OneMain illustration

For most companies, mission represents management’s view of what the company intends to achieve in the future, often expressing a higher-order benefit not only to customers but to society as a whole. In contrast, a brand is an intangible concept that helps people identify a company and associate it with a desired set of attributes. Most often, mission and brand are separate constructs within an organization, although ideally they each support the other.

Sometimes, however, a company’s mission is the brand. And in these instances, the company’s mission drives how it communicates with the marketplace, the value proposition it offers and the future it envisions for itself and its customers.

This was the case with DeSantis Breindel client OneMain Financial, which provides personal loans and insurance products to “non-prime” consumers. With more than 1,400 branches in 44 states, OneMain is a vital source of financial well-being for millions of Americans.

Following a period of rapid expansion, the company came to us wanting a new brand that would not only support its mission but fully embody it. This mission came to be expressed in a powerful statement: “Improving the financial well-being of hard-working Americans.”

More than a lender

The new OneMain brand was developed to bring this mission to life for customers, prospects, employees and recruits. It is designed to demonstrate that the company is more than a lender; it is a partner, a source of comfort and a provider of confidence. The brand strategy is summarized in a powerful essence line: “Breathe easier today. Build confidence for tomorrow.”

The notion of “well-being,” the core of the company’s mission, is made almost tangible by associating it with the idea of “breathe easier,” a physical manifestation of an abstract concept.

To truly bring the mission-focused brand to life, it needed to become more than a series of words on the company’s website or headlines on posters in corporate offices. It needed to live in the hearts and minds of OneMain’s employees, so that they could in turn deliver an experience to customers that embodied the “improving the financial well-being” mission.

Experiencing the brand

To provide a mission-focused journey, we developed new customer experience principles. Customer experience principles define the desired or expected behavior of employees and also inspire the way a brand is delivered—the words and images used to communicate the brand. When done right, experience principles deliver seamless customer experiences across the touchpoints of the customer journey, including both digital and in-person interactions.

OneMain’s customer experience principles are summarized in three powerful and easy-to-remember words: 

  • Empathy
  • Ease
  • Encouragement

All components of the brand, both verbal and visual elements, were carefully aligned with the three experience principles. This was key because the brand was directly experienced by consumers across multiple touchpoints, including the company’s branches and its website.

Clutter-free, positive imagery

“Breathe easier today. Build confidence for tomorrow.” inspired the new OneMain visual brand. Every element of the design system conveys clarity and confidence, beginning with the streamlined color palette, built around just two foundational colors.

OneMain brand elements

Through the visual system, customers experience the brand as if they were looking out at the horizon on a cloudless day. Comprehensive and detailed photography guidelines are similarly supportive of the brand and the experience principles. The system uses images of humanizing life situations to suggest empathy. They are free of clutter to convey ease. And they include a sense of positive action and progress—“exhale moments”—to underscore the idea of encouragement.

OneMain brand design

A complete system of iconography focuses on simplicity, communicating the most while showing the least. A customized Illustration system allows OneMain to express its brand in a friendly, relatable way, serving as a visual complement to the photography style. Data visualization standards provide a consistent approach to showing financial information in a clear, simplified fashion—again, reflecting the experience principles. And extensive brand guidelines include “compositions”: very detailed instructions and illustrations for combining multiple components of the system in specific applications.

OneMain icons

The launch of the new OneMain brand reaffirmed the company’s commitment to achieving its mission, and strengthened its connection to customers. By taking a mission-first approach, the brand inspired employees to deliver an experience that truly helps their customers breathe easier…and feel more confident. 

To learn more about our approach to branding financial services firms, contact us.

About the author

Seth Margolis

Seth Margolis is a Senior Strategy Director who has spearheaded branding efforts for financial services, professional services and technology companies, as well as for not-for-profit organizations.