketing officer of DailyPay.

DailyPay


DailyPay’s rebrand has been well-received thus far. There haven’t been any complaints or confusion among its users, and employers at the virtual American Payroll Association conference were complimentary, Walden said.

Its new look was unveiled on May 28th, just a week after it announced a $500 million fundraise, including $325 in debt capital and a $175 million Series D, led by Carrick Capital Partners, which reportedly valued the fintech at over $1 billion.

Ahead of the rollout of the new brand, DailyPay execs were well-warned by its board.

“The day before the launch, we had a board meeting, and the board said, ‘Great. If this brand impacts business negatively at all, update your resume,'” Walden said.

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