A new deal with Visa, and an imminent global product launch, meant it was time for a fresh new brand experience to resonate with small businesses and their banks.
Defining the multiple value propositions in such a complex ecosystem had always been a challenge for 9Spokes. They had been very focused on big corporate (global banking) relationships to date, which had been very successful but had meant they hadn’t put much effort into the direct to business offering recently. They were lacking a clear ethos and vision for the business to unite the team. And needed to relaunch globally, starting in the US.
They asked us to develop a cohesive story to help direct the business both internally and externally. The marketing team were looking for a brand expression that would be distinctive and self-assured and wanted a solid toolkit to use internally. This brief included the development of a clear brand strategy, story, messaging matrix, new visual look and feel, comprehensive visual library (animated illustrations and photography) and website design and build. And perhaps the most significant aspect in making meaningful change with the brand, was to create a better and more useful customer experience within the app itself. Ultimately the app (the tracker) should be so good it sells itself.
9Spokes is here to propel ambitious small-businesses towards the success they deserve.
We started with indepth stakeholder workshops, desktop and customer research, which led to some powerful insights we could build off. We learnt that small business people want to be guided on what to do, in simple terms, to help navigate the confusing world of business - especially during a global pandemic.
We developed a strong purpose statement for the business: '9Spokes is here to propel ambitious small-businesses towards the success they deserve.' It is ultimately all about championing the small business. This got boiled down into a nice crisp brand essence, which has also doubled as a snappy campaign line - ‘business forward’.
The brand personality was then tweaked, moving from it’s blunt and sometimes quirky origins to a more mature version of itself; 9Spokes now needs to be known as business-smart, motivating, passionate (about small business), innovative, trustworthy and warm (very human and relatable).
We defined a ‘role’ for the business to play to add value in customers minds; Think of 9Spokes as a virtual advisor. Here to motivate and guide businesses on what to do next.
How is all this delivered?
9Spokes gives modern businesses highly personalised, sharable and meaningful insights that steer them towards their next move and hit their goals.
To execute this across a wide range of collateral we started with developing a new tone of voice, a messaging framework and copy guidelines. The language is very active, we are steering, tracking, moving, driving, propelling, growing, and very forward-facing. All these words capture a certain energy and dynamic that come with small business. The product is no longer about providing a static snapshot of the business. It’s real-time, constantly changing and about collaboration and action. In collaboration with their in-house copywriter we then developed a snappy brand story to bring all that together (see bottom of this page).
Then, building off the original logo and colour palette we had developed back in 2014 (which was always loved and remains a strong foundation) we refreshed the visual identity. It is clean and contemporary with some distinctive graphic patterns to give everything a sense of forward movement. It uses a crisp and accessible Google font (Manrope) and we developed a comprehensive visual library. All images are about business people on the move. We created a bold and unique animated graphic illustration style with people literally moving forwards. This is complemented with a ‘Sartorialist’ inspired photographic storytelling language, again capturing business people on their way.
The new brand has now been applied to social assets, edms, presentation decks, and a new custom built interactive website with distinct sections for different audiences. The next chapter will be about rolling the new look out across the all-important product interface. Mocks are included here.
The Brand Story
Celebrating modern business.
Ambitious, authentic, passionate and unafraid to take risks – entrepreneurs tend to build businesses on what they love. They’re leaders in our communities, growing businesses, making a positive impact, and realizing their dreams. Start-ups, scale-ups, fast-growing chains, we salute you!
Growing a small business is exciting, rewarding and gratifying. Yet, it’s not always plain sailing. The personal stakes are high, the work all-consuming, and it can be a lonely adventure. And, even with a deep understanding of the industry, and a strong team to boot, building a flourishing company is a difficult art to master.
New normal, new challenges.
COVID-19 has changed everything. But modern businesses are agile and resilient. They’ve needed to act quickly, pivot hard, and reimagine ways of working. Chances are, most are having a few difficult conversations with their teams, partners and bank managers.
Welcome to 9Spokes. We get it.
Small businesses are the backbone of economies. Across all industries, they are retailers, eateries, fitness studios, distillers, carpenters, IT gurus - you name it! They are digital start-ups, single-site stores and burgeoning chains. And, although essential, they’re often under-supported. We started 9Spokes to change this.
It began in 2012. Apps were on the rise but businesses were often overwhelmed by the volume of the data. We wanted to bring a big business edge to all businesses. Our combined experience told us there are 9 key business functions – ‘spokes’ if you will – from money and product to people. We set about building something to bring these functions together, to harness the data, and support growth. 9Spokes was born.
9Spokes works for you.
9Spokes is a business management app that aggregates meaningful data across a business, its apps and its bank. Think of 9Spokes as a virtual advisor, here to motivate and guide businesses so they not only survive, but grow and thrive!
We deliver meaningful, personalized and shareable insights to businesses that help inform their next move and steer them towards their goals. We connect businesses. We bring together their teams, partners, and banks (anytime, anywhere), so they can share information and collaborate to figure out the best way forward – whether it's a simple admin task or the basis for a strategic decision.
9Spokes’ key components
Our Business Hub is made up of the Tracker, Connector and Resource Center. At our core is the Tracker. A live feed powered by the apps and services businesses connect, the Tracker presents a 360-business view. Personalized notifications and alerts help monitor performance and flag where action’s required – be that more profitable staff deployment, or unsticking the supply chain.
Tiles provide a deep-dive into a business’ bank, financial and business metrics. They can be grouped into boards – think cash flow mapped out in one space.
Running alongside the Tracker – and accessible through it – is the Connector where businesses can discover, connect and purchase apps and services by region.
Data is knowledge is power. In business, this trifecta informs decision-makers and drives business forward. The Resource Center is a centralized collection of business know-how, that shares informative content on everything from the basics of business principles to the latest trends.
9Spokes is a powerful business ecosystem with global scale. By delivering smart insights, we empower modern businesses to achieve big things.
9Spokes – Driving business forward.