INTERVIEW: Nutmeg Brand & Customer Marketing Director Grant Warnock

Alex Sword


The Financial Services Forum

Nutmeg Brand and Customer Marketing Director Grant Warnock will be speaking at our customer experience event on 30 November. Register here.


Nutmeg’s Brand and Customer Marketing Director claims that the robo-advisor’s recent brand refresh represents brand maturing alongside its product offering and customer base.

As a company which now has ten years of history behind it, Nutmeg’s customers have made their own progression in that time, says Grant Warnock.

Recent voice of the customer interviews highlighted how its customers may have progressed through life journeys, starting out with a lifetime ISA product, moving onto buying a house and having children. At the same time, Nutmeg has broadened out its product portfolio over the years.

This sense of transition prompted Nutmeg to consider maturing as a brand, as it had looked quite similar for some time, says Grant.

The resulting rebrand is wide-ranging, encompassing relatively minor changes to the typeface and capitalisation of the mobile app icon alongside side-lining the use of cartoon characters in favour of more simple shapes.

The user experience has also undergone various changes, although Grant says these may not be immediately apparent. These were all changes Nutmeg had wanted to make for a while, but saw the opportunity to combine with the brand update. The company has switched the codebase that the website is built on, which makes it easier to introduce new changes without requiring the help of an engineer.

“It puts the marketing side of content management within the control of marketing – which maybe doesn’t seem that revolutionary, but five years ago for any change we’d have to turn to the engineering team,” says Grant. He adds that the marketing team can now be “much more agile.”

Alongside the new brand came a new campaign around the headline “put your money where your mind is”. This came out of a series of discussions which revealed how people were torn between “dreaming of better times” such as holidays while also undertaking a considerable degree of practical planning in order to manage newly accumulated savings.

The campaign focuses on people making some choices and plans which allow these dreams to come true.

“We’ve been known for campaigns using bold and bright colours, with a strategy of shouting quite loudly. As a new investment proposition, we wanted to attract people who wouldn’t normally invest.”

He says that the immediately quantifiable metrics have been positive since the refresh in October: navigation through the site has not been impacted, including conversions, while brand scores have shown that the message about maturity is cutting through.

“Some people feel with the new look that with maturing comes quality. We’re not the new kid on the block. That’s reflected a bit in the brand perceptions that we’re a slightly more mature company.”

Grant says that Nutmeg is now able to “quiet down – we don’t always have to be shouting. We can address more mature themes as our brand matures.”

He notes that the world is quite reflective and thoughtful, and good advertising reflects the themes of the times. Nutmeg also benefits now from not having to explain the proposition itself in the message or establish itself and the category in the market.

“At the beginning you have to introduce people to the idea then sell yourself. You can rely a bit more on that knowledge.”

He still views Nutmeg fundamentally as a challenger brand, however.

“I wouldn’t say we’ve got comfortable – we haven’t given up being a little challenging to the industry, but there are different challenger positions you can take.”

All of this is informing Nutmeg’s next set of product plans – “now people have been with us for some time, they have quite deep relationships product-wise.”

The company is increasingly looking at other aspects of the advice space.

“We’re able to be there for people over the longer term and able to deepen that relationship a little bit.”


Measuring success

The main KPIs at Nutmeg are customer number growth and assets under management, Grant says, to offer a consideration of volume vs value.

The company also measures certain brand metrics, including benchmarking against competitors and for how many people the brand is top of mind.

In recent years, the firm has tightened its scrutiny of performance marketing, maintaining tight control of cost per acquisition across every channel, including digital.

“It is so easy for [digital ad spend] to get out of control. You can fool yourself you’re growing when you’re spending too much and not being efficient in your advertising.”

Nutmeg also uses event tracking analysis to find friction in journeys, with the goal of using small improvements to make the conversion funnel really efficient.

Within the company, marketing falls under the broader category of growth, which also encompasses product and design.

“We think it’s not useful to have different owners. From the moment someone lands on the site through to becoming a customer and their logged in experience, we share those metrics and look at the same ones.

“It’s quite a cohesive view of the customer experience because end-to-end conversion for a visitor involves so many touchpoints.”

He adds: “I’ve never worked at a company where the link was so good. Typically marketers and engineers don’t work side by side – we work very closely with product managers.”

Grant says that the company may be less agile than on day one, but as a relatively new company it still has a distinct advantage over many other financial institutions.


Getting heard through podcasts

Another change that has come with increased maturity is a change in the mix of channels. While press, print, outdoor and tube remain focuses, tube has become less effective due to the pandemic, for obvious reasons.

Audio has become more of a focus, including podcasting. This includes host-read adverts and experimenting with different formats. For example, Nutmeg’s chief investment officer did a one-minute Q&A with history Dan Snow on his podcast.

“Podcasts are becoming quite programmatic, which is good because you can set up quite big podcast programmes quite quickly. But I also quite like these quirky formats where you can interact with the host.”

The company sponsors a show on the Times and funds a dockless cycle scheme in London.

“It’s a balance between lots of smaller things and the big things that can be rolled out efficiently and quickly.”

He highlights how high the spend is from brands such as Vanguard, Fidelity and PensionBee.

“We don’t have to be fighting through that noise all the time, but if you’re too quiet for too long in a noisy market it will hit your growth metrics.”

Grant mentions sponsoring Mark Kermode’s film podcast, noting that the film critic was happy to promote a socially responsible portfolio. With Dan Snow, the content was created to fit the theme of bubbles into the historical context of financial events in the past, such as the South Sea Bubble.

“It’s not a hard product sell, it’s much more about engaging people and keeping them interested. It’s still not the place to hammer out product details.

“If I’ve got 30 seconds’ space, I don’t want to talk about the ISA for 30 seconds.”

But Grant is particularly interested in the potential for the combination of digital planning tools with outdoor assets.

“You used to buy posters based on postcode; now it’s quite sophisticated planning.”

All of this will come into play as Grant looks to take the new brand and push it forward.



The Tech-Driven Customer Journey

Image credit; Nutmeg/YouTube

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