Highly Competitive Category.
Owning the small business lending category.
When ‘fast and easy’ are the promises of an increasingly impersonal industry, how do you create an emotional connection that develops trust with business prospects—and resonates culturally with employees?
These were among the challenges we addressed with the private equity-backed fin-tech rollup, Business Financial Services (our client’s former name).
The 2008 financial crisis resulted in new banking regulations, restricting “traditional” lenders, such as community banks, from lending to small businesses that lacked the necessary collateral. For Business Financial Services, this presented a major opportunity.
Founded by entrepreneurs who understood the challenges of small business owners, Business Financial Services established itself as an early innovator in the fast-growing category of technology-enabled financing for small businesses. At the company’s core was the expertise of its underwriters who, working closely with clients, skillfully evaluated each business, its inherent risk and need for capital. The company was on a fast track.
But over time, several significant challenges arose: A fragmented internal culture due to acquisitions; aggressive competition and as a result, commoditized pricing; and a name that did little to distinguish the brand.
BrandingBusiness developed a brand positioning that avoided the generic ‘fast and easy’ trap and instead focused on a bigger, more emotional idea: ‘Champions of Small Business.’
While repositioning the brand, we also researched acceptance of the existing corporate name and its resonance in the marketplace. Confirming that Business Financial Services was widely known in the industry by its acronym—and wanting to leverage the existing equity and respect of the company in the world of small business lending—we recommended changing the company name to ‘BFS’ and adding the modifier ‘Capital,’ to create BFS Capital.
This captured the familiar and at the same time, added a dimension of stature and context, enabling the company to tell a new story.
Using the brand as a unifying integration tool, the company could now consolidate its acquisitions under the new name. The brand introduction signaled a clear vision for the future, a distinct point of differentiation from competitors, and most importantly, a promise that spoke to both internal and external audiences.
“BrandingBusiness was instrumental in empowering the company with a unified, differentiated brand, a new name and a cohesive culture. This enabled the organization to attract new customers, help fund a backbone of the US economy—and ultimately, to own the small-business lending category.”
“From the start of our business, we’ve had a compelling desire to help small business owners have a fighting chance of success. BrandingBusiness got to the heart of our purpose and expertly aligned our business with those we serve.
Rebranding as the ‘Champions of Small Business’ has allowed us to differentiate in the marketplace and develop lasting relationships with our clients. The new brand has helped our business grow—along with the businesses we fund.”