Getting car insurance often seems like a chore. But every driver has to do it, so why not make it fun, welcoming and inviting? That's exactly the thinking behind insurance startup Marshmallow, and it recently teamed up with London branding agency Ragged Edge to create a bright, colourful and upbeat new visual identity.
You may not have heard of Marshmallow yet, but it's officially a 'unicorn': a tech firm valued at over a billion dollars. The company specialises in insuring people whose circumstances are hard to price.
In other words, it sees difference as an opportunity, not a cost. The new identity positions it clearly as the insurance brand that backs the exceptions to the rule.
So, what market is Marshmallow aiming at? Well, more than a million people migrate to the UK from all over the world every year. However, most insurance models fail to recognise or value their past experience. This leaves them unnoticed, underinsured and overpriced.
I can speak to this personally, as I recently did a house swap with friends in Israel. Despite having unblemished driving records, virtually no one was willing to insure our pals to drive our car while they were staying in the UK. The people at traditional insurance companies we spoke to were mostly friendly and tried to help, but they just kept telling us their systems wouldn't allow for that kind of flexibility.
Marshmallow is different. Launched in 2016, this fintech business uses sophisticated tech to fairly price risks and cater for those underserved by traditional insurers. Founded by brothers Oliver and Alexander Kent-Braham alongside David Goaté, the company has grown rapidly and was valued at $1.25 billion in 2021.
Marshmallow worked with Ragged Edge to define and deliver a brand that could accelerate that growth, helping them to become the go-to insurance company for people on the up while rallying the internal team around a singular mission.
"We built the brand around 'valuing difference' – an idea that's as distinctive as it is relevant to an audience who are consistently penalised for their diverse backgrounds, experiences and circumstances," says Max Ottignon, co-founder of Ragged Edge. "The new identity celebrates infinite variation in everything from the design to an empathetic tone of voice."
Infinite variation is brought to life by the 'Marshforms', a library of endlessly varied characters that bring function, empathy and delight to every part of the experience.
The characters are constructed from a vast selection of different shapes, representing the breadth of experiences Marshmallow considers when pricing a quote. These shapes form the structure for the rest of the graphic system, ensuring the visual identity feels coherent across every channel and touchpoint.
A new tone of voice was created to show empathy and understanding for the varied journeys of the Marshmallow audience. It's paired with a customised typeface, Marshmallow Youth, which is both highly distinctive and designed for accessibility. Together, the language and typography set out to be inclusive even to those with varying English proficiency levels.
The whole identity is embodied by a logo mascot. Immediately recognisable and full of warmth and character, it sets the tone for the whole brand, welcoming the experiences of the wide array of people Marshmallow serves.
All in all, it's a bright, jolly and entertaining identity that's light years away from a traditional car insurance brand, and that's all to the good. We particularly love how the brand character's eyes dart from side to side in motion assets (although it's funny, we think we've seen that somewhere before).
"We needed the rebrand to speak to individuality without patronising our diverse audience," says Sam Knott, VP of acquisition (growth) at Marshmallow. "Ragged Edge has captured that perfectly. The brand allows us to communicate Marshmallow's vision and strong sense of purpose, empowering us to deepen our customer relationships and expand our offerings while staying true to our mission that we back those who step outside of the norm."
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