Case Study: LoanMe
Giving Online Personal Financing A Fresh New Take
Cultivating a nuanced experience for LoanMe Users
Not all brands are equal and creating a recipe for success can be a long, drawn out process. This is often made more difficult when considering that different industries have different requirements and considerations. Some industries will be more difficult for branding than others and Personal Finance is a particularly demanding market segment.
For LoanMe, Symmetry was challenged to soften the cold and calculating image of traditional loan companies and provide a more personal and approachable image that is more in line with the client’s values and needs - making the brand more engaging and therefore improving business fundamentals for the company.
Who is LoanMe?
LoanMe is an online personal and business loans company based in California. They provide fast, secure and reliable loans for individuals and small businesses. The company itself is innovative and forward-thinking, and wanted to provide a better online experience for their customers.
We wanted to provide LoanMe with a new and more customer centric brand image that would better reflect the brand’s goals and values, while at the same time addressing and carefully considering their current and future customers’ needs, wants and concerns.
The problem: Giving online financing a new and friendlier face
The traditional image of the typical online personal finance company can be somewhat similar to that of the banking industry, albeit with some key differences.
On one hand, you have a cold, calculating professional aloofness that people generally ascribe to banks and financing firms. This image can be perceived positively as robust, reliable and trustworthy. However, it can also sometimes be seen in a negative light as cold, harsh and uncaring.
On the other hand, companies that work in personal finance must also encourage a sense of approachability due to the nature of their customer base. Unlike banks and larger financial institutions that deal with a broad range of financing services, online personal finance companies tend to deal with customers that need individual or small business loans.
The problem mainly lies in moving away from the former while retaining the image of trustworthiness and reliability and approaching the latter by curating an image of affability and approachability. In essence, we wanted to dispel the “hard to approach” brand image typically seen in the industry while opting for a friendlier and more personal image.
Finding real solutions to real problems.
LoanMe's new customer centric brand image was the result of tracing customer journeys, documenting success stories, and providing real social proof to shift the brand narrative to a more positive tone. During the start of the project, we conducted thorough research on the personal finance industry, LoanMe’s competitors, their current target market as well as potential markets that they wanted to target.
At Symmetry, we place a large emphasis on gathering enough data in order to make the best possible decisions during the latter processes involved in rebranding and brand refresh projects. It is important to strike a balance between both the quantity and quality of the data gathered. In LoanMe’s case, we wanted to emphasize social proof and a highly targeted branding and marketing strategy that required a wealth of data on former and current customers as well as success stories and testimonials. LoanMe already had a good product and service strategy as well as a healthy relationship with their customers and we gathered existing data in order to help rebrand the company to better reflect their strengths and values.
User personas are carefully crafted semi-artificial personalities that can be considered as ideal representations of real LoanMe customers based on market research, data analysis and customer interviews. We developed User Personas to help LoanMe focus their time and attention on the right things and improve their connection to target customers. These personas also helped guide product development and all marketing collaterals.
To create these personas, Symmetry looked at LoanMe’s current customers as well as all of their leads, prospects and referrals. We conducted interviews and reached out to many of these individuals and used all the data we gathered to create persona demographics, user motivations and potential strategies for persona specific messaging.
Customer Journey Maps
Aside from creating handcrafted and highly detailed user personas, we also created comprehensive customer journey maps for LoanMe. These user journey maps are essentially visual representations of a user’s experience with LoanMe.
Our customer journey maps take a birds eye view of the loan selection process from start to finish. We recorded and mapped all user actions as well as the emotions and pain points they experienced during each step of the journey and used this information to pinpoint potential solutions and improvements to the general experience.
All of the initial work that went into creating the user personas and customer journey maps resulted in the first round of UX studies. Several rounds of rapid prototyping and extensive UX work led to the creation of new wireframes and logo studies.
A Fresh New logo
To help LoanMe move away from the traditional look and feel used by most personal finance companies, we designed a typeface to appear friendlier and more approachable. We also made sure that the typeface was easier to read and more accessible. The rounded edges of the logo were also modified to make it look more modern and connected.
The up arrow was initially meant to symbolize the relationship between the customer and LoanMe. The two entities working together formed the arrow pointing up which was meant to inspire hope and aspiration for the customer. For LoanMe, it was meant to reinforce the brand manifesto and the idea that with Loanme, “it's possible” LoanMe wanted to emphasize “potential” and “opportunity,” which had to be communicated through the logo as well as other brand elements.
We also worked on producing a video that was the culmination of the recent revamp of LoanMe’s brand image. The video was created to showcase the brand’s ethos, values and renewed commitment to making a difference in their customers’ lives.
To borrow from LoanMe’s own words, everything begins with a conversation and so did this brand refresh project. Conversations are key to proper communication and we made sure to create a clear and transparent dialogue with LoanMe, the stakeholders involved and their past, present and potential future customers. We believe that we were able to showcase LoanMe’s unique strengths and attributes to create a distinctly new type of personal loans company that people would not hesitate to approach and interact with.