• The brand animation guidebook

    Going through a rebrand? Updating your brand assets? No idea whether you should consider animation for your brand? This guidebook was written for you (so long as you’re a fintech). We’ve seen design and animation have an incredible impact on fintech brands, like yours. And if you’re ready to make some decisions, or at least think about stuff, we wanted to share some of our thoughts around brand animation to help you. Here goes👇

  • How we define brand animations

    Sometimes called explainers, we’re talking about hero videos that tell your viewers about your brand — great for startups, or those going through a rebrand or growth milestone. These fintech animations might include:

     

    • Your purpose
    • Your vision
    • Your mission
    • An intro to your products or services

     

    They’re a good staple piece for landing pages or brand-push campaigns across social media.

     

    Back to the guidebook…
    We’re going to assume that you’re not a branding expert and talk a little about the fundamentals of branding. If you know a little already and just want to dive into another section, jump there using the links below. Otherwise, you're in for a 20-ish-minute read right here!
     

     

    01 - The first step: understand your brand and craft your message


    02 - Now, time to build visual brand assets


    03 - Measuring brand videos


    04 - Then, you bring it all together

  • The first step: understand your brand and craft your message

    A lot of brand animations come off the back of fintechs rebranding, or something similar. We’ve also found that they can help steer branding, or rebranding, similarly. So first we’re going to take you through what we consider the most important steps to ensure you’ve answered all the branding questions that will help you create an awesome video, that isn’t boring.

     

    So here are some things to iron out before you delve into your brand animation:

     

    Your purpose

    Your brand purpose is what made your founder wake up one day and say “I think X and so I’m going to do something about it”, and that something was a business. This can be the most difficult part of branding, and what some people (maybe even you) would call “fluff”.

     

    But, we don't believe in fluff. Every branding decision is ultimately a commercial one. Anything that affects the way you present yourself, or the public's perception of you is commercial.

     

    Your purpose should never change.

     

    So draw a line in the ground on this one. What do you stand for above everything else? Above your products or your services. What made you start the business?

     

    A sentence or two works here - this should be holistic, general and another word for over-arching.

     

    Here are some good examples from other fintechs:

     

    Starling Bank: “To make banking more inclusive”
    Klarna: “Making it easier for people to shop online”
    Monzo: “Make the world a better place and change people's lives”
    Wise: “Money shouldn’t have borders”

     

    Your vision

    The brand vision (unlike your purpose) is an audacious goal your business has to bring your purpose to life. What aspirational goals does your brand have to bring its beliefs to light?

     

    Let’s use the above brand examples again:

     

    Starling Bank: “To fix banking”
    Klarna: “To make paying as simple, safe and above all, smoooth as possible.”
    Monzo: “To solve all our customer’s problems and make money work for everyone”
    Wise: “To put the way money moves back into the hands of ordinary people.”

     

    Now if we were to join one of these examples, Starling Bank's value prop could be: “We were born of the idea that banking should be more inclusive. In that way, banking was broken. So, we decided to fix it.’

     

    While this might not be their active prop - it's undeniably on-brand.

     

    Your mission

    While your brand’s original purpose should NEVER change, and a change in your vision would likely include a shift in the way you operate, missions will naturally change over time. As your business grows, as you employ more people, as you break into new markets, add more services, or whatever, your mission will evolve.

     

    The mission is what you’re going to physically do to realise your purpose and vision. And it’s about what you’re doing NOW.

     

    Consider:

    • What you do now
    • For whom
    • How you do it
    • What it achieves

    Sometimes your purpose, vision and mission feel naturally connected, other times they might not. But, both can work.

    Let’s showcase how that plays out with the above brands, Starling has a very cohesive purpose, vision and mission. Klarna's has a different feel, but it still works.

     

    Starling Bank: the totally connected example

    Starling Bank wanted banks to be more inclusive, and their vision was to fix the banking system. Their mission then, became “to create the world's first digital bank, where they put the power in the user’s hands.”

     

    From purpose to vision to mission, it was all about banking.

     

    Their mission might evolve to include numerical goals, market share or something similar. But we bet that it will always have banks right at the core.

     

    This is all a very fluid and connected example - which has led to very solid branding.

