Stake takes aim at the investor-curious consumer

The online trading platform is looking to balance rapid growth with the long game of building brand equity while wooing investors keen to expand beyond the ASX

“It’s been proven time and again that building brand equity has not just brand benefits, but genuine commercial benefits,” said Stake chief marketing officer, Bryan Wilmot.  

“It improves your ability to acquire and retain customers, decreases price elasticity and is even great for recruitment of staff because people want to work for a brand that other people know and perceive in a good light.”  

The five-year-old online brokerage firm has been on a steady growth initiative since its $40 million capital raise in 2021 and is looking to broaden its customer base, recently kicking off a major national brand campaign. The ‘Stake your claim to the future’ campaign, developed by creative studio, Bear Meets Eagle On Fire, speaks to how Stake is opening access to financial markets for a new breed of ambitious investor.  

Wilmot told CMO the process has underlined the importance of brand equity and why there can be a tendency when startups are scaling to put it off for a later time.  

“There is a tendency in startup growth businesses to not necessarily think about it early on. It doesn’t mean you have to run a TV campaign, but at least focusing on brand equity early on, or at least thinking about how you’re going to manage that, will be a good call,” he explained.  

Reflecting on whether the pandemic and the rapid growth in digital engagement across customer channels has changed the rule book on brand building, Wilmot believed there’s a stronger need than ever.  

“For us, it really accelerated the pace at which we needed to start thinking about brand equity, and going big and getting ahead of the curve,” he explained.  

“It’s not changed the principles of what you need to do. It has changed the requirements on how quickly or how deeply you need to do that for different businesses and different categories.”  

Why brand equity is a long-term play  

For a brand like Stake, building brand equity is a long-term pursuit and not something that’s going to suddenly develop overnight with one big campaign. As Wilmot noted, brands need to plug away at it over time and appreciate how much else is competing for consumers’ attention in all parts of their life.  

“You’re competing for share of mind with everything in their lives, not just things in your category. So it’s really something you’ve got to continue to chip away at in the long term and find new avenues and new, interesting ways to get in front of the consumer,” he said.  

As a newish business, Stake is hungry to continue to grow and scale rapidly. “It's about making sure there’s that comprehension around when brand equity is the play, it needs to build over time,” Wilmot continued.  

“We’re going to build a business for the next 50 years, not for the next five minutes. And you can’t expect just because you put an ad on TV that week, you’re going to see immediate conversions from a customer number perspective. It’s really trying to build into the mindset of the business the long-term speed and the short-term speed to make sure you're orienting the right people around the different approaches.”  

One of the key pillars for Stake is investing in a strong content platform that helps investors and potential investors get across the intricacies of investing in overseas markets, whether that’s tax implications or different types of investments. Branding it ‘Academy’ gives it a clear education moniker for the platform’s investors.  

“For the customer, it’s having that education at their fingertips. For Stake, it’s actually a pillar where we’re going to continue to grow and expand as we go forward,” Wilmot said.  

The ‘adulting’ play  

Looking to understand and appeal to a younger generation, Stake wanted to build its pitch around a different take on wealth-building. “There’s been this language around ‘adulting’ and really learning how to grow up and take control of your own personal finances,” Wilmot said.  

The brand undertook a large research project in 2021 and surveyed the next generation, with a focus on millennials across the country. While there’s a clear retail investing boom, the impetus was to understand the motivation driving this behavioural change.  

For this generation, the linear progress from school to university to job and so on is very different, Wilmot pointed out. There’s more uncertainty for one, jobs aren’t guaranteed, even with a degree, and there’s a thirst for side hustles and entrepreneurship. As Wilmot explained, “the ‘stake your claim to the future’ idea is about taking control over your progress and unlocking that through the opportunities the stock market offers”.  

“It’s a mindset that the world's not going to roll out any red carpet or do me any favours anymore, I need to sort of own it. I need to own my own progress, and personal finance is one subset of that broader mindset shift,” he added.  

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