Cognito Op-ed: What should FinTech communicators expect in 2023?

Cognito Op-ed: What should FinTech communicators expect in 2023?

By: Emma Arora, Head of Singapore, Cognito Singapore

If 2022 is to be remembered for one thing, it would be a year of change across almost all industries. It felt that every other week brought about news that, in previous years, would have been era-defining. But in 2022 - that was just your average Tuesday.

In this time of constant change, the growing need for clear and relevant communications has grown, with lines between external and internal stakeholders blurred, and organisations seeking to redefine their values and focus. Business has a new usual.

In the Singapore and SEA fintech space, 2022 brought a flurry of collaborative energy as investors, government and founders poured their resources into fintechs, sharpening their focus to get ahead of the competition and attract the best talent as life got back to normal (or at least pre-2020 normal…). The clashing “in real life” events of Singapore Fintech Festival and Hong Kong Fintech Week rounded off the year, with the best and brightest gathered together to revive old relationships and build new ones.

On the flip side, after a year of high valuations and significant raises within the fintech and wider tech industry, all the signs are pointing to the fact that we are entering a period of change. News of layoffs is coming thick and fast and many believe that we are entering a period where we will see a reset of private market values, a focus on margins and costs and a return to “reasonable” raises. In short, there’s likely to be pain in 2023 to for many in the fintech industry.

So, what does it mean for fintech comms?

Flexibility is the name of the game. As we seemingly shift from one crisis to another in a "permacrisis", communicators have been pushed to our limits and into the thick of the unexpected. The opportunities for growth are now both planned and unplanned. As communication professionals, we’ve needed to unlearn some of our risk-adverse mindsets and learn to be comfortable with the idea of continual change for our fintech clients, our client base and the industry at large. This means that we must expand our skillset, whether that extends to learning from colleagues or turning to outside resources, and fearlessly explore new territory.

The media landscape has also seen its fair share of change and collaboration, and as we approach 2023, we'll continue to see greater engagement between brands, agencies and media titles in exploring new ways to tell their stories. The last year has seen an increasingly busy landscape for fintech players looking to get noticed, with new companies entering the ecosystem and established players growing and developing, as well as battling for mindshare against a group of close competitors. Next year, we feel that will be a clear competitive advantage for organisations who can leverage the link between finance, tech and the environment that we are in to add to their narratives and differentiate themselves from their competitors. But they also shouldn’t be afraid of partnerships, if there’s a good fit. Increased collaboration within the ecosystem of industry players, media and communicators - both internally and externally is set to be an untapped reservoir of potential synergy and opportunities.

This means that the fintech comms space will be increasingly competitive as organisations strive to outpace each other for a piece of the pie, but also need careful advice on weathering any media storms related to layoffs, valuations or the general reorientation of the market. 

Communicators, too, have to work towards setting themselves apart by having clear eyed values and flexible positions on thorny topics, whilst staying as close as possible to what is going on within their clients’ organisations. With huge newsbreaks happening at any and every time of the day, it’s more important than ever that we are plugged into the global news flow, quickly assessing how issues will impact our clients and being able to advise them accordingly. More than ever in 2023, communications professionals should be looking for that seat at the table within their organisations, or elevating themselves to trusted adviser status with their clients. When the going gets tough, the tough need to communicate.

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