     

    But it doesn’t have to be this straightforward when building a strong brand. Case in point:

     

    Klarna: the not-so-connected example

    Klarna’s purpose is to make it easier for people to shop online. There are multiple ways they could have done that. They could have been an eCommerce website builder, they could have been a browser plugin or a new form of currency.

     

    Their vision narrowed them down a little. They wanted payments, specifically, to be safe and smooth. Again, there are still a few different products they could have offered here. They could have created a secure payment app, for example, that added extra layers of security to your online payments or something like that.

     

    But no. It became their mission to “create a buy now pay later service that put the power into consumer’s hands, allowing them flexible and smooth monthly payments.”

     

    Their mission might evolve into becoming the worlds leading buy-now-pay-later platform with numeric or more specific customer goals.

  • Your position in the market

    Your position in the market can be as complex or simplistic as you’d like. You need to understand what’s already out there and think about how you'll measure up. Think:

     

    • Who do we serve?
    • Who will I be competing against in my (physical) local area?
    • Who will I be competing with in the digital space (paid and in search)?
    • What services or products are my competitors, or close competitors, offering?
    • What are your competitors saying? How are they presenting themselves to the world?
    • Can you get any inkling or understanding of pricing models in your area, which end are you going to sit at, or are you going to enter as a challenger?

     

    If you’re looking for something more visual, you could create a market map of your competitors to see where you fit. You could base your axis on something general such as cost/quality or choose something more specific. Here’s an example of a marketing map we’d plot ourselves on:

    By choosing to map our brand with the above axis, we can see that we’ve clearly defined our place in the market (or we're confident we have). Now it’s down to us to make sure that our messaging and value prop clearly communicate that, which brings us on perfectly to the next sections! It’s like we planned this or something…

     

    Your audience

    Regardless of what stage your brand is at - whether you're fresh out of the block or well-established - having a strong understanding of your audience is soooo important. You should talk to the people you want to sell to, understand them, their problems, what they’re trying to achieve and their hangups. Salespeople are great for this info.

     

    Don’t get bogged down in user personas and demographics, they’re overgeneralised waffle most of the time.

     

    Concentrate on what you know about your audience, and then as you find your audience growing, start segmenting them - splitting them into different problem/need categories.

     

    Here’s how we’d go about defining an audience:

     

    You have a hero or heroes

    This is your typical target customer - again, we’re not interested in demographics here. We’re interested in: who they are, what they do and what they might be trying to achieve as it relates to your service (not to be confused with what problems they have, we talk about that later).

     

    Example:

     

    Fintech Marketing Managers

    Trying to market and sell their product
    Normally having to market something pretty complex/jargon-heavy
    Looking to grow their product-market-share or their brand
    Looking to succeed in their career

     

    They encounter a problem

    What stops them from doing what they want to do? We’re interested in the root causes of their problems (the external) and some internal problems that may arise as a result.

     

    Example:

     

    Typically there are three external problems:

    • Their market doesn't know that the fintech solution exists
    • Their market doesn’t know why they should care
    • Their market doesn’t understand how the product works

    And some internal problems:

    • Their job, reputation and performance are on the line
    • Their skill set may not be able to flex to the best mediums to market their product

     

    So they enrol the help of a guide - that’s you

    So it’d be great to know WHY this type of client has come to you in the past, and what made them sign the dotted line. Did they connect with you on an empathetic or authoritative level, and can you define messaging for both of these avenues?

     

    Example:

     

    • We alleviate fears by providing brand messaging and assets and helping you think about where your video fits into your marketing and how you’ll measure impact.
    • We’ll help deliver your project on time and on brief.
    • We’ll be fully transparent about the creative process and keep you in the loop at each stage.
    • We’ve worked with some of the UK’s top 50 fintechs.
  • Your voice

    Next, it’s time to talk voice: how you say what you want to say, with examples for your creative team (or anyone who's working on your copy). You’ll want to make sure all comms that project from your digital mouth:
     

    • are consistent
    • match your human ones
    • showcase your purpose, vision and mission

     

    Most importantly you want your voice to build a personality, a character. This will really help you in your visual branding later when you’re thinking about colours, fonts, logos and beyond.

     

    We like making simple things (it’s one of our character traits), so below you’ll find an unpretentious brand voice template we like to follow, it can be iterated as you see fit. Even brief guidelines will help your creative team make the right decisions when writing content, designing graphics creating videos and beyond - especially helpful when you’re writing a script together.

