Brandjacking is a growth hacking method where a startup uses another company’s brand to promote its own services. Sometimes, the brandjacker even impersonates the other company by setting up its own website using the other company’s brand. Doxo provides an example of how a fintech can use this strategy to claim top rankings for a wide variety of financial keywords and make its website prominent in the search results. But before I explain how that works, I’ll explain how brandjacking works in general.
Brandjacking Examples Outside of Fintech
Startups have used brandjacking on a large scale in several sectors already, including the travel sector and the restaurant sector. For example, when you search for hotel rooms in a specific city, you might see results from a booking portal rather than the hotels themselves. And this can happen even if you’re looking for rooms at a specific hotel such as Marriott, Ramada, Best Western or Hilton. The booking portal will list rooms at these hotels on its own website, complete with information about their availability. Guests don’t even need to visit the hotel’s website to reserve their rooms. Booking platforms like Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, and Priceline collect a commission from the hotel when a guest reserves a room through them, and these commissions can be in the 15 percent range.
Brandjacking is also very popular with food delivery apps like Just Eat, Delivery Hero, and Zomato. A food delivery app may set up websites or business listings for all of the restaurants in its delivery area, and may even add its own contact information to these listings rather than the restaurant’s contact information. So if a consumer wants to order food from the restaurant, they’ll reach the brandjacker instead and place an order with them.
Hotels and restaurants don’t like this type of marketing because the brandjacker often charges them a percentage of revenue for finding them a new customer. Many of these businesses believe that the customers would have contacted them anyway if the brandjacker wasn’t there. And the customer might not know they contacted a third-party delivery service rather than the restaurant itself, so if the meal isn’t intended for delivery or arrives late, the customer might blame the restaurant for a poor dining experience.
The Fintech Example
Doxo is a universal bill payment app. It helps consumers pay their bills at a wide variety of government agencies, retailers, banks, and utilities. So if you sign up for an account at Doxo you can use the platform to pay bills to many service providers. This is much more convenient than setting up 10 different accounts, each with their own ID and password, on multiple websites. You can pay your toll road fees, your gas bill, your credit card bill, and your water bill on the same website.
And to promote this service, Doxo created landing pages for each of the companies it serves. So if you want to pay your Bank of America credit card bill, for example, Doxo has a landing page for Bank of America. And it has similar landing pages for other major banks, including Merritt Bank, Credit One Bank, First Premier Bank, and Huntington Bank. It also has landing pages for credit unions such as Zeal Credit Union. So if you search for login information or bill pay information for many lenders, including mortgage lenders or credit card lenders, Doxo will appear in the top 10 results. It’ll also show up if you search for login or bill pay information for many utilities. And the fintech startup benefits from the utilities’ brands as well.
Making the Pages Unique
Doxo includes additional information on the landing pages for each business so Google recognizes them as unique pages that add value. The company adds the phone number and the home address for each business it serves although it doesn’t have a formal relationship with them. And, of course, each bank and utility company will have a different phone number and address. When one bank issues multiple credit cards, Doxo lists them all on the bank’s landing page. For example, Bank of America also provides credit cards for Bass Pro, Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Virgin Atlantic.
And the platform also provides a map showing where the business’ customers are located, as well as a list of businesses that provide similar services. So the page will say that Merrick Bank has lots of followers in Utah, where the bank is located, for example. This feature could be useful if you’re looking up a utility company and other utilities have similar names, or if you’re using the Doxo page to research the company.
Adding this extra information is important for SEO purposes. In the past, SEO agencies did things like creating a separate web page for lawyers in Los Angeles, lawyers in Anaheim, and lawyers in San Diego, but the only difference on each page was the name of the city. Landmarks like the San Diego Zoo or Disneyland were not mentioned. Setting up very similar pages to rank in the local search results doesn’t work anymore and may even be considered a form of spam. But the Doxo web pages are unique because the information for each business is different.
Doxo implemented the brandjacking strategy effectively by creating a separate page with unique information for each business it serves. And SEO tools confirm that these pages rank well in Google results for branded keywords such as paying bills at a specific utility or bank. Additionally, Doxo’s unique selling point (USP) is very useful for consumers.
It’s annoying to set up accounts at 10 different companies to pay your bills, and maintaining and updating passwords for many separate websites is a security risk by itself. Many people reuse their passwords, even though they shouldn’t, because they’re hard to remember and storing them elsewhere isn’t safe either. So using a unified app to pay bills makes sense for consumers.