After months of conceptualisation, calls, edits, and fine-tuning, we’re excited to finally unveil our new brand to you today.
You’ll see that our new look is vastly different from what it was. We’ve forgone our “tech-y blue” to adopt softer and lighter colours: peach, sky blue, mint green, and a soft yellow. Before, our website imagery was all about our product – our sleek dashboard, our Neat Mastercards and the cutting-edge technology used on our app. Today, however, we’ve shifted our focus to feature predominantly people, including the friendly faces of our customers and team.
This human-focussed angle is at the core of our new brand, because the ambitious entrepreneurs we call our customers are at the core of why we exist. In this blog post we want to share why we made the changes that we did, the thought that went into each decision, and ultimately how it’s allowing us to better convey the message and mission that drives us here at Neat.
The Starting Point: When We Realised Our Original Branding Stopped Telling the Full Story
In late 2015, we started Neat as we saw a huge gap and opportunity in the Hong Kong market. We were frustrated with the experience banks were offering. Neat started with the aim of taking away the obstacles you face in dealing with traditional financial institutions: the paperwork, bureaucracy and long waits in line.
As our product and company evolved, we felt our brand story, look, and feel didn’t fully capture everything that we’ve come to stand for.
In the beginning, we launched with the Neat Personal Cards for the Hong Kong market, mainly targeted towards students. In the past year, however, we’ve introduced the Neat Business Accounts for entrepreneurs, SMEs, and startups around the world, which has quickly become our core product offering. We’ve also expanded into Shenzhen, revamped our (award-winning) compliance and onboarding processes, acquired 4 regulatory licences, and grown our team to 50 people.
Our re-branding journey started a few months ago, with one thing in mind: we wanted our brand to be as ambitious as we are. We wanted a brand that fully represented outwardly what drove us internally, as well as our long-term vision.
First, Defining Our Brand Story: Enabling the Entrepreneur Economy
While we may think we know our industry better than anyone else, an outsider looking in can hold up a mirror and help you see things you didn’t see before.
In our case, the outside perspective was brought by a London-based branding agency, Ragged Edge. They helped us immediately see one striking thing: most players in our space looked similar and had similar stories to tell.
Everyone was showing off product screens, and talking about themes such as “recreating banking,” and making banking “easier, smarter, faster.”
So before we went ahead playing with new colours and designs, we knew we first needed to really define in words what our brand story was today, and what made us uniquely “Neat”. These are the thoughts that came about:
- We want to do more and be something bigger than what we are today. Talking about our goals and long-term roadmap, what became clear is that more than simply helping people make and receive payments, we want to change the way we do business.
- We’re not just a tech-y solution to an inconvenient problem – we’re the ally to entrepreneurs, businesspeople, and companies that are trying to make it on the global stage.
And these thoughts evolved into our new brand story:
As entrepreneurs our businesses are always in motion: starting from an idea, to making a first sale, to expanding globally. We need a financial experience that evolves with us – an experience that’s still stable and secure, but adaptive too.
Neat is built for today’s global economy, where the internet makes borders disappear and it’s easier than ever to start a business. Neat believes in making international business a reality for entrepreneurs around the world.
Today, Neat is a modern alternative to a bank, designed to support you wherever you go. Tomorrow, we’re a platform for doing business: Enabling the Entrepreneur Economy.
Being entrepreneurs ourselves, we want to be an ally: we’re on your side. We want to support entrepreneurs wherever they go, with both the services we offer, as well as through our Neat Network. This was the message we wanted our brand to represent and convey.
Bringing the Brand to Life: Design Choices
“As entrepreneurs change the world, they want fellow changemakers with them for the journey.”
Whereas banks may feel outdated and tech companies modern & sleek, both at times may seem a little cold. As we understand that more than anything, entrepreneurs want a trusted ally, with our new brand we aim to foster that human connection.
Aspirational, Human Imagery
In lieu of product screens and mock-ups, we opted for photography with real faces and people. We’re not faceless like a bank, and we want our branding to reflect that.
On our new website, you’ll see that more than ever, we showcase our customers, partners and team.
Our tones are softer, reminiscent of what you might find from lifestyle and editorial branding, which are styles that naturally put a focus on people.
Type in Motion
Unlike a bank, Neat is adaptive – flexible enough to support an entrepreneur from the beginning of their idea, to the first sale, to the moment they expand cross-border and beyond.
Our type flows across the page, to emulate the fluid and dynamic nature of business.
The Full Experience
As we’ve touched upon, a brand is more than design.
It’s about how we convey what we stand for as a company. This goes from the product we offer, to the way you interact with our customer support. We reflected on all aspects of our company, to make sure the brand is reflected beyond our marketing.
To give an example, in order for us to truly embody our values of being an ally to entrepreneurs, we’ve completely overhauled the way we measure our customer solutions metrics. Whereas we previously focused more on industry-standard response times, we’re now heavily focused on customer satisfaction and making sure we communicate in the right way.
Introducing The Neat Network
Supporting entrepreneurs to achieve their goals goes beyond helping you with your finances.
While our customers work in various industries – from eCommerce, to Food and Beverage, non-profits, to tech startups, and more – because many of them come to us right as they’re starting their businesses, they have one thing in common: they are ambitious individuals and teams, who want to drive growth at their organisations.
We want to bring these like-minded people together in a network to learn, inspire, and grow. This is why we host events regularly – educational workshops, or community events, that are all about celebrating the entrepreneurial community.
For recaps of our last few community events, you can check out these blog posts: Food and Beverage, Health and Wellness, Travel and Digital Nomads. And to stay in the loop of our Neat Network, sign up to our community newsletter.