“Play that record, DJ.”
White labels, originally part of the music industry, now play a role in almost every sector. For financial and Fintech companies, white labelling allows you to expand your customer base, gauge interest in a potential product and stay relevant within a hyper-competitive market.
At some point, every fintech firm will consider white labelling their underlying platform. After all, almost all tech stacks can be white labelled.
With the number of UK fintech companies expected to more than double by 2030, white label style partnerships are also likely to increase.
“The increase in white-label fintech infrastructure is interesting because it increases the number of companies that can enter the space by licensing off-the-shelf loan management systems, decision engines, verification platforms and more.” – Sergio Rabiela, vice president of software engineering at OneMain Financial
But, creating a white label proposition is not an easy task and you’ll need to navigate many challenges to create the perfect partnership.
What is a White Label Partnership?
White labelling is when a product or service created by one company (the producer) is then rebranded and sold by a different company (the marketer). Using this approach effectively integrates the service or product into the marketer’s company and makes it look like they created the final product or service.
How Does White Labelling Differ From Other Partnership Arrangements?
If you’re looking for a strategic partnership, white labelling is only one of the options. Introducer, co-branding, or outsourcing are also possibilities.
Introducer or Affiliate Relationships
With introducer or affiliate partners, other, related brands recommend your company. For example, a Fintech company may establish introducer or affiliate relationships with accountants, solicitors or IFAs who then recommend your product to the end-user.
On the one hand, affiliate relationships makes it easier to manage a small number of introducers and gives you access to a new market; for example, non English speaking countries.
However, on the other hand, relying on this type of partnership can leave you vulnerable to the whims and demands of your introducers. Rather than focusing on serving customers’ needs, you might find yourself trying to keep your introducers happy.
Co-branding is a strategic marketing and advertising relationship between two brands. Unlike white labelling, co-branding creates an equal relationship as the success of one brand directly impacts the success of the other brand. And, both parties work together to achieve and take credit for the final result.
Apple & MasterCard co-branded to release Apple Pay. To get off the ground, Apple Pay needed credit card companies to integrate with the app. MasterCard was the first credit card to allow customers to store their credit or debit card details on the app.
This co-branding was a win, win for both parties. Mastercard maintained its competitive edge by allowing customers to harness the latest tech while Apple received the support it needed to launch Apple Pay.
With outsourcing, one company essentially passes a project or certain responsibilities to another company. Arranging a successful outsource partnership can be more complicated as you’re hiring someone to complete a function of your business.
Outsourcing can sometimes be white labelled, but only if you buy a product or service and then sell it to the end-user under your brand name.
Typically, outsourcing requires less commitment from both parties, so it works for short-term projects. But, it’s challenging to scale and grow relying solely on outsourcing partners as your partners could change their prices, close their business or make other plans without consulting you.
Why You Should Consider Becoming a White Label Provider
White labelling has become a popular solution for Fintech and financial service companies and for good reasons too.
- High-scale growth. Creating a white label relationship with a large brand allows you to tap into a large pool of customers. On the other side, white label products allow providers to rapidly expand their offerings as a white label service/product is ready to implement from day one.
- Boost brand awareness. Expanding your existing client base allows you to build a stronger brand amongst your potential partners as other trusted brands begin to recognise your expertise and product standards.
- Benefit from your partner’s experience & resources. Partnering with bigger, better-known brands allows you, as a white label provider, to bolster your reputation and access your partner’s network.
- Enter new territories. A white label partnership could open new, exciting opportunities for you to expand into new territories without cost or regulatory hassle.
- Steady cash flow. As a white label provider, you can rely on your partner to create a steady cash flow for your business, which you can then redirect towards further growth.
- Mutual growth & support. Your white-label partner’s success is your own as their sales directly contribute to your bottom line. Supporting them to learn more about your product and service and its many benefits is essential.
- Exit strategy. Establishing a positive white label relationship could serve as a savvy exit strategy as you might be able to sell your company to the brand that’s white labelling your platform.
- Improved value. Increased revenue, greater exit potential and additional revenue opportunities are also likely to improve your overall company value.
Why You Shouldn’t Consider a White Label Partnership
Sounds great, but what’s the catch?
Like all partnerships, white labelling isn’t without its disadvantages. You’ll need to build a stable relationship with your white label partner to avoid any misunderstandings and make sure they understand how your product/service works.
For white-label providers, this type of partnership can water down or weaken your brand identity as the end customer recognise other brands as the expert rather than your own brand. So, it’s essential to continue promoting your brand both through your marketing campaigns and internally amongst your employees to maintain your brand reputation.
What Should Your White Label Proposition Include?
