FinTech from the eyes of communicators
Despite being a multi-billion dollar industry, the concept of FinTech can still be quite hard for some to fully grasp. We spoke to communications professionals across the industry to get a better understanding of how they educate their audiences.
An overview of FinTech
FinTech generally is defined as a company that’s in the business of using technology to solve finance-related problems for customers, businesses, investors, and financial institutions. These days, FinTech covers a wide variety of financial aspects, from budgeting to retirement plans.
As Radhika Sharma, Senior Account Manager at Bud puts it, “Today, defining FinTech has become much broader. It is all about placing power in the hands of firms, and now consumers. The ability to access banks on smartphones in seconds, the power to step away from the annoying long lines and dawdling bureaucracy, the power to automate the mundane.”
“FinTech companies integrate AI, blockchain, and data analytics to digitally transform these traditional financial sectors and provide a safer, faster, and more efficient access. FinTech solutions are present in almost every finance sector and are expected to grow to $310 billion by 2022.”
Communicating about FinTech effectively
When asked what constitutes a good FinTech PR Campaign, Radhika mentioned four key aspects, the first being agility, which she believes is paramount for any campaign. The FinTech industry is fast and ever-changing and hence requires a flexible and responsive approach to market change when communicating with audiences.
The second aspect she believes in is strong and consistent messaging. “It’s hard enough to shift the consumer mindset from traditional finance to modern FinTech, inconsistent messaging does not help at all. Strong brand messaging that is honest, value-driven, customer-centric, and serves both the consumers and the market is paramount. Avoid using buzzwords that convey no meaning. Keep the messaging clean, clear, and solution-oriented.”
She also finds that most of the time, when picking up any financial book or reading the headline of a typical blog, it usually has jargon that is very difficult to understand for the average consumer. A lot of literary material on the FinTech industry is often complicated and aimed at savvier audiences which make up a tiny portion of the target audience. Another hurdle to cross is the fear of judgment. People are afraid of talking about money and their decisions openly. “A good PR strategy addresses this fear and opens up the door to a simple conversation.”
Lastly, she finds it important to understand audience and market behaviour. She believes that communicators need to continuously monitor the audience and the barriers they face with trust, such as low financial literacy, secure customer service, data protection, and find new opportunities to break through.
A refreshing perspective
As the industry grows at a rapid rate, more startups have emerged in the FinTech space. Deborah Tan-Pink, Senior Communications Manager at Revolut, shares with us how FinTech startups communicate with their audiences.
Deborah finds that instead of targeting niche markets and going after segments of a population overlooked by existing players, FinTech startups are usually founded because they have come up with a better way of solving a problem, something so refreshingly different from what existing players are offering.
“A comms professional’s job is to convey this point of difference through a combination of paid, earned, and owned media.” she says. She adds that once you’ve identified your channels and audience, then you think about how to explain the tech or product in ways that the average person on the street can understand.
“The true north you follow should always be to help people see how this can be part of their daily lives, why it matters, and why is life all the better with it. I think it’s important to show your market how your product works for them without overloading them with jargon and technical terms.”
Deborah also shared with us some of the challenges she faces when coming up with PR campaigns as a startup, the first one being getting lifestyle media to look beyond the tech:
“Many lifestyle editors jump to the unfortunate conclusion that ‘tech’ has nothing to do with beauty, fashion, shopping, and food (unless it’s a phone or a shopping app). And this is why when I pitch to lifestyle titles, I often draw a blank.”
The other challenge she experiences is tailoring messages to fit local context. Based in Singapore, she finds this aspect particularly important for FinTech companies that aren’t homegrown and aren’t founded in Asia. “What works for a European market may not work with the Singapore audience. So we have to see a product / feature from a different angle and ask ourselves, ‘What is important for the audience here?’”
A focus on digital platforms
Aleta Hanafi, Corporate Communications Division Head at Bank OCBC NISP also shares with us their approach to educating audiences on FinTech, from a bank’s perspective.
She notes that the pandemic has caused the Indonesian market to see a shift to lean towards heavier internet usage.
She also notes that there is a trend of greater acceptance of mobile devices as a banking channel. Seeing this trend, she finds that consumers need to be continuously educated and informed on how to be vigilant, especially new users.
“To get their attention, we need to always have a creative approach in creating educational campaigns and programmes that are easy to understand. Following trends is important to identify the best way to communicate with our consumers. For instance, if we are talking to a younger audience, using Instagram Reels or social media is one of the effective ways.”
She finds it important to use various tactical channels when educating audiences depending on who you are talking to. We continue to adjust our approach to ensure that what we communicate is digestible and relevant.