Be Beauty in a Fintech is zenziya*

* zenziya has the same pronunciation as “sencilla”, which in Spanish means simple.

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Understand that Simplicity is Beautiful

A businessman and his team in Costa Rica decided to experiment in the fintech universe. They developed an online personal lending business, something already known in the region; however, they go one step further:

  • An algorithm that, only requesting the client’s ID, in less than a minute granted a credit
  • An entirely online process, without paper, without bureaucracy and without having to go to an office to sign contracts
  • In a couple of hours, the money was in the account of its customers

Interacting through a bot, mainly on Facebook, in less than six months they had more than 3,000 customers and some of them had applied for more than one credit. It should be noted that, in Costa Rica, companies, before promoting their website, invite to visit their page on the social network.

Business grew exponentially.

The brand used was Efectivo Ya -Cash Now, a generic that expressed, with no other ambition, the functionalities of the offer.

It is at this moment when Allegro 234 is summoned and joined the project with a series of precise objectives:

  • Developing the path to turn the business into a branded company that supports and leverages growth, both in services and geography
  • Building a brand strategy aligned with the company’s purpose which would make this new brand a catalyst platform for its growth
  • Creating verbal and visual expressions that are consistent with both corporate as well as brand strategy
  • Defining a brand activation plan that would bring it to life, synthesizing all its conceptual development and achieving the desired impact

The greatest charm that had been achieved so far was to satisfy a need in a simple way and that was the greatest appeal of this offer to customers. Simple is beautiful.

It was time to evolve, to professionalise, to move from a business to a company with a powerful brand.

Then it would come the activation and bring this brand to life, something that we will discuss in the last part of the presentation of this case.

Recognizing the Complexity of a Fintech is Simple

The first step was to delve into the fintech universe, analyse trends, understand people’s behaviour in relation to technology in general and this sector.

Rubén Galgo was part of the team from the very beginning; then Julio Ferro and Sebastián Gersbach also joined us.

We developed strategic options by defining scenarios, realistically understanding moment and place:

  • The situation was analysed from a global perspective, without losing sight of the aspiration for regional growth in Central America
  • Alternatives were established for the company growth and what implications, pros and cons each of them would have had
  • Key audiences were studied -current and future, and the competitive environment -direct and indirect, traditional and new
  • Functional competitive advantages of the business were established, especially those related to its origin as an online company -in terms of business processes, not having offices is key in this type of financial venture

Good strategies are those that find fluid ways to anticipate what’s coming.

A Business Built Around its Customers

The work with the company’s team, including workshops with all its employees, the available information and our own experience led to the definition of different strategic options that eventually led to the definition of company attributes and a dynamic business model.

The business model, unlike the traditional approach, established its evolution in a way that, at every moment, it answered to the reality of the company and was prepared for its future evolution.

This decision sought not to force a model that, on the one hand, would respond to different demands that would change over time, and on the other, would not remain in a series of declamatory phrases without contents.

It Is Not Only Economic Results that Are Sought; Positive Impact Must Be Achieved

One of the issues that emerged during the company’s strategic development was that its purpose went beyond economic results and that, fundamentally, it should generate a positive impact on social ones.

Experts in Your Small Details.

In-depth attention to detail is enhanced when one begins to see that certain sectors of society are neglected by traditional financial institutions. This meant that the brand should also synthesize these intentions and that its activation should work on this front in a practical and operational way.

Meanwhile, the positive impact on the environment was covered by characteristics of the business as it is:

  • Online -the company branch is carried in the pocket
  • Paperless -all operations are carried out from a computer or mobile phone
  • No bureaucracy -contracts are signed electronically without the need to go to an office
  • With specific products to address social inclusion issues -watching for growth rather than encouraging spending
  • Headquarters designed to minimize energy consumption -even building a vertical garden of more than 100 m2

It was decided to consider social and environmental concerns as part of the business, although not to do business, and this is also a new way of seeing a company that goes beyond the traditional CSR.

Thinking of the Brand as a Platform for Growth Is Simple

Without going deeper into technicalities, and with the corporate strategy, it was time to go into and develop the brand strategy.

In order to do so, certain attributes were defined that the brand should synthesize and that would act as a liaison with both the business model and the company’s strategy. From this point, we worked on the promise of the brand considering both its real and functional benefits -what the company offers, as well as the emotional ones -what people receive and how they feel living the experience; personality, tones and manners.

This project included working groups with the company’s employees, conducting online surveys, and studying the psychographic and behavioural patterns of customers.

The result was a conceptual model that allowed the brand to become a strategic business platform, because its structure was aligned with the ambitions of the company.

The novelty of this approach was that, being a business that would change in the coming years, its positioning was defined in an evolutionary, fluid and dynamic way, preparing each of its movements to its near future without forgetting what it should already promise and fulfil today.

Likewise, the promise was drafted according to future communication needs, considering the Customer Journey.

A personality was defined based on the archetype of the creator with some “brushstrokes” of navigator. It was found to be a good way to establish a dialogue with the audiences was through a female brand -something that is not common in financial institutions, urban, cosy and executive.

