We started with the dream of creating a world where independent businesses could thrive and where, wherever you are, you could *explore* like a local to connect with people and experience their culture, even in some of the most unlikely places like I did. The journey to realise that dream has been long, but in many ways, as I write this, it also feels like it's only just the beginning. What started as a way to pay and earn rewards has now evolved into something bigger and more meaningful. And what we realised as part of what we're sharing with you today is that we had also outgrown the original brand.
Exploring and local trade have been fundamental drivers of our communities and society. So to represent that, we've created a new name and symbol for our community. It's an iconic mark for our shop windows, coffee cups, laptops, and shared mission. It's a symbol that, like us, can be part of a community wherever we happen to be exploring. It's a symbol for people who want to explore a new cheese from Mr Nibbles or a tea they've never heard of from a village they couldn't find on the map from Comins Tea House. It's a symbol for exploring where the locals go—the cafe that doesn't bother with a menu, the hidden bar down a side street, and the art galleries that don't appear in the guidebooks. It's a symbol for people who want to explore new communities, cultures, and conversations. We're proud to introduce xplore. as the new name and symbol of our mission to create a more local world.
# The new App
Of course, an identity is about more than names and symbols. So we've redesigned our entire app experience to better reflect the people who make up this community. The new app has personalisation at its heart, created with a brand new design language.
It includes a home page designed to give you quick access to a host of features, including all your favourite independent loyalty cards in one place, tickets to events, a completely reimagined way to pay, spend and earn rewards and a new way to follow and keep up with your favourite independents with a personalised news feed.
But we haven't stopped there. In preparation for welcoming new communities and independents, an updated way to xplore will go further in helping you discover more about your community and others as they join our mission. An upcoming Guidebooks feature will unlock local insights, giving you access to local tips from our community of xplorers.
We used to take our communities for granted. Everyone knew each other, and everyone felt safe by feeling part of their community. But what we’ve seen with the arrival of retail parks, chains and the digital revolution is the dehumanising of trade, where we no longer connect and experience other people through what we buy locally at independent businesses. And in doing so, we are losing the common ground that brings us together through our communities. We all know buying something from local independent isn’t just a transaction. It’s about connections that often turn into moments to even friendships. That’s because the rewards you get aren’t just financial—they’re personal—for independent businesses and customers alike. At a time when new technologies have made it easier to keep each other at a distance, we’re using them to bring people together. And we’re tapping into the universal human yearning to explore—the desire to feel part of something and appreciated for who you are, no matter where you might be. So together, with this new identity and app, I look forward to starting the next chapter of this improbable journey with the idea that first set it in motion—the belief that exploring local can create connections in the most unlikely of places - /Greg/