VISA: It’s Every Business You Want to Be

VISA: It’s Every Business You Want to Be
February 25, 2004
Minisite offers small business advice and boosts the VISA brand without hitting users over the head with it.
Campaign Details
Client: Visa
Creative Agency:
Campaign Insight

"Our objective was to develop online advertising in support of Visa Extras.  We wanted to generate awareness of the Visa Extras Small Business product, as well as drive Visa Business cardholders to to enroll.

"We knew that people who own small businesses are a unique breed.  By nature, they are independent and ambitious.  They're not the type to readily accept being told that something can't be done.  If the rules don't make sense they change them. We wanted to follow a similar approach. We decided that this audience was very different from our traditional segments and therefore we needed a more refreshing proposition. We could not simply rely on a traditional online media buy but rather we needed to take this to a whole new level.

"Finding small business owners who are responsible for their company's financial decisions with fewer than 10 employees was not a simple task. We were hard bent to locate a large enough group that congregated in one place. That's when we recruited the MSN Custom Solutions and AKQA, our online advertising agency, to create an area within MSN where this hard to find target would be interested in going to. We took much of our research findings and worked with MSN to create This micro-site has become a destination for our target audience and is solely sponsored by Visa Extras for Small Business. Our Visa Extras message now lives within this incredibly relevant area without any competition for eyeballs or clutter.

"This campaign will be measured both with a campaign awareness tracking study as well as a cost per action."
--Jon Raj, Director of Advertising, Visa

"Communicate the concept that "everyone gets something extra with Visa extras" by providing valuable content from MSN that is relevant and useful to small business owners. We did this by showcasing small business tips and profiling small business owners using content from bCentral and MSNBC.

"Provide opportunities to drive awareness and enrollment for Visa Extras with small business owners on MSN. Throughout the experience the Visa Extras branding and messaging is reinforced with color and messaging. There are also multiple drivers to both enrollment and to learn more about Visa persistent throughout the experience."
--Wende E. Copfer, Design Manager,

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The Panel

“Having been a small-business owner, I appreciate this site. The whole world of merchant cards and online transaction processing is a frightening one if you’ve never ventured into it before. I remembering going to bCentral and similar sites, looking for online help through the dark forest. 

"This VISA/MSN minisite does a couple of key things very well. It doesn’t pretend to be a purely editorial site, so the user knows there’s a sponsor involved. So I’d trust it, since they’re being upfront about it. The site also presents valuable tips and stories that aren’t related to VISA products alone -- and when I was in my usually harried owner state, I liked quick reminders of things I needed to think about. And the profile of a successful small business is nice.

"The site is an excellent reminder that Internet marketing doesn’t have to be flashy and intrusive to be effective. The minisite is creative, but not in a “whacko-creative-director-wearing-black-and-Prada” sense. The creativity is that it’s effective, offers a real benefit to the target market, and that it doesn’t waste my time once I choose to go there. It makes me appreciate the brand that delivered it – and that’s a rare kudo.”
--Lee Watters, Executive Editor

"In harsh environments, nature loves mutually-beneficial pairings. Sharks and remoras. Nile crocs that let birds clean their teeth. Lichen. And now MSN and VISA.

"Everybody wins with a strong co-branded site. The host gains content, the advertiser gains an audience. If it's done well, both strengthen their brands by association and added value for their customers. The new Your Business module on MSN does that through a small but useful selection of articles and case studies targeted squarely at small businesses.

"The site skillfully weaves VISA into the mix. All of the messaging centers on rewards--a smart move, for in the context of the site, they seem less like ads and more like additional business tips. The takeaway is that VISA wants to be your partner, and is willing to work for it.

"While I'd like to see some indication that the content will be updated regularly (encouraging small business owners to return), this is a site that does it right. And in the current economy, having symbiotic business partners like MSN and VISA can only be a good thing."
--Doug Fitzsimmons, Associate Creative Director, Tribal DDB Los Angeles

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