Partner story.

Zelle.

Partnership.

Disrupting the disruptors.

Creating a next-generation money-transfer service to transform the way money moves.

In 2016, we joined forces with seven of the largest US banks to create Zelle, a money-transfer service designed to take on market leaders like Venmo, PayPal and Square Cash. We were embedded in every aspect of the product journey, from development to branding to a go-to-market strategy that encompassed communications and media planning, advertising creative, and social media.

From the start, we knew this wasn’t about creating a brand for the next Silicon Valley financial platform—this was an opportunity to brand the next evolution of money transfers in the United States. We concepted a disruptive brand identity around “connecting people through money like never before.” That identity has underpinned all of our marketing successes, from the brand’s first campaign, “How Money Moves” featuring Hamilton star Daveed Diggs, to our latest campaign, “Everyday Better.”

Today, our strategic communications team continues to work with Zelle to build a community of users. We’ve co-hosted events, partnered with financial literacy pop-ups, collaborated with influencers, and invested in community initiatives. And there’s a lot more to come.

Work.

  • Branding.
  • Strategic communications.
  • Products & platforms.
  • Campaign.
  • Strategy.
Zelle.
02:00

Play.

Branding the future of money transfer services.

We know that a disruptive product requires a disruptive message. So we worked with Zelle to develop a new brand identity centered around “connecting people through money, like never before.” This idea is based on what makes Zelle unique: speed, reach, ease, and trusted partnerships with major banks. These became the brand foundations for messaging across the product, website, and all of our marketing communications. Zelle’s logo is a key element of its brand identity, so we put in the work to make it shine. We designed a distinctive Z that evokes a currency symbol and doubles as an app icon and favicon. Most of the major money transfer players use blues and greens, so of course, we went with purple and white for Zelle’s logo—a color scheme that also differentiates Zelle from the banks it works with.

Making money moves.

Game time. After spending months fine-tuning the Zelle brand, we launched Zelle to the public in early 2017 with its inaugural campaign, “How Money Moves.” The playful integrated marketing campaign featured Hamilton star Daveed Diggs and covered a range of communications platforms, including social media; traditional media like TV, out-of-home, and print—plus experiential media and PR backed by a $50M national media spend. We aimed to strike a cultural chord, carefully targeting audiences across a range of channels, from TV and out-of-home to all major social media platforms—including Snapchat, a relatively untapped digital space for financial services. We even planned a variety of integrations and partnerships with GMA, LIVE with Kelly and Ryan, The Ellen Show, SoundCloud, and SXSW.

Emerging stronger from a crisis.

Overnight success always brings risk, and in mid-2018, crisis struck. Scammers found ways to exploit vulnerabilities in Zelle’s product, and before long, media outlets ranging from niche tech media to The New York Times had covered the issue. Luckily, keeping cool in sticky situations is our speciality. We acted fast with a communication strategy, helping Zelle and its partners execute a massive, interdisciplinary re-education campaign to ensure that Zelle’s users were behaving in ways that would protect themselves while restoring trust in the brand. By August 2018, only 1% of Zelle’s negative coverage focused on security concerns. And more importantly, consumers were better protected.

Making Zelle better, one campaign at a time.

Asking friends or family to pay you back can be, well, a little awkward. So in 2019, we partnered with etiquette expert Elaine Swann to help consumers navigate the tense moments that underpin certain Zelle use cases. The partnership resulted in 2.34B media impressions and 135+ placements—and its success inspired us to launch the campaign “Everyday Better.” Using insights gleaned from analyzing the behavior of high volume users, “Everyday Better” showed Zelle can be used in everyday situations. The campaign included a series of mini-campaigns focused on specific use cases, including “Festival Better,” “Gift Better,” and “Back to School Better.”

And when user insights indicated that women are especially uncomfortable asking to be paid back, we partnered with the first financial feminist pop-up exhibit, Stacks House, to empower women to make Zelle work for them. The “Everyday Better” campaign was a success, with year-over-year payment values increasing by 56% and transaction volume increasing by 71%. The campaign won an Innovation SABRE for Best Financial Sector campaign and was runner-up for PRWeek’s Best in Data Insight award.

Results.
56%
YoY payment values increased
71%
Transaction volume increased
Strategic Communications.

Empowering community members during the pandemic.

Just like Zelle, we believe corporate giving benefits everyone. As the COVID-19 pandemic took root in the US, we took steps to financially empower senior citizens, the most vulnerable community to fraud and the least likely to use digital banking tools. Partnering with technology start-up Senior Planet, we offered online courses to senior citizens on how to bank digitally, utilize payment platforms like Zelle, and protect themselves from potential scams. Loneliness has been another major consequence of the pandemic. In December 2020, we partnered with Karamo Brown to launch the Zelle Holiday Spectacular, an Instagram Live show designed to help people deal with loneliness. The Spectacular featured famous guests such as Access Hollywood host Zuri Hall, choreographer and social media star Matt Steffanina, and Netflix star of Lucifer Lesley-Ann Brand, and included an opportunity for people to nominate outstanding community members to win $25,000. This was the most successful Zelle earned media campaign to date, generating 4.02B media impressions across 416 placements—402.33% over our goal. Karamo’s stories highlighting the partnership reached 900K+ individuals and the Spectacular has been viewed on IGTV 56K+ times.

Results.
4.02B
Media impressions
416
Placements
+402.33%
Over our engagement goal

Nike.
Tech Book.

Nike doesn't just have customers; it has fans. So we helped them create their first-ever interactive mobile app and store in Nike Tech Book.