The founders of a fintech company came to me to help launch their new business. The idea for their SaaS platform is to connects licensed cannabis operators in the US with financial lenders. Prohibition on a federal level and lots of red tape on the emerging industry make financing an almost impossible challenges for any businesses trying to start or grow their state-by-state operations.
I led the founding team and lead engineer through collaborative workshops. From the discussions and data, I developed the Alta brand strategy, visual design system, assets for fundraising, design and launched the website, and created a series of activations that attracted borrowers and cannabis-friendly lenders to the new lending platform.
Strategy, Branding, Website, Marketing,
Financing the cannabis industry: the branding and creation of the first automated lending platform connecting licensed cannabis operators and cannabis-friendly lenders.
I led additional design sprints focused on the website and product launch.
Workshops activities for the website:
uncovered actionable goals
dictated content strategy
discussed research & fintech website breakdowns
evaluated visual directions
explored demos and possibilities
honed launch strategy
With this info I created the site content and an email series designed to fully explain the platform's benefits for cannabis operators. The email nurture series pushed interested operators and lenders to a free guide. The guide educated operators interested in lending requirements (a goal dictated by the main opportunity uncovered in our first workshop), encouraged users to apply, and helped them become ideal candidates for funding.
WEBSITE STRATEGY &
Their goal is to serve as many cannabis operators as possible in order to fully realize economic demand, industry innovation, and product consumption. The company should make it possible for operators in the industry to receive financing that has previously been unavailable in their market—to fuel business, reveal market potential, and build connections.
Key Audience Insight:
Operators may have little experience finding cannabis capital and may not understand the possibilities available to them. They have a license to sell THC and are eager to grow a business. At the very least, they need to feel like they are on equal footing at the business table. Ideally, they want to know you have their best interests in mind especially on a transactional platform.
Key Borrower Opportunity:
Provide access to unprecedented deal flow for cannabis-friendly lenders—particularly suited to their lending requirements and preferences.
From the data gleamed in each workshop, I created positioning statements, core values, and identified key areas of opportunities to reach their main audiences. I defined the company offering, purpose, shared beliefs, story, voice, reason for being, and value proposition.
The concepts stack and create the brand pyramid. It's a handy visual for use now and for future vendors and brand managers. It can be referred to as they make business, marketing, and additional service related decisions in the future.
I organized and led several co-creation workshops with the founders. Each exercise was chosen to uncover undiscovered team truths and appeal to their different personality types.
In the initial workshops, we discussed, identified and solidified the team's trajectory and long-term vision. These workshops were remote and accommodated the global team during COVID-related lockdowns.
BRAND STRATEGY & RESEARCH
The brand brings light to a historically dark market through the use of color. The dynamic spirit is reflected through bright color gradients leaking out from shadow and into light. Photography of vast planetary settings combined with power messages indicate a new world of possibilities. The visual cue of light at night and images of dawn reinforce the idea of shedding light on the industry.
The final identity has a flexibility that functions across many different applications. Warm and welcoming headlines take up plenty of visual space. Images are used as backgrounds, with gradients, overplayed with text, or contained in the brand device.
A BOLD BRAND LANGUAGE
You have been amazing - the partners and I are so impressed with your organization, communication, your understanding of our platform, your presentations, and the design deliverables. I’ve never been through a process like this and it has been incredible to experience. I will definitely be engaging you for my other company if you’re available of course!
CEO, Alta Financial
Several options for the visual & messaging strategy were explored and refined. The chosen direction came from the idea of taking a trip to "A New World".
Destinations and flight or "traveling high" from point A to B to C are incorporated. Shedding "light" into a dark space became a visual metaphor for textures and gradients.
Influenced by space travel posters, and science-fiction book covers, the forthcoming visuals would serve as guidebook for the brave new world that is the cannabis economy. Several elements in the brand mark subtly nod to various ideas of things that are "high" or "elevated".
Overall, the main goal is to appear established in the financial marketplace and encourage trust.
At the core of Alta Financial is the wordmark and icon. It's comprised of Griffon wings and a crown: the wings of a Griffon vulture, the "highest" flying bird clocked at 37,000 feet, metaphor for "height". The crown, a symbol of authority and domain such as a "high" duke.
Iterations of the icon were created and tested with the stakeholders.
The wordmark echos the visual language from the wings with curving ascenders.
Each business arm can also be paired with the wordmark on two lines that equal the height of the lowercase "a" in Alta.
The workshop results were captured and formatted as part of the brand standards guide for future partners, employees, and partners. This strategic move ensures that the shared vision does not become lost as the business and team grows.
A brand device, chosen for its flexibility in application takes inspiration from travel maps and flight paths. The dotted line can be either a container, a connector, or an indicator.
The team set a reasonable goal of attracting 20 operators to apply within a month of launch. The site exceeded that goal and approved 35 projects. Additionally, the platform now has $200,000,000+ in funding available for projects.