ANNA Money created a debit card linked to an app that miaows when you spend money, designed to help business owners keep on top of their spending.
The miaowing card is the latest innovation from ANNA, which fuses artificial intelligence with human insights, and was inspired by a recent study showing that 90% of small business failures can be attributed to cash flow problems.
The feature was crafted by further insight from design experts at ANNA and animal psychologist, Ellena Hinson, who suggests small business owners look to cats for tips on managing their finances – “Business owners can learn a lot from cat communication. Communicating with our clients needs to be simple and professional, yet timely and effective. Most importantly, business owners need to; carry some charisma like our trusted felines when getting the job done so customers warm to us straight away. ”
ANNA Money has also released a ‘behind the scenes’ film revealing the lengths they went to in order to capture the perfect ‘miaow’ for their app. The video (available in 30 second and three minute edits here) stars BBC3 comedian Luke McQueen as a fictional member of the ANNA marketing team, interviewing dozens of cats for the role of the ANNA miaow.
Discussing the new feature, and why business owners should look to cats for career advice, experienced pet behaviour therapist and lecturer Ellena Hinson comments: “Miaowing is the perfect form of communication – it’s short, sharp but not intrusive, and alerts us to a cat’s needs immediately. Less jarring than a dog’s bark, but loud and direct enough to do the job, a miaow is the perfect sound for business owners looking to emulate a cat’s communication skills. ”
Daljit Singh, Chief Design Officer at ANNA Money comments: “Our miaowing debit cards are a light-hearted addition to our existing financial services for small businesses, but they’re rooted in a serious issue. The miaow notification is designed to be fun – we want business owners to enjoy what they do, even if it involves spending their hard earned money. It will help business owners keep track of what and when they’re spending, with a cheeky reminder every time they make a purchase. A recent survey found that 90% of small business failures are down to cash flow issues, so we’re doing all we can at ANNA to help business owners keep on top of their incomings and outgoings. We even have plans to release our own ‘lucky cat’ for businesses, which will connect to the ANNA platform and purr loudly whenever an invoice is paid in. Innovation in card design isn’t new in the world of challenger banks, but we think our miaowing card is probably both the most fun, and useful quirky card out there at the moment.
As many of ANNA’s internal team have backgrounds in design, media and advertising we informally brainstorm ideas every day and the miaowing card was one of them. We’d been thinking about how FinTech brands are either a bit dry and conservative and commoditised or, at the other end of the scale, they try very hard to innovate, to be kooky and to stand out.
ANNA is designed to be different; it’s a brand that behaves against industry type, a product that provides support beyond a business current account but one that is warm, approachable and fun. We have a sense of humour that comes through the visual identity, tone of voice and illustrations and ANNA strives to be a brand that people can have an emotional connection with. So when we’re dreaming up new creative and campaign ideas the fundamentals of the brand are always at the forefront of our minds and we want to spark conversations and get people talking.
ANNA only launched this summer and during the run-up hardly anyone knew who we were, or what we were. People downloaded the app and then asked “Why are you asking for my ID?” or “sorry I didn’t realise what this was”. The proportion of people who made it from download to getting a card ordered was just 5% whereas the FinTech average was 25%.
Also in FinTech we’ve recently seen lots of card innovations so we thought it’d be amusing to create our own; a debit card that miaows when you use contactless.
The narrative that we developed was all about the quest to find The Perfect Miaow. It was no easy task. 300 cats auditioned, hands were scratched, cats cajoled. Eventually, the perfect miaow was found, and built into the ANNA app. Our brand story was now also a product truth, something we could build a whole campaign around.
All aspects of the miaowing card project, from Tim Webb’s card innovation trials and tribulations to the cat auditions and then the final contactless miaow payment were captured in a ‘making of…’ film and shared on our YouTube channel supported by social media activity.
Five time lengths were made, from six seconds to three minutes. Two-thirds of the digital spend was on skippable formats, because we backed ourselves to not be skipped, which would result in lower cost per views. We utilised lookalike audiences based on our previous sx months of acquisition advertising, ensuring a summer of hard work wasn’t wasted. Oath Network helped us extend our reach to sites such as Techcrunch and Huffpost, to support our social channel activity and Common Industry worked with us on editorial outreach.
But we also wanted to be seen in the real world, off digital, on the streets and make the brand feel more tangible. So we told London about our miaowing cards, via 150 Routemaster buses.
Some stats and results so far:
- Site traffic graph during campaign – search and direct traffic up 268% during the campaign (compared to previous 19-day period before we went live)
- Signup numbers throughout campaign – We have increased our total customer base by 46% since November 1st. That’s a third of all our customers have signed up since the Miaow film went live. Daily card orders increased by 72% during the campaign, compared with October’s daily card orders.
- Total play count for all videos – 2.1m completed views (by Wednesday 21st November).
- Clickthroughs from paid activity – 25,000 clicks
Ellena Hinson, ABTC Registered Clinical Animal Behaviourist, Full Member of the APBC, College & University Lecturer, said:
As business owners, we’re familiar with the idea of working all hours. We’re so busy keeping our customers happy there’s little time for anything else, least of all relaxing or taking care of our own business’ needs. But what if we could be more like cats? This would help us cut down on admin and unnecessary tasks.
Most of a cat’s time is spent relaxing, sunbathing and caring for themselves, and yet their waking hours are about getting what they want, when they want it with ruthless efficiency. They’re pretty elegant with all of this too, and it’s all down to how they communicate with their humans.
Cats form special relationships brilliantly well, and maintain these bonds with minimal effort. It might be a furry head butt, a gentle purr or a cuddle on the sofa, but each interaction is designed to maximise affection in pursuit of what they want. They’re very good at wrapping their humans around their paws.
Business owners can learn a lot from cat communication. Communicating with our clients needs to be simple and professional, yet timely and effective. Most importantly, business owners need to; carry some charisma like our trusted felines when getting the job done so customers warm to us straight away.
“If you’re a business owner, you could do a lot worse than paying attention to the three communication principles of cats. If you’re keen to get what you want while keeping client relationships strong, be clear, assertive and tactile:
- Clear – always ask for what you want, in a polite but firm manner
- Assertive – don’t shy away from your ambitions but be tactful in your approach
- Tactile – check in often with simple checks, keep communication positive and ensure you’re offering advice or solutions with each contact
Miaowing is the perfect form of communication – it’s short, sharp but not intrusive, and alerts us to a cat’s needs immediately. Less jarring than a dog’s bark, but loud and direct enough to do the job, a miaow is the perfect sound for business owners looking to emulate a cat’s communication skills.
It’s all down to leaving a memorable mark in your own way. A quick call to a client to see how they’re getting on (and nudging them on an overdue invoice) can work wonders, just like a quick paw tap from a cat. Doing this with charisma will encourage your clients to interact with you because they want to speak to you, not because they need your services.