Despite an array of new digital options, cash is still king when it comes to making everyday purchases, and in Switzerland, the only place to pick up cash is at a bank or ATM. Until Swiss fintech startup Sonect’s bright idea, that is. Sonect figured: if anyone with a car and an app can be a taxi, then anyone with cash and an app could be an ATM. Using Sonect’s app, any small boutique or bodega can be used as an ATM and nearby users may withdraw cash free of charge. Sonect users can forget the hassle of finding an ATM and get to know local shops they may have just walked past previously. Sonect is particularly proud to help build communities in this way.
Fintech startups are typically short of two things: time and money. In order to leverage Sonect’s first-mover advantage, we had to develop a strong brand in record time. We took the risk of doing away with testing altogether; each change we made was visible to the public from the get-go. Sonect wanted to stand out from the more technical look-and-feel of the mainstream digital payment crowd by focusing on its community-building strength. The firm’s branding had to be simultaneously unique and cost-effective.
Sonect’s brand is founded on the principle that a community is a collection of individuals. The app’s interface allows for a wide variety of figures and vignettes from everyday life to be created using a small number of simple geometric forms in various combinations/animations. Each marketing tool is thus tailored to the user and his or her local region. Even Sonect’s language settings are variable, allowing a person to use the app in various Swiss dialects—the equivalent of the app calling a soft drink pop, soda or coke in the US, depending on where the user is.