Wealthfront isn’t a typical financial services company. Our mission is to democratize access to sophisticated financial advice. We work tirelessly to deliver on that promise, and are attempting to re-architect an industry to make it happen. However, our original website in no way reflected the uniqueness of the products, services, and features we deliver. We have a distinct audience, so rather than just making a quick website change, we wanted to reimagine how we communicate with them. To address this challenge, I realized we needed to hire our first Vice President of Marketing.

After many months of looking, I’m thrilled to announce that in April Josh Grau joined us as our new marketing leader. When I asked a few experts whom I admire what I should prioritize in a candidate, they kept telling me the same thing: find an exceptional storyteller. With Josh, we’ve done just that. In fact, when I initially met Josh his first question for me was to tell him the story of Wealthfront.

Over the last dozen years Josh has worked for ESPN, YouTube and most recently Twitter, where he ran marketing for the advertising and partnerships sides of the business. The common denominator of all his jobs was his ability to use content to make deeper connections with younger consumers. Josh also teaches graduate marketing courses for his alma mater, Northwestern, where his classes focus on storytelling and design thinking. He came in with fresh eyes and empathy for our clients, and one of his first observations was that providing context is just as important as providing access.

Josh joined a few months into our initiative to redesign the way we tell our story to prospective clients, recruits and partners. Fortunately our outstanding team led by Apeksha Garga, Aly Weir and Deanna Dong got us off to an amazing start. Their goal was simple: create a website that reinforces what we want for our clients, which is for them to live the lives they want. Josh and the team reimagined the entire communication experience, from our color palette to our writing style, which moved us from the industry standard of impersonal modules and choppy navigation to a fluid, magazine-like layout that tells a story on every page.

Financial services websites can be intimidating, so the team built an aesthetic that aligns with just how easy and hassle-free Wealthfront makes planning for the long-term. Rather than using stock photos or canned images, they opted to commission custom illustrations to support the narrative. The team created a set of characters whose everyday lives unfold in rich scenes throughout the site. Almost every page includes enjoyable, daily moments our audience can relate to, from the independent career woman at a cafe on the Selling Plan page to the couple having a picnic in the park on the Homepage.

The team tested our new approach with clients throughout the process, and that feedback helped us better explain how we address their pain points. We want our clients to feel confident in us, but more importantly confident in themselves, so we made sure every page is a teachable moment. Josh constantly pushed the team to look for ways to simplify our message, such as helping to conceive the name PassivePlus® to more easily describe our unique suite of value-added investment features developed by our world-class research team.

Over the last six months we’ve shipped a number of new services and features that clearly distinguish us from all the other players in our industry. Thanks to Josh’s leadership, we now have a website that does the same. We think differently, and the focus on story and illustration is an important first step in how we’re changing the identity and expression of the company to reflect and celebrate the values of our clients.


PassivePlus® is a registered trademark and property of CSSC Investment Advisory Services, Inc. (“CSSC”) and is used under license. CSSC and Wealthfront are not affiliated companies.

Nothing in this blog should be construed as tax advice, a solicitation or offer, or recommendation, to buy or sell any security. Financial advisory services are only provided to investors who become Wealthfront Inc. clients pursuant to a written agreement, which investors are urged to read carefully, that is available at www.wealthfront.com. All securities involve risk and may result in some loss.

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