    Here are some of our voice character traits to help you get started:

     

    Voice examples:
     

    Struggling with character traits you can use to build your voice? Here are 346 of them.

     

    Your value prop


    We’re very close to the end of refining your brand messaging now - stick with us!

     

    The value proposition is the culmination of all the above. Your:

     

    • Purpose
    • Vision
    • Mission
    • Positioning
    • Voice

     

    It takes all of your decisions and refines them into an elevator pitch for your brand. Typically you’ll find these on homepages, top of about us pages and on other sales bits.

     

    Some examples:

     

    Monzo:

    “Banking made easy… Spend, save and manage your money, all in one place. Open a full UK bank account from your phone, for free.”
     

    Klarna (B2B):
    “Boost your business with Klarna. Attract, convert, and retain customers with flexible payment options and performance-driven marketing.”

    Starling Bank:
    “Award-winning bank accounts… No branches, no problem. Get more from your money with Starling’s online bank accounts.”

    There’s a bit of a recurring formula with impactful value props - they include a punchy tagline (often used as a header) and some shpiel underneath. Think of it as a bit of an equation (but an easy one):

     

    What you do (tagline) + How you do it (shpiel) = Value prop

     

    Notice how none of our examples (above) chose to be overly clever with their value props? That’s a conscious decision. Floaty and elegant language choices are only great if all your audience will understand. A tip, write up multiple value props and show them to your audience. Let them help you define which one was the clearest and most impactful.

     

    Keep your value prop simple and distinct.

  • Right, we're done with brand foundations and messaging. Now let’s move on to visual brand assets that will come with your animation.

  • Now, time to build visual brand assets

    Monzo, Klarna and Starling Bank really are leading the way in shaping the fintech brand identity landscape. They’ve all opted for bold, positive and contemporary colour schemes, fonts and design to showcase their forward-thinking, to echo their ideas about bringing finance out of the past and giving the power back to the user.

     

    A lot of fintechs are adopting similar approaches. So to stand out in the space, which only gets more crowded as time goes on, your visual brand assets and content are an important differentiator.

     

    Think Monzo’s bright coral cards and animated typography that further explained their value prop:
     

    Or Klarna’s everlasting cheese slice animation that exudes character with a clever visual metaphor that extended the brand colour palette:

    Both Klarna and Monzo's visual choices turned into well-designed and well-animated brand assets. These very brand assets helped these brands showcase their character and build their presence and they translate perfectly into video content.

     

    You can do it too, y’know.

     

    Create brand assets that feed into animation

    There’s a reason we love helping fintechs build branded assets and animations - they go hand in hand. Animation gives you total control over what you’d like to create. From the colours to the shapes, to the motion, to… well… everything. Unlike live-action where we’re restricted by reality, animation can build a world that’s inspirational, humorous, ridiculous or logical; something unique. You’re in control.

     

    To create strong assets or animations, you need to think about the visuals behind your brand. Here are some things to consider:

     

    Your colours

    There’s a psychology behind colours. Plenty of research has been done on how different colours affect our moods, perceptions and beyond. Of course, reactions can differ between people, but there are some connotations of colour that are quite engrained in our collective perception:

    Moreso than we’d sometimes like to accept, colours make statements and arouse a response. It’s probably why you’re not wearing neon pink while you read this; kudos if you are though.

     

    Your colour palette should connect with your purpose, vision and voice


    Creating your colour palette will influence how people perceive your brand, how they look at your logo, how they consume your website, your content and beyond. Take another look at your purpose, vision and the characteristics you identified for your voice.

     

    What language can you take and match to your colour choices?

     

    Let’s use Starling Bank as an example again.

     

    Their purpose: “To make banking more inclusive”.

     

    Their vision: “To fix banking”.

     

    Two of their voice traits: “friendly” and “accessible”.

     

    Perhaps not surprisingly, their palette consists of blue and purple hues. Colours we naturally connect with trust, loyalty, knowledge and ambition.

     

    Now let's look at Klarna again.

     

    Their purpose: “making it easier for people to shop online”.

     

    Their vision: “to make paying as simple, safe and above all, smoooth as possible.”

     

    Two of their voice traits: "light” and “humorous”.

     

    Their palette: black, white and pink. Colours we associate with simplicity, innocence, security and compassion — a mix of things the brand is trying to achieve.

