Brand Voice Victor: How Simple Has Created a Banking Revolution

Here on the BrandVox blog, we love to highlight brands who are effectively using their brand voice. When I asked around my co-working space which brand I should highlight next, overwhelmingly, my coworkers suggested Simple. Rarely have I seen such visceral positive responses, especially when talking about anything in the finance industry. My friend Sam went on for about twenty minutes raving about the service, user experience, and overall feel of the brand. So, I decided to look into what makes this bank so special. 

First, what is Simple and why is it different from other banks? First of all, Simple is an online all-electronic consumer banking service. There are no brick and mortar branches. Everything is done online. They've paid tremendous attention to the customer experience and use plain language throughout their content. This is a stark contrast to the confusing legalese most of us are used to, and it’s a tactic that is working. Earlier this year, the brand was purchased for $117 Million by the banking group BBVM.  

Let’s look at a few examples of how Simple is breaking the mold:

1. Their customer service department is easily accessible and they speak to you like a human. 

When you call in there’s no menu to sift through, you’re immediately directed to a real live person to answer questions and help you. No scripts and no up-selling.  And, they actually feature the real photos of their customer service team - with their names - right on their website:

This transparency isn't limited to the website, it’s evident in their social channels, too. For example, when a skeptical potential customer asked her followers on Twitter if ditching her traditional bank for Simple was really worth it, the company opened the conversation to their 40 thousand plus followers, letting her get unvarnished feedback right from real users:

The result was an outpouring of authentic engagement with current customers weighing in on their real experience and others asking questions about the service. You can’t spontaneously put yourself out there like this without being really in tune with your product and how it’s being received in the market place. Pretty gutsy. How do you get that kind of confidence? By offering a service that meets customer needs and actually does what it promises, and then following through on that promise in every crack and crevice, from one end of the company to the other.

2. Their terms and conditions are easy to understand and find.

We've talked about plain language before, and these guys have it down. Their website is written in casual, easy to understand language. This is especially important in building a brand in an industry like banking that’s notorious for being something less than straightforward. Simple also offers their terms and conditions on their website in an easy to find place and written in everyday language that people can actually make sense of. They use basic topic headings throughout the terms and conditions to break up what would normally be a long running page of legal jargon. It’s rather refreshing — take a look:

3. They did their research on not only their audience but their competition. 

Simple gives you options that traditional banks just don’t offer. Realizing that traffic to bank branches declined about 50% in recent years, this company saw the opportunity to offer a completely different experience with innovative features. Their “goals” feature allows users to create virtual buckets in their account for specific savings targets, and goes well beyond the Christmas club savings accounts of yesterday. Customers can set up multiple goals within their accounts for real-time budgeting and saving and an up-to-the-minute tally of their balance. You can also use hashtags to group and search specific categories and attach images to transactions - things like receipts or photos - to help keep organized and give more context to your spending. All things that traditional banks with their dinosaur technology has never been able to offer. In fact, this was the feature that my friend Sam loved the most. He showed me how he’s only $80 away from a new iPad and is enjoying the feeling of saving and being in control of his money. 

So what do you think? Are you another raving fan of Simple or are you skeptical that this brand voice is creating a real shift in the market? Let’s keep the conversation going in the comments!