I had the pleasure of joining some fellow Fintech PR execs on a panel at Tearsheet’s recent Acquire Conference where we discussed – what else? – the state of PR for financial institutions and fintechs.
What became pretty clear is that we were seeing a lot of the same things as far as how financial institutions (FIs) and fintechs are looking to PR and marketing more broadly to be key drivers to meet their growth goals this year. The last year has been full of lessons for every organization and for some fintechs it’s been their time to shine as payment companies have provided the necessary technology for contact-less payments and banks have focused on supporting their communities through PPP loans.
Given the current landscape, FIs are leaning in to what PR can do to help them reach their customers and we’ve seen some pretty interesting trends emerge, including these that I’d call the top of a long list of things to keep an eye on this year.
It’s all about the human connection when it comes to PR.
For FIs and fintechs of all sizes, from startups to well-established international behemoth, we’re seeing a significant move towards humanizing their PR approach. It’s no longer best practice to hide behind the name of the company, it’s critical to have a human in front of the brand.
Where we’ve historically seen FIs use the power of their brand, they’re now leaning in to show us their CEO and other key execs in their leadership team. In today’s world the human connection is more important than ever and we’re seeing FIs embrace this by giving their spokespeople a platform to interact and talk about issues that matter to them, not just to be the one quoted in the next product announcement press release.
Customers are looking to people more than the brand right now – they want to know what the leaders of the company stand for, what they are doing for their team and of course what they can do for them as a customer. This humanization of FIs is apparent in the growing number of blogs and opinion pieces we’re seeing penned by execs. We also see evidence of this trend with execs increasingly focusing on social media as a way to get their message and voice out there.
Let’s launch a podcast!
This trend is even further evidenced by what we’re seeing with the launch of what I’d call mini-media hubs in the form of podcasts with execs taking the interviewer seat and welcoming industry folks, reporters and even – yes, I’ll say it – competitors on to talk about what’s going on in their space.
It’s no secret that podcasts have become increasingly popular, a trend we saw before the pandemic but one that continues to grow today. If you log into LinkedIn on any given day, you’ll no doubt notice a new podcast from one of your go-to media sources or even an FI brand you follow closely.
While not every leader is launching their own podcast, there is a clear trend of more and more execs joining as guests on podcasts to tell their story. In a world where we can’t meet in-person as easily and the written word can only carry you so far to give a real feel for who you are as a leader, what better way to make sure your literal voice is heard by your customers than through podcast or even video?
Strengthening the connection between customer service, product and marketing.
While product, marketing and customer service have always been three key spokes to the wheel that runs a company, we’re seeing now more than ever that these three areas are working together more frequently. Where silos used to exist between these practice areas, walls are – quite rightly – being taken down as FIs see the ways data and insight can be shared amongst the groups to make the divisions and the company itself more agile.
In the work-from-home world we live in today it would be easy to keep the dividers between these groups, in fact it would be even easier now than in an office setting. So the fact we’re seeing these groups work more closely together is even more impressive considering how much planning and dedication it takes to make sure every area is interacting on a regular basis.
These trends all point towards a common goal, connecting with your customer and growing to meet their needs. I look forward to seeing what other trends crop up this year for FIs as they aim to achieve this noble goal and look forward to supporting those efforts of our clients in our rapidly changing world.
Learn more about the author of this post, Caliber President Grace Keith Rodriguez.