Once upon a time the world of FinTech was so novel that it was relatively easy to get corporate news to stand out. Then FinTech developed into an all-encompassing global industry, where it became more challenging for companies to get their voices heard above the noise of a crowded market. So in their ongoing efforts to differentiate themselves as well as appear more credible in the serious world of finance, wily marketers took it upon themselves to focus on data, hard facts and statistics – losing their audiences’ attention in the process.
In this blog post, Martina looks into the power of storytelling, and why b2b companies should incorporate it into their communications activities.
With the advent of social media, the power of storytelling and story-sharing empowered some creative marketers to slice through this stale fact-based method of communications and introduce personality and a human voice. As a result, FinTech marketing and PR basked in a glow of human connections and creativity and they all lived happily ever after. Or so the story should go……we think!
As marketers we know that humans make decisions based on emotions. People buy from people – not companies, so when communicating with them why do we talk in numbers and facts – or just as bad, in tech jargon? We have become so obsessed with data and tech speak that we have lost the art of storytelling.
In 1971, long before the internet or big data were around, Herbert Simmons, economist and psychologist said, “A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention”. In the current era of internet and social media this couldn’t be more true, which means that getting bogged down in semantics, especially technical information and jargon is a surefire way to lose a prospect’s attention. People have the right to switch off!
Yes, marketing departments need to be held accountable to metrics, goals and ROI, but focusing on leads, shares and likes is surely missing an opportunity to be unique and stand out from the crowd – as well inspire people and make connections. And what industries has more human stories than finance and technology? Both topics touch everyone – an individual starting a business, saving money, making cost savings at work, struggling to get out of debt, planning for their financial future, having a more efficient workplace. FinTech companies know how people overcame those struggles and telling these stories provides answers and inspiration for clients, prospects and employees.
Storytelling augments cold, hard facts with the visceral elements that make us human: feelings, perspectives and connections. It also gives people something to remember and share.
So what makes a good story?
The following are examples of good story frameworks and articulating and finding the right blend of rationale and emotion can help influence many positive outcomes including sales.
- The “how it all started” story. Behind every company is the origin of how it started. Transferwise, the money transfer business articulated their start-up story brilliantly focusing on how the idea originated when the founder “made a mistake” transferring funds from his U.K. bank to his home country of Estonia.
- The “What we do” story. Whether it’s a product, service, a solution or even just an idea, let people know the benefits your offering brings. Although not specifically a FinTech example, one of the best examples I have seen of this is HP’s “wolf” cinematic feature staring Christian Slater, which focused on the cyber security features of its printers. A YouTube hit with a very powerful message!
- The customer story. This is an opportunity to tell the magic of your company through your customers’ eyes;
- Starling Bank use the story of a client, who manages multiple successful businesses and needed a bank that wasn’t frustrating to work with
- Monzo have a money-in-love feature that focuses on how money works on real life relationships.
Both these stories show rather than tell what a good bank can do, which builds credibility using human connections.
- The “why we exist” story. The reason your company operates – above and beyond making profit. That story should be developed by answering the following: “What meaningful difference do we want to see in our category, sector or the world at large?’ And most importantly: ‘Why should anyone care?’ Opengamma, an analytics platform for assessing derivatives trades in the OTC (over-the-counter) contracts market, does this well in this personalised interview with the CEO.
- The “we care” story. Articulating the role you play in helping the societies and communities in which you do business is a hugely powerful and emotive story that can really connect all stakeholders across your business. Citigroup do this well with their progress-maker stories…how the bank supports a range of inspirational people who are changing the future.
- The “why we are great to work for” story. A good employee story makes it easy for potential employees to get a quick snapshot of who you are and what you stand for, as well as creating a high-performance culture among existing employees. This employees video from Iwoca (name stands for “instant working capital”) is a great example of that.
- The “how we are different” story. This can be around a proprietary process, technology or customer experience. And it should be something more creative than “created by traders for traders”, which is nothing more than a gimmicky slogan if it’s not embedded in a story!
And beware….No one wants to listen to a broadcast, so avoid a thinly-veiled sales pitch masquerading as a story. It should entertain and educate.
Once you have your storyline you then need to identify the right medium to tell it…video, social media, podcast, imagery – that all depends on your audience and how best to reach them. Don’t just bury it away on your website…it should be actively promoted and utilised as a campaign to raise awareness and actively engage.
Stories are personal. We chat, gossip and engage in real life, so create the environment for people to react to your story by sharing their own, and you never know what kind of user-generated content may result.
And finally, you don’t need a huge budget or a wealth of resources to harness the power of brand storytelling.
Regardless of size, every company has stories to tell. So, the next time you are planning a marketing or PR campaign, try thinking like a storyteller rather than a marketer. You might just discover a way to create a deeper connection with your audience and live happily ever after.
If you would like help in developing your company story or utilising the art of storytelling to enhance your marketing or PR activities, please contact the MD Consulting team.