Brand Strategy Recommendations

October 07, 2022

In this proposal, I'm offering strategic recommendations for Thought Machine, a fintech product company. Thought Machine has developed a core banking product that is transforming the banking industry and enabling banks to offer innovative services to their customers.

2022 10 07

Thought Machine has experienced impressive growth, recently raising $200 million in a Series C funding round led by industry-leading VCs and global banks, including Nyca Partners, Molten Ventures, JPMorgan, and Standard Chartered. This brings our total funding to $350 million, with a valuation exceeding £1 billion. We serve a diverse set of bank clients, ranging from Tier 1 to Challenger banks, such as Atom Bank, Curve, Lloyds Banking Group, Monese, SEB, Standard Chartered, TransferGo, Arvest, ING, and JPMorgan Chase.

Our product, Vault, operates as a ledger on cloud-native platforms (including Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud Platform, and Microsoft Azure) without relying on legacy technology. Vault's flexibility is powered by Smart Contracts, which can configure any type of retail bank product, including current accounts, savings, loans, credit cards, and mortgages.

We use the Clock Mode framework to evaluate every interaction between the brand and the consumer across three phases: pre-purchase, purchase, and post-purchase. The pre-purchase phase includes elements like social media, fintech events, partnerships, and responding to RFPs (Request for Proposals). The purchase phase involves enablement, API, self-service, and product service. The post-purchase phase includes support services, certification programs, training content, and newsletters.

We conducted a brand audit to identify immediate, visceral associations people have with our brand. Positive associations include terms like "modern," "smart," "technology," "trustworthy," "lean," "innovative," "scalable," "configurable," "performance," "security," "reliability," and "quality." Negative associations may include complexity, not being a "bank in a box," friction during integration, and a limited local market presence.

Building on the brand audit, we created an aspirational brand identity. The core essence of Thought Machine's brand is aspirational, simple, and visceral, serving as the foundation for modern banking. Our extended brand identity encompasses a range of features, from being a technology-focused, slightly geeky person to symbolizing cloud technology and a product-first approach.

Below are my strategic recommendations for Thought Machine:

  1. Differentiation: Focus on standing out from traditional vendors by building a high-quality cloud platform. Emphasize the unique capabilities of Smart Contracts, which offer unparalleled configurability. Strengthening this aspect of our identity can boost awareness and accelerate growth.

  2. Relevance: Offer cloud platforms that banks won't or can't build internally. Many banks are burdened with complex, siloed legacy systems. We should aim to deliver products reliably and efficiently to become an integral part of the banking industry.

  3. Sustainability: Maintain a competitive edge by offering to replace outdated mainframe servers with more modern, cloud-based solutions. Build long-term relationships with banks and integration partners to ensure success at scale and speed.

Feel free to reach out if you have any questions about this proposal: Victor Leung on LinkedIn.

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Victor Leung, who blog about business, technology and personal development. Happy to connect on LinkedIn