The competitive and customer forces that drove Selfwealth to its first-ever rebrand

Marketing leader for Australian retail share trading platform details the steps taken to orchestrate its rebrand strategy

A sense of positivity, individual empowerment and control, along with a catchcry turning its brand effectively into an adjective, are key elements of Selfwealth’s first rebrand in its 10-year history.

Selfwealth general manager of marketing, Jarrod Purchase, who has been with the group for four years, told CMO he’d been wanting to rebrand for a while. Rapid innovation of the company’s platform, escalating competitive market forces and a doubling of the total addressable market for retail share trading in the last 18 months presented the momentum to finally tackle it.

“It’s the right time for the business, considering the competitive landscape as well. The brand had not been touched in the 10 years we have been in business. A big motivator is therefore refreshing the brand and modernising it,” he said.

Selfwealth’s product is also a far cry from what it was providing even five years ago. The business was initially set up to provide investment insights using data and research, and only introduced share trading in 2017. Today, it’s the fourth largest retail share trading platform in terms of marketshare, according to 2022 figures from Investment Trends. In the past two years, Selfwealth has also increased active traders by 791 per cent to more than 123,000, lifted the value of assets on the platform 669 per cent to $9.3 billion, and grown revenue from $2.8 million to $18.4 million.

In addition, Selfwealth’s competitive landscape is markedly different. Thanks to rapid growth over Covid, category awareness is at an all-time high, and the number and diversity of players entering the fray is up exponentially. The list includes banks, specialists like CMC and CommSec and other retail share trading sites such as Superhero, Stake and Sharesies.

“Ensuring we have a strong brand going forward is important. Name wise and reputation wise, and as the fourth largest in Australia, we are there. But there wasn’t a strong brand identity we could continue to build equity into,” Purchase said. “With only a name to rely on, you don’t get a lot of flexibility for people to associate certain attributes with your brand. We needed to make sure we stand out, get cut through and have decent brand assets.”  

Building insight

One of the earliest steps feeding into the rebrand was a research project across Selfwealth’s member base and incorporating a survey of 4000 individuals. Initially undertaken by the product team to help build out the product roadmap, this also gave Selfwealth a better understanding of customer attitudes and behaviours.

“We hadn’t done that kind of research into the customer and everyone internally had a different opinion of the customer. Turns out everyone was right,” Purchase said. “We had six archetypes created off the back of our research, which for a one-product company was surprising and frustrating in that we now have six to deal with and all the personalisation has to come off the back of that. But it made sense in that we captured everyone in the retail investing space, pretty evenly too.

“How that’s informed the brand work we’ve done is to make sure we don’t alienate a percentage of the audience by going down a particular path.”

Broadly speaking, Australia’s share trading customer base is broken into those brand new to investing, entry-level participants, people who have around for bit with a little experience, then older investors with larger cash banks using all sorts of tools.

“We were conscious of not going one end or the other. Others have – Sharesies, Commsec were much more focused on entry level,” Purchase explained. “but if we did that, we would have instantly alienated some of our customers.

“We’ve gone in the middle, in that we are going to target people with a bit of experience looking to elevate their knowledge and experience, while at same time capture on both sides of that. It sounds like a sitting on the fence strategy, but no one else seems to be doing this. Others have gone one way or the other and been very targeted. Taking that middle ground was intentional.”

Purchase said the decision to retain the Selfwealth name despite the company’s different product set and place in market was also not in doubt.

“Eighteen months or two years ago, we may have said yes to changing the name. But the growth through Covid made it a moot point,” he said. “The brand is so well known as a name, we leant into that instead.

“Our campaign is around the idea of self wealthy and turning it into an adjective. What does it mean to be self wealthy? For us it means being confident, having control and confidence not just in yourself, but the platform you’re using.”

Credit: Selfwealth

Informing the approach is also Selfwealth’s now documented purpose framework. The company’s purpose is to ‘empower people to achieve financial freedom’. Purchase noted over the last year, the company has grown from 20+ people to 80.

“We need to cultivate knowledge about what business stood for and put that down on paper. That purpose framework we have built has fed into all creative work,” he said.

“That has fed though to this rebrand campaign. We will feature larger than life characters in environments where there’s a lot happening and it’s very busy, but where you can see this person is confident and in control. Putting our purpose on paper got us all to agree, and we can share this with all new employees. But it’s also a great insight for how we honestly represent the campaign creatively.”  

Selfwealth tested creative campaign ideas with customers too and received positive feedback before pushing the rebrand live.

“We also have this war cry, ‘Grow you good thing!’, which is very useful in the sense it works across all key audiences - customers, employees and investors,” Purchase continued. “Selfwealth is an ASX- listed company. It’s all about professional and personal growth and we back that up with our people and culture philosophy.

“It was a fantastic fit and great for me to experience people yelling this war cry across the office. A bit cult-like, perhaps, but people are getting involved, which is good.”

Positivity was a must-have attribute for Selfwealth. An exponential ramp has also been added to its logo to represent the growth of Selfwealth customers and their confidence to invest in their own wealth creation. It’s not just about money, it’s about what that unlocks for someone’s life and all the emotions that go along with it, Purchase said.

“In our industry, there’s a lot of themes of rebellion and pulling the system down. We are not about that,” Purchase said. “Yes, we’re challenging the banks, but we want the message to be positive, about growth and be inclusive.”  

The rebrand was undertaken by Big Space Agency, which has worked with Selfwealth for nearly 12 months.

The next tranche of work for Purchase is an above-the-line advertising campaign later this quarter. This will include out-of-home and a TV campaign using composite video and imagery incorporating landscape shots of iconic Australian cities and its illustrated, larger-than-life characters as well as the catchcry.

There’s also more to come on the product roadmap front, including launching cryptocurrency on the Selfwealth platform. Purchase described is as a milestone for investing in Australia and claimed no well-known, trusted share trading platform has done this thus far.

“To validate crypto as a mainstream investment is new territory. That’ll be big for a large portion for Australian retail investors who haven’t made that jump yet because of fear of the platforms, trustworthiness and security,” he said.

Metrics of success

Measures of success for Purchase on the rebrand are whether Selfwealth us growing and accruing more customers.

“We look at net growth including churn. We have always had positive net growth. Brand awareness is another and we have a brand tracker in place,” he said.

“Our brand awareness actually trails our marketshare, which is an interesting position to be in. We have seen lot of success from competitors in the last 12 months in terms of increasing brand awareness but marketshare not followed suit. If we can get same brand impact and perception results, with our existing base we’ll see more bang for buck and growth.”  

With existing customers, and as Selfwealth builds more functions and features, uptake will be another key metric.

“We are also looking to diversity revenue; we are reliant on trade volumes and a lot of the time that’s tied to market conditions. Anything we can do to diversify on the ASX going up or down is positive for the business and shareholders,” Purchase added.

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