Fintech that puts you in the driver’s seat

Financial services company renaming

Founded in 2016, MotoRefi was built by leaders in tech, automotive, and finance to help people save on auto payments. They believed that the flexibility and freedom cars provide should not be restricted by high rates or byzantine refinancing. Using the company’s secure online platform, consumers could quickly and easily lock in a better rate for their loan, compare auto insurance, and more. Further innovations to help consumers save were on the horizon, but the name was holding the company back. They asked Catchword to help them rebrand.

Catchword worked closely with the client team to articulate the brand’s fundamental benefits: giving customers greater control over their finances and facilitating the freedom of car ownership. We created more than 2,000 names over two robust rounds, and Caribou led the herd.

Caribou is delightfully unexpected, clearly standing out in an industry full of names like RateGenius and AutoWallet. It conjures images of agile speed and natural freedom at the frontier, reinforcing the ideas of financial freedom and the independence gained by owning your own car. The name subtly recalls both car (visually) and care (aurally), underscoring its place in auto finance and its customer-centric approach. As a real English word used in a new way (an extremely desirable naming type, particularly in the startup space), the name feels intelligent and contemporary. Finally, the name expresses brand vision yet does not limit the brand with a particular offering (as MotoRefi did). Caribou can easily accommodate company evolution.

The new brand launched in 2021. Caribou experienced 300% revenue growth year-over-year in 2021, increased staff by more than 250%, and rolled out a new partnership with Uber. As of 2022, Caribou had helped more than 50,000 drivers save $80+ million in auto-related payments.

Award Winner
Hermes Creative Awards, Platinum, Brand Naming
Creative Communication Award (C2A), Verbal Identity
MarCom Awards, Honorable Mention, Brand Naming

Caribou (formerly MotoRefi)
Caribou (formerly MotoRefi)
Finance & Professional
Brand Positioning
Company Naming

The power of metaphor

Caribou in the snow

Caribou are real animals, reinforcing the brand’s authentic, warm personality, intuitive processes, and human scale. They’re beautiful, strong—able to survive harsh winters—and elegant, further supporting the brand’s position as friendly and approachable yet serious about helping clients from start to finish. Caribou is the North American term for reindeer, an animal whose image is fondly linked with happy holidays and magical transportation. As migratory herd animals, caribou move and work together, just as the company coordinates seamlessly with partners and guides its customers on their journey to independence.

Client love

The client is delighted with the name and its immediate embrace by customers, partners, and media. They even renamed their employees the Caribou Crew and have leaned hard, and playfully, into the theme on social media.

"So many of the names made us smile, both because they were so personable and relatable (a quality we were going for in our new name) and also because of how surprising they were—i.e., they were ideas that we wouldn’t (and didn’t!) think of ourselves!"

Sara Bonner | Senior Brand Marketing Manager, Caribou

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