Establishing Trust and Credibility
Prosper Marketplace was founded in 2006 as the first marketplace lending platform in the United States. In December 2014, the company turned to Mission North to re-establish its leadership position, promote the advantages of this growing consumer financing option, and better validate and differentiate its approach from a growing market of competitors for both borrowers and investors. The problem? Both the media and consumers either had never heard of marketplace loans or didn’t trust them. Further, despite its early mover advantage, Prosper had lost its top spot for market share to Lending Club, which had just finished a successful IPO.
Mission North’s mission was to reassert Prosper as a leader in the space, while shifting media and consumer sentiment about the industry as a whole.
Mission North’s initial task was to communicate Prosper’s remarkable turnaround story and the credibility of its new executive team. From there, with renewed trust, efforts shifted to driving both borrower and lender acquisition by showing how marketplace lending could benefit a wide range of people.
To set the stage, Mission North worked with Prosper to evolve its messaging narrative and develop a series of storylines to help shape its image in the media. As part of these efforts, we conceived a series of data campaigns while also supporting a number of major corporate news events (including a $165M funding round that led to a $1B+ valuation, and two acquisitions, among others). The data campaigns were rolled out in an integrated fashion, tying in media pitching, thought leadership and content for the Prosper blog.
In September 2015, Mission North also announced Prosper’s acquisition of BillGuard, a consumer finance app and media darling — securing nine pre-briefings, including the New York Times and Bloomberg, and 23 pieces coverage on the day of the news alone.
As the program matured and competition for consumer mindshare heated, Mission North developed a large consumer education content program, with a variety of owned, earned and paid channels, addressing relevant topics such as how to consolidate debt, and the impact of the Fed rate hike on Americans.
During the time we worked with Prosper, the company saw its loan originations grow from $2B to $5B. We increased general awareness through an aggressive consumer media effort that resulted in coverage in TheKnot, TODAY Show, Refinery29 and AARP. Our content engine produced 12 pieces of unique content a month, providing the company with a steady stream of educational content on financial topics that helped to establish the company as a trusted source.
Less than two years into the relationship, Prosper significantly increased its overall share of voice, reaching a competitive overall SOV against LendingClub.