It’s unusual to write an article about a client when you know your relationship has an end in sight. But CoreShares is no ordinary client.
We go back a long way. In 2015, when our fledgling business was just two years old, we were approached to develop a website for an ambitious new asset manager called CoreShares (then still COREshares, until we all realised how exhausting it is to capitalise the first half of a company name every time you write it). By launching revolutionary ETFs, CoreShares’ mission was to give almost anyone easy access to low cost, intelligent investing.
Throwback: ‘Investing shouldn’t be rocket science’
The big idea was that investing doesn’t have to be daunting – anyone can do it! So the brand was heavily retail focused towards everyday investors rather than just professionals.
The entire website showed how simple investing could be, with real, relatable images and jargon-free descriptions that steered refreshingly clear of terrifying investment terms. The feel was urban, relatable and human – a rare look at a time when investing always = grey-haired white guy.
Soon after, we started work on a mammoth task: creating the UI and building the front-end of a retail investing platform.
The platform was colourful and friendly and introduced SA’s first fully paperless FICA process. Unlike any other investment platform in the country at the time, usability was the number one priority. We worked hard to make the system relatable, compared to most other systems that made you feel like you had to be an actuary to understand how to use it.
In 2020 this platform was sold to etfSA.co.za. We’ve since worked on a redesign with them and you can still use it today.
Maturing to B2B: pivoting to advisors
In 2018, CoreShares moved their focus to their relationship with financial advisors, acknowledging their crucial role in guiding people’s investment decisions.
This seemed a natural point at which to redesign the website to shift the emphasis from retail investors to professional investors. It was time to grow up a little bit: the colours got darker and the brand became a lot more serious. Images were still urban, but grittier and more architectural rather than people-focused. User friendliness was still front of mind, and so we restructured the website to prioritise the types of information that professional investors would need easy access to in their everyday work: products factsheets, NAV pricing, fund holdings at a glance, useful graphs and a knowledge library of rich content.
Of course our general approach to media also shifted during this time, focused heavily on LinkedIn and sharing rich content with financial advisors and professional investors. This proved to be very successful, with high rates of content consumption across the site.
A visionary rebrand
In 2021 ,CoreShares launched a compelling new brand positioning: “Liberate the Future”. Beautiful brand imagery (created by Pump – link) brought this powerful concept home visually on the website. The market resonated with this – we saw Google Display Ad click-through rates unlike any we’d seen in the past, as well as high levels of content consumption and conversions.
Graduating to the big league: 10X-ing CoreShares
2022 brought a major new development: 10X Investments had acquired CoreShares.
This was a tricky space to navigate, as 10X has traditionally been heavily retail-investor-focused. Integrating the CoreShares philosophy with 10X’s messaging around financial advisors has therefore been a months-long process. Though this is ongoing, it’s only a matter of time before CoreShares’ digital marketing moves in house and is handed over to the 10X marketing team.
This will mean the end of an era for The Principality. CoreShares has been one of our longest-standing clients, and working with the team over the past 7 years has been hugely rewarding for us. Gareth, Michelle, Chris and Zizi (and many team members who’ve since moved on) are woven into the fabric of our daily lives. We have immense respect for the brand they’ve built and then being 10X-ed! Their products have made a significant impact in the investing community and we’ve learnt so much by working with them. We’re proud to have walked this path with the CoreShares team and can’t wait to see what’s next for the brand.
A word from CoreShares:
Thank you Carien and Margaux and the rest of the Principality team for the enormous contribution that you’ve made to CoreShares and our brand and our digital presence. Right from day dot I think you’ve been completely on brief.
You’ve understood us as a team as a company and really been part of the team our journey, sharing our highs and lows and on behalf of obviously myself and the rest of the team and all stakeholders. Big, big thank you.
You really have been a critical part to our journey – thank you so much.
– Gareth Stobie, MD of CoreShares