Challenge
Juxtaposing differentiation and oneness

As companies increasingly turned to corporate credit cards, customer segmentation was pervasive with issuers competing to provide businesses with more custom-tailored functions and payment services. Even as product differentiation intensified, there was a simultaneous emphasis on one-card programs. Along with the desire for these one-card programs was the value-added services beyond the plastic. 

Visa Commercial Solutions made up a sizable proportion of Visa’s overall volume and was growing rapidly. It consisted of many products and services and anticipated additional products and services being introduced to the market as competition for comprehensive payment solutions increased. In order to better position around the one-card category mandate, Visa needed an architecture and naming strategy that communicated how commercial products and services integrated with one another and that would allow Visa to combine any appropriate number of products and services together in a way that communicated their interconnectedness – their oneness. FullSurge was hired to build this global strategy for Visa.

Solution
Focusing on relevance rather than awareness

FullSurge recommended that Visa form a project core team comprised of representatives from product marketing, brand marketing and product. In addition to the kick-off meeting and subsequent regular presentations with the core team, FullSurge conducted in-depth one-on-one interviews with US global product professionals, the five regional product heads, as well as global marketing. We also conducted group interviews with the commercial product, small business product, and commercial sales teams. We also benchmarked key competitors.

While Visa was ubiquitously known as a consumer brand, its awareness on the commercial side was significantly less – especially on the small business side where American Express and Open were dominating the market. Our architecture recommendation included establishing clear delineation between offerings for the consumer and commercial segments. The objective here was twofold: 1) to raise overall Visa awareness with the general commercial target audience, and 2) to establish overall Visa market segmentation relevance. At the product architecture level, we recommended streamlining from six offerings “buckets” to three and recognizing that a plastic card in and of itself was not a solution. 

Regarding the naming strategy, Visa had employed a descriptive strategy thinking these types of names would most clearly communicate their offerings to customers. In practice, the opposite was actually happening. Customers were having a hard time distinguishing between proprietary Visa offering and category generic offering. FullSurge recommended Visa could strategically use more proprietary names to create competitive advantage and increase brand awareness and relevance and to help them to stop giving away “much of the shop for free.” We also recommended names be developed around the offering's benefit rather than its function.

While Visa was ubiquitously known as a consumer brand, its awareness on the commercial side was significantly less – especially on the small business side where American Express and Open were dominating the market.

Impact
Using naming strategically to create competitive advantage

The client fully embraced our strategy recommendations including:

  • Brand architecture strategy
  • Product architecture strategy
  • Naming strategy
  • Naming convention
We were asked to create naming decision tools, naming guidelines as well as to evaluate 20 exiting Visa names to see if they needed to be renamed based upon the new naming strategy.

The new strategy was implemented across Visa globally as well as on the website.

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