The correspondent clearing space is dominated by large legacy providers defined by stale technology, rigid processes and inadequate support – yet the disruption associated with separating from an old solution and integrating a new one means many brokers are forced into a state of paralysis. This is the dynamic that RQD sought to solve for as it spun out of an established market maker in 2020.
The firm had a clear vision for addressing longstanding pain points in clearing, custody and execution services, but its ability to penetrate this staid market was highly dependent on a successful launch. When RQD approached Forefront, we felt the firm would need to “wow” the market out of the gate, requiring a multifaceted approach — including messaging, design, public relations, social media, event marketing and more – to cut through the noise.
As with every brand launch we undertake, the project began with an exhaustive messaging and positioning exercise, through which we distilled the firm’s vision for clearing and technology into a set of talking points designed to differentiate and illuminate in equal measure.
The next item of business was coming up with a new name. The firm still bore the name of its original parent company, and it wanted to forge a wholly distinct identity. To that end, we embarked on a comprehensive naming exercise informed by our key messages. We brainstormed and presented a wide array of options ranging from Greek and Latin roots to creative simplex names to clever acronyms.
As we worked with the team to narrow the list, one idea stood out: RQD. All agreed that the name worked on multiple levels – not only is clearing a required step in the trade lifecycle, but the company offered the speed, accuracy and expertise required to perform these functions effectively as well as usher in the change that market participants have long felt is required (there’s that word again). And to ensure the concept would resonate, we added an asterisk – indication of a required form field – to the logo.
With the new messaging and name in hand, we began collaboration with RQD on the next batch of deliverables to prepare for launch. A new website was perhaps the most labor-intensive. We designed a visual brand that matched the firm’s values, complete with abstract yet ownable patterns and striking gradients. This included strategic use of asterisks in both copy and design, creating a unique, instantly recognizable identity that tied back to the firm’s name.
As the website came together, we reached the final sprint before launch day. That meant creating a pitch deck and sales sheets based on RQD’s new brand and holding multiple media/presentation training sessions with senior executives to ensure consistency and readiness. We drafted a compelling press release, worked with WatersTechnology on the exclusive and formulated a strategy for wider media outreach.
When the big day finally came, RQD had all the tools to introduce itself to the world with just the right look, tone and industry validation.
“As a new player looking to disrupt the correspondent clearing space, we knew we only had one chance to make a first impression. Forefront helped us make the most of it. Their deep knowledge of our business, creative acumen and media savvy had a major impact on our launch strategy. While they were eager to incorporate our feedback at every step, they were also able to work highly independently, enabling us to focus on other aspects of our launch while leaving brand-building to the experts.”
– Michael Sanocki, CEO, RQD