Finance tech company Affirm is doubling down on its efforts to broadcast its mission of providing a simple and transparent approach to consumer finance, starting with the hire of its first ever chief marketing officer.
Founder and chief executive officer Max Levchin, a cofounder of PayPal, has tapped eBay vice president Carl Gish to both build the brand’s reach and to expand its offerings beyond point-of-sale payments.
The four-year-old Affirm uses data to assess credit risk and offers consumers an alternative to financing at a time when credit cards are becoming less commonplace among the younger generation. Within the next year, Affirm plans to introduce additional financial services directly to the consumer, rather than through retailers, and will add large merchants to a list that has grown to more than 700.
To that end, it recently received $100 million in funding and acquired personal finance management app Sweet.
Gish is well poised to position Affirm in front of both retailers and customers as the finance tool for the modern generation. He has an extensive background in retail and e-commerce. In addition to his time at eBay, he served as ceo at beauty e-tailer Folica, was a vice president at Amazon and while at Unilever, and was behind Dove’s Real Beauty campaign, among others.
His consumer brand marketing experience, Levchin said, is what Affirm needs in its current growth mode. “We’re not just trying to build another profitable lender,” Levchin said. “Affirm is here to revolutionize the banking industry to be more accountable and accessible to consumers.”
Gish said he is looking forward to building the Affirm brand beyond what it is today, and highlighted that Affirm is working with the knowledge that banks are among Millennials’ “least well-liked” brands.
“My job working with the team at Affirm is to make it one of the best-loved brands — despite it being a financial services banking type of brand,” Gish said. “It’s about serving the customers using technology and a customer-centric approach to create relationships based on fairness and transparency.”
Gish said he is focused on solving the needs of both merchant partners and consumer uses, and admitted that although the brand intends to expand its product offering, it will continue to focus on the relatively new “Pay With Affirm” product, which is still relatively new.
He sees parallels in his work on the Dove Real Beauty campaign since that focused on serving the customer. “I’m really excited about where we can take the brand because it fundamentally stands for something that we already know is very important to customers,” he said. “And, frankly, no one else is offering it in the space or the industry.”