     

    “You could make links between any colour!” You say. Well read the above back and now imagine Klarna’s brand colours as green and brown... still think it would work?

     

    Need help finding your ideal colour palette?

     
    If you need a little help thinking about your brand colours, you could:

     

    • Create mood boards
    • Take a look at your competitors
    • Get a little help from a colour palette generator
    • Draw on brand and colour combinations you like (they’ll naturally reflect your personality)

     

    Or just hire a third party to help? We won’t tell anyone.

     

    If you’re looking for some design inspiration for mood boards or branding pieces, check out Bēhance - there are loads of real-life branding projects to sift through.

     

    When putting your brand in motion with an animation, having your colour palette in the mix helps to build a subliminal layer of understanding and recall for your audience. Consistency will build relatability putting you in a much better position for advocacy further down the line.

     

    Your fonts

    Just like colours, fonts reflect personality. Trust us, it’s true! It’s even more true when you’re animating your typography as it will take centre stage. You want your choice to reflect your brand’s personality, so your audience can better connect to the character behind the brand.

     

    There are six key font styles which are associated with different traits:

    You can pair fonts in a title/body combo, or just choose one

    You may choose to pair fonts to add some depth. For instance, pairing a Serif font for your headers and a Sans-Serif font for your body text will give you both a classic and trustworthy feel while keeping your brand modern and clean.

     

    You could include bold and italicized Sans-Serif or Slab Serif fonts within your font group to create a clear hierarchy with a distinct identity.

     

    If you choose a more elaborate font such as a script, handwritten or decorative font for your logo and titles, we'd recommend sticking to a clear Serif styled font for your body text. Readability is something to bear in mind, especially across different devices.

     

    How you mix and match your fonts is down to you, but it should stem from your brand’s characteristics — unless your purpose is to break conventions…

     

    If you’re struggling to find font pairings you like, why not get a little helping hand from a generator like Font Joy? These tools are great if you’re set on one font, but can’t find an ideal pairing.

  • Your logo

    We love a good logo, especially one that lends itself well to animation.

     

    Animating your logo adds experience for the viewer, it adds character to the brand. And for those all-important first meetings where you want there to be as much life in your brand as possible, an animated logo is just the ticket.

     

    But, all logos start their life statically. And, with your newfound knowledge of fonts from the section just above this, we can also see that these fintech big-hitters have all opted for the modern clarity of a Sans Serif typeface or a Slab Serif typeface.

    You recognised at least 6 of those right? Maybe even more.

     

    Why is a logo design important? For a few reasons. A good logo:

     

    • Is memorable
    • Grabs attention
    • Makes a strong first impression
    • Forms the foundation of your brand identity
    • Separates you from competition
    • Helps build brand loyalty

     

    It’s also worth noting that your audience will expect a logo. Something to aid their recall of your business. Visual recall is one of the oldest and most valuable human needs - language and communication are all built around signs and signifiers after all. But enough of that semiotics gobbledygook.

     

    Animated assets

    Animated assets put different parts of your brand in motion, like your products.

     

    Take the 3D animated render of Revolut’s metal card release:

    Or the abstract showcase of Fifth Third Bank explaining automation:

    These assets build your brand portfolio and can be repurposed, reused or iterated on in future campaigns. They can be used on website landing pages, embedded to enhance written content, included in emails and beyond.

     

    2D animation, 3D animation and motion graphics can easily become part of your brands asset aresenal to be used at any time. To showcase complex features, to spice up a logo and tagline at the end of a campaign video or to add some character to an email - the possibilities are endless.

     

    Specifically designed to fit your brand’s visual guidelines, these assets create a universe where your brand is at the centre.

  • Measuring brand animations

    Once you put together your foundations, messaging and visual identity you’re in the perfect place to start making good content. Animations are perfect for something unique - that 100% represent your brand and product.

     

    Once you’ve done all the hard work and are working with a team (like us!) on creating an animation around your brand purpose or vision (a hero video), you want to make sure you can measure the impact it has. Understanding how your audience perceives the animation and whether it drew any gains in traffic, brand awareness or even lead-gen could be crucial to your project. Here are some suggestions on how you could go about measuring:

     

    Goals for brand videos

    We’re not saying that you’ll never get a lead from a brand video, or that you shouldn’t monitor leads at all. But, the goal of a brand video (at least in our eyes) is not lead-gen. These videos, as our above definition suggests, are more about exposure. Finding your audience, or expanding your audience and communicating your vision.

