Inventing VocaLink’s Innovative Brand Architecture

  • Financial Services
a person is using a cell phone at an atm

The Challenge

To support its aggressive growth targets, VocaLink had to build a strong, unified brand that would allow it to capitalize on potential new business opportunities as well as navigate the internal and external challenges arising from the merger.

The Opportunity

To position the company as an innovator in a constantly shifting space and prepare the brand for future expansion, VocaLink had to develop a brand strategy and architecture that was closely aligned with its ambitious growth objectives.

The Outcome

With Vivaldi’s help, the award-winning brand program served as a roadmap for VocaLink's future growth strategy and was used to highlight its capabilities and breadth of offerings while bringing the VocaLink brand to life and achieving their objectives.

Investing in the Future

In the time it takes you to read this sentence, VocaLink has completed over 1000 financial transactions. As the operator of nearly all of the UK’s 70,000 ATMs and payments systems (BACS and Faster Payments), the VocaLink is the backbone of the UK financial system, Processing over 90% of salaries, more than 70% of household bills and almost all state benefits; they are the largest real-time payment solution in the world. Last year, they processed over 11 billion transactions with a value of £6 trillion.

However, building such a large player in the fintech space doesn’t come without challenges. While Voca and Link had merged in 2007, the new entity didn’t have the internal cohesion and external recognition to optimally support its aggressive growth targets. And so in 2014, VocaLink approached Vivaldi to define a brand architecture strategy that would position the company as an innovator in a rapidly changing space, that would make it more engaging and attractive to employees, investors and partners and that would help it take advantage of potential new business opportunities, in big data and other adjacent fields.

Creating Change

Vivaldi tackled the challenges one by one: first, brand strategy development; second, brand architecture resolution; and third, implementation roadmap.

After an extensive audit of the company’s existing brand, its competitors, its customers, and the overall market in which it exists, Vivaldi Partners developed a brand strategy framework, a competitive positioning map, and a brand dashboard. We validated and optimized the brand positioning identified in the brand strategy framework through a series of internal and external stakeholder workshops and interviews. As an outcome, a new and broader frame of reference was defined to align the organization with its ambitious growth objectives into new markets and business lines.

We then focused on understanding how the organization could go to market with a unified brand architecture that would build brand awareness quickly and efficiently, while clarifying for customers the range of products and services offered, and preparing the brand for future expansion. All of this while taking into account the strict regulatory limitations governing the financial services industry, and the complex eco-system of VocaLink’s partners and associates. We conducted a series of workshops and work sessions to evaluate the different brand architecture concepts outlined in Brand Leadership, and settled on a hybrid Branded House structure, with the master VocaLink brand sitting above four sub-brands and two endorsed brands.

Finally, we created an implementation roadmap and messaging strategy to bring the brand to life.

Noteworthy Success

Vivaldi’s work with VocaLink has been extremely successful and the brand program won “Marketing Campaign of the Year” at the Payments Awards. Additionally, the brand strategy, particularly the newly defined frame of reference, became an essential building block in reframing and driving the company’s growth strategy.