When creating a white label proposition, you need to consider whether you’ll use a front-facing or back-facing model. A front-facing model allows you to work directly with your clients or customers and appear as part of your partners’ team.
On the other hand, a back-facing model stops you from communicating directly with clients/customers. Companies often use this model when there are concerns around competition and client poaching.
All About the Money
What do the commercials look like with a white label project?
One of the most essential and hardest questions is the commercial side of white labelling, especially for companies looking to work with white label providers.
There are three ways to start talking about money:
- Mark-up. Determine the overall cost of the service and add an additional percentage as a markup fee. Your white label partner then gets to keep the markup.
- Revenue Share. Both partners split the revenue by 50/50, 60/40, 80/20 — you get the idea.
- Licencing Fees. Allow white label partners to purchase your technology for X amount over Y years.
We suggest conducting market research to establish how much the product or service can sell for and still generate a good return. Otherwise, you might end up giving away too much, at too low a price point and risk your white label offering becoming commercially unviable.
As part of this, it’s essential to consider any additional costs. For example, support or marketing costs could impact the expected profit margin.
Working out three different commercial models (one to break even, one to remain competitive and one above market average) will give you a good idea if your white label product is viable.
Other Things to Consider
When creating your white label proposition, you also want to consider whether your relationship is exclusive; for example, are there any restrictions on how and where the marketer can resell the product?
Are product changes or modifications allowed? What results do you expect within the first year? Who owns the intellectual property rights? And, who’s responsible for regulatory implications?
You’ll need to discuss these questions with your potential white label partner and make sure you’re on the same page. It’s also a good idea to have a formal contract drafted to avoid any misunderstandings.
What Does a Dream White-Label Partner Look Like?
Much like dating, it’s essential to pick a good white-label partner. You don’t want to jump into bed with just anyone.
Your white label partner should:
- Share similar goals and visions with your company.
- Provide access to a strong customer base and consistent revenue.
- Already have a strong marketing strategy.
- Have a good reputation and trading history and be a company you can trust.
- Understand what it takes to be a good white label partner.
- Offer excellent support services to help you learn and grow as a business.
- Provide clear contract terms. A good working relationship requires clear T&Cs and contract.
As a Dream White-Label Provider, You Need To…
Your market position as a white label provider relies not only on a quality product, but also your ability to play nice and deliver outstanding results. You should aim to:
- Provide a reliable product or service that matches your partners’ needs.
- Take an innovative approach and always look for new ways to improve your partners’ solution or service.
- Establish a good reputation and trading history. Or, for those just getting started, create sound processes and reliable systems.
- Support your partner to address customer complaints and troubleshoot any issues.
- Deliver a transparent contract with a minimum lock-in period and outlines expected fees.
- Allow potential partners to test the product or service beforehand. They need to understand how the product or service will work for their customers and a test drive is a great way to achieve this.
Things to Avoid for a Successful White-Label Relationship
Creating a sound white label partnership is all about building trust and reaching a mutual understanding. When trying to find a white label partner, make sure to avoid these behaviours:
- Low price points. Low price points makes it look like you’re cutting corners somewhere, which raises flags as potential partners could worry that they’ll encounter poor standards and problems down the road.
- Poor communication. You need to be responsive to your partners’ needs and provides a product or service that represents their brand.
- Poor understanding of their brand. You need to fully understand your partners’ vision and goals, as you’ll be an extension of their brand.
Fintech and Financial Services White Label Providers
“The banking transformation has begun, we’re enabling customers to pick and choose the applications and services they need and how they use them” — Anne Boden, CEO of Starling Bank.
By providing a white labelling service to Fintech companies, Starling Bank is disrupting the status quo and leveraging their platform to challenge traditional banks. The platform makes it easy for startups to provide customers with branded bank accounts and payment services like debit cards without lengthy development periods or complex legal processes.
Currencycloud provides cross-border payment and FX services to companies like Monese, Revolut, and Paddle. These brands then white label Currencycloud’s API to cost-effectively deliver transparent payments and FX via a global and fully compliant payment network.
Marketing Your White Label Proposition
If you’ve decided to go down the white label road, you’ll need a strong marketing strategy to promote your brand and reach potential white label partners. Creating a strategy that targets your ideal audience and promotes your messaging across multiple channels will allow you to achieve the best results and connect with partners who could transform your business.
As part of your marketing strategy, you’ll want to focus on education and brand awareness content like PR, ebooks and webinars. This can help you to establish your company as a thought-leader and attract the right kind of attention.
Here at Growth Gorilla, we can help you determine the right market positioning for your white label solution, create a marketing strategy to promote your proposition and build the infrastructure you need to drive a successful partnership.
Find out more about marketing your white label proposition by scheduling a free consultation with our growth marketing expert.
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