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New Deluxe Brand Leverages Financial Services Legacy into FinTech Leadership

The Challenge

    • Shift perception of Deluxe Financial Services from a provider of checks to a provider of technology and services for financial institutions.
    • Build on 100 years of Deluxe Financial Services brand equity, while retooling the brand to make it relevant for 21st century customers.
    • Articulate Deluxe’s strategy for its many technology acquisitions, aligning separate offerings into one cohesive brand and product portfolio

Nearly everyone who has written a check in the US knows the name Deluxe. For more than a century, Deluxe Corporation has been an innovator in the financial services industry. Key parts of the financial payments infrastructure—including personalized checks, high-speed check printing, and machine-readable MICR text—were either invented or improved upon by Deluxe.

However, the rise of credit and debit cards, online banking, and payments using mobile devices have diminished the importance of checks. Deluxe has worked steadily over the past 20 years to expand beyond checks with a portfolio of technologies and services for financial institutions. But while Deluxe’s financial services have made progress against formidable competitors, the industry stubbornly equates Deluxe with checks.

That’s why Deluxe Corporation called Schermer. Their challenge to us: Make the Deluxe brand relevant to financial institutions in the 21st century. Update it to reflect the forward-thinking financial services that Deluxe now offers, beyond checks.

Redefining the future by understanding the past

The Schermer team began by exploring Deluxe’s identity, past and present. We conducted a proprietary brand workshop with key Deluxe Financial Services leaders. We also interviewed Deluxe stakeholders, customers, and industry analysts, and supplemented that work by surveying hundreds of additional customers.

We discovered that even after 100 years, and in the midst of a rapidly changing financial industry, the Deluxe brand still commands respect and opens doors. Customers love working with Deluxe and want to continue their relationships—if Deluxe offers products that financial institutions find valuable.

For Deluxe internally, their century-old brand was seen as both a blessing and a curse. Yes, it opened doors, but Deluxe Financial Services had become much more than checks. They needed buyers in financial institutions to embrace the “much more.”

Opportunity of the century

The Schermer team saw Deluxe’s position as a strategic foundation that no competitor could equal. Deluxe has a sterling reputation among financial institutions, along with a deep history of working with them and an understanding of what they need. Deluxe’s past was an advantage, if we could push it into the future.

First, we developed a brand personality and tone of voice that captured Deluxe’s working relationship with its clients. Collaborative and trustworthy, inventive and practical, expert and confident are all qualities of that relationship. After 100 years, Deluxe has seen it all, but never acts like a know-it-all.

Next, we based the brand and messaging strategies on current Deluxe Financial Services offerings. Deluxe aligns its technology products and services to the lifecycle of financial institution customers, from acquisition through retention. We crystalized this into the key brand message: Deluxe helps financial institutions turn relationships into revenue. Once a financial institution has onboarded a customer, Deluxe helps them drive deeper customer engagement to achieve more profitable revenue.

An Identity that Goes with the flow

Visually, we brought the Deluxe Financial brand to life with an identity system based on the suggested shape of the Deluxe “D”. We call it The Connection Stream. It features horizontal, inter-connected shapes that convey movement, flow, and things working in harmony: like Deluxe people and customers, products and services, people and technology. The Connection Stream provides both an ownable look and extensive platform for building a wide range of communications, from websites to advertising to trade show exhibits.

Schermer also established image guidelines that build off elements from the brand platform: the intersection of technology and relationships, driven by a spirit of optimism and ingenuity. People are shown interacting with technology and each other in ways that are confident, capable, and resourceful.

Reenergized for the journey ahead

We rolled the new brand strategy, messaging and identity out across all areas of the division, from tradeshows to the Deluxe Exchange conference website and signage. We introduced a new collateral system and advertising campaign. We also applied the new Deluxe Financial brand to a redesigned, responsive website, leading UI design and content strategy. The homepage headline perfectly introduces their new brand: Deluxe helps you add value through every step of the customer journey.

By working with Schermer, Deluxe Financial Services now stands ready to build an ever-more relevant brand and even more profitable relationships in the changing and competitive financial industry.