They say ‘There’s no such thing as a boring product, just boring marketing’. Several years ago, this ad-land philosophizing did little to improve my outlook while working on a diarrhoea relief brand. But now and again, we see a challenger redefine a category by refusing to accept that its product or service sits in a dull space.
Getting a mortgage was once a hallmark of adulthood, but nowadays the housing ladder is increasingly out of reach for many. In the run-up to the UK’s general election, Question Time ran a program with an audience of exclusively under-30s. In discussing the housing crisis, it was striking that almost all of the politicians on the panel owned their first property pre-thirty whilst the property-owning hands in the audience were sparse. Not only can people not afford to get on the first rung of the ladder, but when you do have the chance, getting a mortgage is notoriously painful.
Securing your mortgage comes with a lot of baggage. Firstly, there’s technical baggage, the world of rates, terms and to offset or not. It’s enough to make all but the hardened economist prefer to sort their sock drawer instead. Secondly, there’s the emotional baggage, interrogating your spending habits and making a commitment for the rest of time. Renting (or paying somebody else’s mortgage) isn’t fun, but at least you can envisage theoretically walking away. Thirdly, the decision is made trickier by promises of ‘great deals’ from mortgage brokers. The result is that we are left feeling frustrated and ignorant about the biggest investment many of us will ever make.
So, hats off to Habito for looking at the painful mortgage game and thinking ‘I want me a slice of that. Habito launched in the UK in 2015 as a platform that helps you choose and secure a mortgage or remortgage. It is like a private broker, but the service is free and it’s not in cahoots with one of the banks. Thus far it’s received £29m in total funding, has given punters a choice of over 20,000 mortgages, and has 3500+ excellent ratings on Trust Pilot.
When selling mortgages banks still tend to show chuckling couples, apparently having a whale of a time sorting theirs out together in between gags. Habito stands out because of its honesty around its mission to ‘make mortgage worries history’. This challenger leans into the monster of the category by asking us if we are ‘Getting the mortgage sweats?’ Which is more than just a funny bit of copy. Its research found that 1/10 people had seen their GP about stress and anxiety relating to their mortgage With Habito you get a sense of a man on a mission and it turns out Daniel Hegarty is just that. It was his own hideous property purchase experience that resulted in his founding of the company Daniel vowed to make a simple, honest way to find and apply for the best mortgage available for you.
In July 2019, Habito went beyond comparisons and began offering its own range of mortgage products. In 2020, I want to see whether it can dramatically challenge the nature of the product itself. I am hoping its rich customer data will illuminate previously ignored pain points and enable it to make mortgages themselves more heavenly.
Source: Courtesy of Marketing Society