     

    We think some more fitting goals include:

     

    • Increase in branded/social traffic
    • Increase in brand keyword volume
    • Increase in site engagement incl:
      • Time on page/site
      • Avr page views
      • Scroll depth
    • Increase in social followers
    • Increased social engagement
    • Increased brand campaign click-through rate

     

    Let’s go through these in a little more depth:

     

    Increase in branded traffic (leading to brand keyword volume increases)

    The goal of these videos is to get your brand out there, to explain what you do, maybe a little of how you do it and to build rapport with your audience. Ways you can show this as being successful is to measure your brand traffic - you can do this through Google Search Console (it’s free). Here’s a guide from Loves Data if you’re unsure of how to do this.

     

    Google Search Console will allow you to see what people are searching for when they land on your site, and you can also find out on a page-by-page level what they’re typing too. The more people who understand and recognise your brand, the more will type your name into search engines (or variations of your name) to come back and find you again.

     

    There are paid tools you can use to monitor this too - such as SEMrush and Ahrefs. And these tools also allow you to monitor keyword volumes behind your branded terms.

     

    The more exposure your videos get, the more people should know and understand your brand, and the more people will start searching. You can see any monthly search volume increases through these tools (and you can set them up to monitor these keywords specifically).

     

    You can also check keyword volumes for free by using Google Ads, you can quickly set up an account (if you’re not using it already).

     

    Increase in social traffic

    If you’re running with your branded content in a brand-push campaign, or a series of posts you’ll want to measure your traffic coming through to see whether there’s a positive uptick here too.

     

    Make sure you use UTMs so you correctly capture your traffic and you can see what they interact with once they land on your website.

     

    Increased engagement across social media

    If you’re pushing your brand video out via social media - we would advise against using it solely to generate leads. If lead-gen is your aim, then your video should be more targeted (more on that later).

     

    We’d advise considering options around impressions, website visits and building your following. Why? Well because brand videos are made for exposure. Telling the right people that you exist. It’s about starting a conversation. And social media is a great place to do that.

     

    There are a lot of channels, so we won’t look at them each specifically here, but you should be monitoring things like:

     

    • Website traffic (make sure you’re using UTMs)
    • Website interaction (create an audience segment in your analytics where you look at what social media traffic does when they arrive)
    • Video/post engagement (who’s liking, sharing and most importantly commenting?)
    • Profile impressions, follower count and other similar interactions

     

    At this stage, your main goal is to build a community and some advocacy. So, use this video as a tool to get your brand out there, and learn about your audience.

     

    Increase in returning traffic

    Another way to measure the success of implementing your video is through returning traffic. Though in most cases it will be hard to directly attribute returning traffic to your video (unless they’re returning via an ad or something) we can assume that if the introduction of your video sees an increase in your returning traffic, more people are remembering you than before.

     

    Increased website dwell time, scroll depth and clickthrough to product/service pages

    Adding a brand video to your homepage might also positively impact the amount of time people spend on your website. You could simply monitor the average time visitors spend on your site or a page or you could look at scroll depth.

     

    Scroll depth is automatically measured in GA4 and you’ll be able to see if the introduction of a video has people engaging further with your page.

     

    Finally, increased website engagement might come in the form of a higher click-through rate to your important pages. You could monitor average pages per visit, or monitor how many people click through directly from your home page to further pages - again this is easily achievable in Google Analytics.

  • Then, you bring it all together

    Great animations start with great branding.

     

    In our opinion branding, design and animation all come together to create some of the strongest advertising and content marketing out there.
     
    The best fintechs do great content marketing - what makes them so good at it? Their strong brands. Not only do they have all their foundations in place: their purpose, vision, mission, audience and voice established, but they have a visual identity that ties in with these foundations.

     

    When it all comes together, we get one big cohesive picture that’s much more digestible for… everyone. And that’s one of the reasons for when they produce content, it performs. Take this hugely successful animation from Kraken (a crypto exchange app) that now boasts over 5 million views:

    Or this clever piece of animation from Stripe which showcases their new VAT calculation feature their client’s had been asking for:

    Fintech brands come alive with the right design and animation. With these tools in your arsenal, you can create something truly unique, and memorable.

     

    Author: Josef James & Gabriel Whitehead

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