If there’s one thing you can rely on in the world of content marketing, it’s strategy meetings. And LodeStar is no exception. During one such content planning session at the end of 2021, someone threw out a prospective title for a piece of content: “A Tale of Two Mortgages.” It was just a title, nothing more. None of us knew what it would be for.
Fast forward to a few weeks later, the marketing team decided to use that title for—are you ready for this? An infographic. Imaginative, right? But seriously, the plan was to produce two columns of writing, each of which would tell its own story. The two stories would be presented side-by-side to illustrate the differences between, on the one hand, originating a mortgage without a cohesive tech stack and, on the other hand, originating one with helpful tech, like automated underwriting and e-signatures.
The point was to demonstrate a fact we at LodeStar are extremely passionate about, namely, that mortgage lenders do well to implement technology, automate manual processes, and build their business to weather hire/fire cycles.
The thing is, the infographic would have been fine. In the mortgage industry, the bar for ingenuity as far as content marketing goes is, well, pretty low.
Enter holiday break 2021–2022. LodeStar’s Marketing Content Manager, Tim Austen, returned from the holidays with a hare-brained idea…
What if “A Tale of Two Mortgages” took the copy of the infographic (which, again, was perfectly fine), and adapted it to a comic strip? One character’s story would represent stubbornly inefficient, old-school, tech-averse origination. The other’s would represent new-school origination that embraces technology and automation.
But the mortgage industry doesn’t do comics… Well, now it does.
And then the flood of ideas came. Our director of Revenue, Alayna Gardner, suggested leaning in to the nautical theme already inherent in our branding. So we landed on sea creatures. The techie loan officer character became an octopus, equipped with eight hands and naturally adept at multitasking. We named her Octavia. Then came Horace, a bumbling seahorse with lovable bug eyes, whose struggles to compete with Octavia’s tech stack were so fun to explore.
Tim drew the first few panels. The team loved it. We workshopped the idea together and refined the characters over the course of a few months while we worked on other projects. (That is, our actual jobs, which, at the time, did not entail drawing mortgage comics.)
Then, in May of 2022, we debuted the characters in an animated short film, the original “Tale of Two Mortgages.” The animation format allowed us to publish something that lived on the website and could recurrently feature on our social media accounts. It went great. We were officially the first to bring comics into the world of mortgage.
But we didn’t stop there.
Not two weeks later, we wanted more of the characters and their stories. So, Tim pitched both a weekly, four-panel strip and a workflow for how to produce it, start-to-finish, entirely in-house. LodeStar leadership, always eager to innovate and take risks, gave the green light, and “A Tale of Two Mortgages” has been running ever since on both LodeStar’s website and weekly LodeStar Report.
At the end of 2023, 80 comics later, Progress in Lending agreed to syndicate “A Tale of Two Mortgages.” We at LodeStar could not be more excited for this partnership, and we hope you enjoy a little dash of goofiness in the midst of your work week.
Thank you for reading!