In 1987 Ria Money Transfer opened its doors in New York City to help people send money to their loved ones back home. What began as a one shop grew into hundreds and then thousands, from big cities to remote villages, unlocking borders to connect all corners of the world.
Today, Ria is the world’s second largest money transfer company with a robust retail network of over 450,000 locations and a breadth of digital services spanning 160 countries.
Despite an impressive footprint and double digit growth, the brand was suffering low levels of public awareness. The solution was to craft an overarching brand ideology tapping into the Ria personality, what it does and bringing it to life through a simple yet powerful identity built for the digital age.
From the kick off, our teams hit the high streets of key sending markets to experience first-hand what it’s like to be a Ria customer. We were met with extreme and dispersed executions of the brand, mixed messaging and multiple logos, the online and retail experiences were significantly inconsistent. All this conspired to weaken the brand experience.
Better everyday life
Ria customers send money for mum’s medicine, little sister’s school fees and business partner’s market stall. To reveal the compelling and empathetic story behind why Ria exists, Saffron shaped a purpose statement: ‘We open ways for a better everyday life’. It places the focus on the customers and the impact their money is having on other’s lives, whilst expressing Ria’s role in helping and facilitating the whole process.
A brand strategy
The brand strategy builds on the purpose statement with a set of clear principles that reflect the business vision and give employees a clearer framework upon which to align behaviour and professional trajectory. The company personality is manifested though four simple epigrams which have been key to shaping the visual language but also driving staff engagement and training.
A crisp yet empathetic messaging and voice enables Ria to go beyond just money transfers and focus on the impact its customers’ hard-earned money has on other's lives.
Simple and recognisable
Walking the streets of almost any major city, it’s hard to miss the orange Ria signs on its storefronts. Preserving the value that the colour orange has created for the brand, the key design element is a simple orange disc which acts as symbol or ‘alter ego’ of the Ria presence in messaging and story telling. Always there, like a friend you can count on, it shows or highlights what matters. The old Ria logo was always based on a round globe but rather than limit its association to just one idea we gave it more versatility, opening the door to different interpretations and a wide variety of applications. Of course, the orange disc is a key feature of the logo, which now expresses the notion of an individual, the ‘i’, being supported by the letter forms, ’r’ and ‘a’. It reflects the customer-centric culture that values every individual and their unique needs.
Designing a language
Given the global nature of the Ria brand the design system needed to offer simplicity and flexibility, the visual language would need to be easy to use for the multiple teams building communications from Alaska to Zimbabwe, Quito to Baku.
Black and white line illustrations in any style mean illustrators can be commissioned from any region, country or culture, making the visual language inclusive and diverse. Simple cut-out photography, messaging and colour palette make it child’s play for marketers and designers to implement.
A retail kit
To create better synergies between the Ria platforms, Saffron worked with the internal teams to connect digital and physical experiences more effectively. The retail design elements aim to maintain the visual recognition of the Ria orange on the high street while the interiors connect to the simplicity of the experience.
Despite the pandemic, we ran virtual workshops with over 60 of the Ria team around the world. These collaborative sessions equipped them with the tools to grow the brand while preparing them to be brand ambassadors in the run up to the launch.
The Ria brand was introduced, on the backs of football team Atletico Madrid, to a stadium of roaring fans in November 2019. Since the official launch in July 2020, the Ria brand is now better equipped to engage its customers with purpose and respond to their evolving needs.