Creating a Brand that Synthesizes the Company Is a zenziya Solution

A simple solution does not imply that it does not entail complexities.

For the creation of verbal and visual expressions, the competitive environment of the brand was visited again, not only to understand its state of the art but also to confirm the levels of differentiation and familiarity that these expressions should entail.

For those who have gone through a naming process, they know how difficult it is and how it’s daily becoming more complex. It was looking for a name that can be representative, pronounceable, memorable that could give new content and that in practical terms could be registered and have a URL.

From a broad list of more than 250 possible names and through several filters Allegro 234 came to a short list of five, of which two were finalists and one as the name chosen:


*: zenziya has the same pronunciation as “sencilla”, which in Spanish means simple.

Subsequently simple shapes were designed and an its visual expression was created, with a low boxed lighted typography to show openness and closeness.

The “e” of the logo is rotated in allusion to his agile, customer-oriented way of doing things.

The symbol is an interpretation of the “z” geometrically constructed and designed to live in mobile environments.

Geometrics are perfect because it’s simple, so this brand expression is a statement of intent.

Chromatically we have relied on five colours ranging from blue, which bring us closer to the digital world, to purple and mauve, which submerge us in the feminine and executive worlds.

Finally, we added the company’s brand promise: “zenziya, expert in your small details”.

In order to visualize it better, several application examples were developed, and a Brand Book was developed additionally establishing certain standards that were easy to apply.

Bringing the Brand to Life by Generating Revenue and Creating Value Is a zenziya Action

Being an entirely online company, the Customer Journey was designed as a double loop instead of seeing it as the traditional funnel that goes from awareness to purchase.

Given that a memorable experience must be based on what is lived, the way in which it is counted, the symbology and rites that are created around the brand, before planning the activation actions it was necessary to understand the service, design its key parts, establish the touching points, define the expected impact and define metrics and goals to be fulfilled.

With the service underway and its adjustments in the implementation process -up to September 2019 the continuous improvement process continues, the brand activation plan was developed, supported by four main cornerstones:

  • Audiences
  • Business
  • Technology
  • Design

Being Flexible and Giving Consistency Create a zenziya Experience

The execution and activation, as expected, are full of surprises. Hence our approach is flexible and fluid, aligned with the times we live in.

Some assumptions were changed; for example, instead of replacing the previous “brands” with the new one, zenziya has been elevated to the level of corporate and commercial brand, and the rest of them have been maintained and given a specific role as product brands.

The campaigns that are being carried out, for now and if no new services are offered, will remain in the realm of functional benefits. The only exception is with those clients who have already requested more than two credits and are beginning to communicate in a differentiated way and more aligned with how they feel living the zenziya experience.

191012_zenziya_movies Deco

Since the brand was launched, the company has had a growth of 17% monthly in customers and 15% in borrowed capital per capita.

During the first 18 months and with only 50 employees, zenziya provided service to more than 6,000 customers, of which more than 50% are recurring.

Given that the current intention is to give credits for growth and to people who have the capacity to pay their dues, zenziya has approved only 5% of more than 200,000 applications.

In addition, 95% of customers would recommend the brand and the second brand that follows only reaches 14%. For its part the NPS -Net Promoter Score, is 70% (quarterly survey conducted by Allegro 234 since January 2019 – more than 500 answers, 95% confidence level, 3.6% sample error).

The plans for growth in services and geography continue and zenziya can already be considered a player of reference in Central American.

In terms of social impact, zenziya is committed to:

  • Advise and protect the customers through its online channels – sometimes saying “no” is the best help you can give
  • Honour transparency requirements – e.g.: it is the only fintech in the region with explicit and audited privacy policies and data protection
  • Contribute and work towards meeting the goals of quality education (4), decent work and economic growth (8) and reduction of inequities (10) -UN 2030 SDG

In addition, as a brand and to strengthen its positioning, among other things, agreements are being closed with NGOs and sponsorships to local athletes, and branded contents related to education in general and financial training are developed.

The future is today. The brand continues to evolve and is preparing to support the growth of the company as a platform, offering new services and entering new regional markets.

About Allegro 234

We are catalysts for growth through brands and culture.

Allegro 234 is a global branding and innovation consulting firm that helps companies grow and transform by connecting brands, people and experiences.

Since our beginnings in 2003, we have worked with companies such as Cosentino, Casa del Libro, Codorníu, Bodegas Torres, Repsol, Uralita, Uriach, Grupo Lar, Macri Group, Osborne, Junta de Castilla y León, AEBrand, Medinge Group and zenziya among others.

We differentiate ourselves by our ability to make our customers’ businesses worthy of admiration. Together with them, we work on solutions that generate value, improve results and achieve positive social and environmental impact. Our team combines different knowledge, skills and experiences that allow us to develop strategies that solve with creativity and designs that are integrated into the business, and thus create, promote and transform, businesses and brands to anticipate both human and digital.

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<a href="" target="_self">Cristian Saracco</a>

Cristian Saracco

About the author

Founding Partner | Allegro234 Founding Member | The Flow Collective Full Member | Medinge Group Member Editorial Committee | Branders Magazine

Nov 7, 2019

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