Refocusing an online lender’s brand message

OnDeck is a pioneer in online small business loans, but the competition in their space has been catching — and heating — up. They have a one-to-one service model their competitors can’t match, but found that their brand position and messaging needed strengthening. So they brought Thinkso in to help articulate their brand strategy and create new messaging that would clarify their true value proposition for small business owners. We put that strategy in action with a fresh, client-focused brand voice, website editorial that explained all the details in language a non-expert could understand, and an updated set of brand guidelines for writing on-brand communication materials in-house.

The phrase “We get it” in bold white letters on a blue background.
“OnDeck had all these great ingredients that they didn’t know what to do with. We helped flesh them out and turn them into a cohesive brand strategy. From there, we developed a distinctive brand voice.” Elizabeth Amorose, Senior Partner, Thinkso
The text "Part high-tech. Part human. All business." in bold white letters on a dark blue background.
The text "Quick application. Fill out our simple online form. It only takes 10 minutes." in black type on a light blue background.
The text "Decision in minutes. Find out in real time what you've been approved for." in black type on a light blue background.
The text "Real people to help. Your OnDeck loan advisor will explain it all. She'll be “your guy” throughout the process." in black type on a light blue background.
The text "Money within hours. Sign the contract, and your money will be transferred within 24 hours." in black type on a light blue background.
The text "Because getting a business loan shouldn't feel like a second job." in bold white letters on a red background.

We built a laddered brand strategy that included an updated brand positioning and promise, messaging pillars, and brand attributes. We also crafted headlines and succinct copy to convey OnDeck’s key benefits in a memorable and easy-to-digest way, along with typographic guidelines that presented these new messages clearly and confidently.

A slideshow of pages from the OnDeck brand guidelines shown on a laptop computer, including editorial and visual elements.

OnDeck had a great story to tell. They needed to not only articulate it better, but also apply it more consistently across the organization and at key client touchpoints. Our updated brand guide provided marketing and sales teams with the inspiration and practical messaging tools to do just that.

A photo of an OnDeck loan advisor, with the text: Online doesn’t have to be impersonal. With OnDeck, you get real people to talk to.
A photo of a small business person at a workbench, with the headline text: Business loans for today’s business realities.
A section of the OnDeck website showing information about lines of credit and term loan options side by side.
A page from the OnDeck website outlining their three step process: Complete the application; get a decision; receive your funds.

When we looked at the marketplace, we found that the other online lenders lacked humanity. That human factor is OnDeck’s differentiating advantage, so we dialed it up with a “real talk for real people” approach that highlighted OnDeck’s hands-on service story and connection with clients, while also communicating that the loan process was quick and low-stress.