Earth Finance

We were commissioned to carry out a qualitative research project into the subprime mortgage market to gain an understanding of how this would help in developing a communications strategy for the Earth brand.

The Objectives
To understand consumer perceptions in the market place of companies identified as key competitors to Earth, particularly their communication and positioning.

The key questions we asked were: How should it be positioned to maximise potential for future growth? How should it communicate with its target audience? What media do consumers think worked best?

The Method
Four focus groups were arranged, two were located in Earth heartland and two in non Earth heartland. The groups comprised of three types of people, some who had loans with competitors, some who had enquired but not taken out loans and some who were aware of these companies, but had not enquired. The market was divided into two sectors; Building Societies and High Street Banks and Loan companies.

Conclusions
Characteristics of loan companies were seen as having more similarities than differences. Operating from ‘call centres’, advertising was their route to market, a medium treated with some scepticism. Customers said that advertising in the sector was seen as all the same.
Our first decision was to take a good look at what the customers thought of the name Earth Finance.
The name Earth was seen as a huge positive. It had innate values which offered the opportunity to segment it from the competition. The visual image of Earth had wholesale recognition and suggested strength. However the words ‘finance’ or ‘loan’ were for people with a with a poor credit history whereas the use of ‘mortgage’ was reassuring.

As a result of the research we carried out a name change and a major rebrand which provided a foundation to re-launch the brand.