That Worked: Monzo

Industry Insights

The club everyone wants to be part of…

It was the summer of 2017 and all of a sudden, or so it seemed, I was surrounded by colleagues and friends talking about their new Monzo accounts. More often than not, these Monzonauts (official name, seriously…) would be sharing tales of those dark pre-Monzo days, where they’d spend 50% of their wages in Pret without a second glance. And then, their Monzo app broke their spending down for them into a simple pie chart, and they were shocked into becoming responsible adults who made the most of their money (or thereabouts).

There was a general feeling that, with trusty Monzo to hand, those around me were taking back control of their finances. They were able to see exactly where their money was going and, if they needed to, were changing unsustainable habits. They were avoiding fees abroad. They were, dare I say it, saving money. And they were now all making their own lunches. I wanted in.


But, of course, I first had to join a digital queue…


Technique 1: the air of exclusivity, and the power of referral.

The queue, whilst I’m sure is a necessity, is also extremely clever. Consumers feel like there must something worth waiting for at the end (28,000 other queuing people couldn’t be wrong, could they?) and then there’s the incentive of jumping up a few thousand spaces if you simply refer a friend. I’m not ashamed to admit I was incredibly eager to see what awaited me at the end of this proverbial rainbow, and immediately began referring others ‘late’ to the Monzo game.

Technique 2: create a tribe

Monzo didn’t simply create a great product, it also focussed its efforts on building a Monzo community. By proving early on through considerate UX and service that it was listening and responding to the needs of its customer-base, Monzo pulled together a strong (and loud) tribe. Word of mouth is a marketer’s dream – and few other brands have so successfully, in such a short space of time, created a tribe as strong as Monzo’s.


Technique 3: stand out

There’s no way I could finish this piece without briefly mentioning the colour of the physical Monzo card. Vibrant, glowing coral – even if you’ve never heard of Monzo before, think back – you’ve probably seen it/shielded your eyes from its glare as someone pulled it out of their pocket. Your Monzo card is unlike any of the others in your wallet, so naturally, it should stand out, and stand out it does. Yet another conversation starter.


Quality of product is undoubtedly at the crux of Monzo’s ongoing success, but almost as essential is the way the brand has cleverly created its tribe and encouraged, through a combination of great UX, service, and subtle marketing tactics, lively conversations in thousands of offices and homes that people want to be a part of.


Like me, in the summer of 2017.


By Hannah Underwood – Account Director at Studio Black Tomato


N.B: I’m still not making my own lunches.