Fintech in the Media: Leading the Conversation

There is no doubt about it: financial technology is a crowded space.  The term “fintech” was coined in 2015 as a term for start-ups raising large amounts of money for platforms and products serving to disrupt the industry’s established banks and wealth management firms.  Since then, companies have been sprouting up at a phenomenal pace – and the media is taking notice. From consumer to trade to everything in between, media outlets are allocating major resources to reporting on the space.  

In a media landscape that is so thirsty for good content, considering where and how your company can be a part of the dialogue is extremely important to staying competitive, noticed, and relevant.

The question is: are you part of the conversation?  

As PR pros, you’ll often hear us say that our job is a mix of (social) science and (storytelling) art – and that’s true. What you say, where you say it, and how, matters. So here are some points to consider if your company starts drowning in industry saturation.

What you say: Embrace the buzzwords – but know how to use them

As with any industry, fintech carries with it a number of buzzwords. This is due, in part, to the way major players in the space describe the competitive value of their services, via their website and social media. The media takes these terms, regurgitates them and there you have it – media buzzwords.

Here are a few that you’ve probably seen one or one thousand times: integration, robo-advisor, open architecture, streamlined, secure.

These are important terms for a reason. Consumers and users of fintech products care about these terms and, because of the attention they’ve garnered, put a lot of value in them. So embrace the buzzwords – but be able to talk about them on a deeper level that proves you “get it.” Explain why open architecture is crucial in an increasingly entrepreneurial and build-it-yourself word. Speak in depth about the various levels of cybersecurity, such as multi-factor authentication and encryption. Be more than just a buzzword- be the leading expert.

Where you say it: Know who your audience is – and where to reach them

As the fintech industry continues to evolve, it’s incredibly important to have a targeted media relations approach rooted in a deep understanding of who your consumer base is. In order to stand out, it is critical that you know exactly the audience whom you are speaking to. This will make sure your messaging is pointed and impactful, weeding out the players in the space who don’t have market share with your ideal consumer.

Ask these questions:

  • Who am I trying to reach? Break down your top-, middle-, and bottom- tier customer base.
  • Who influences the customer I’m trying to reach?  Certain consumer bases – like Millennials for example – may pay equal or more attention to advice from peers/family rather than media. Target the influencers, and you’ll reach your customer.
  • From where do my customer and their influencer(s) get their information?  Think strategically about your target media. A publication with a small circulation to the right people will have a greater impact than one with a large circulation to the wrong people. Not all mainstream media is created equally.

How you say it: Be on the right side of the conversation

As with any industry, the financial services space has a strict set of government regulations and guidelines that play an important role in dictating the future of products such as automated investment platforms and mobile banking apps. April 10 is quickly approaching, bringing with it the activation of the DOL fiduciary rule for investment brokers and financial advisors. The SEC continues to release guidelines aimed at keeping sensitive financial information safe from cyber threats. The point is, there’s a lot going on – and as a key participant in the conversation, it’s crucial that your company be on the right side of it.

As with most things in business, but particularly as a voice in the media, transparency is extremely important. When a storyline arises, be the first to the conversation and directly address how your company is not only impacted by industry news – but how it is responding to it. Does your platform offer performance reporting features that make it more appealing in the wake of the DOL ruling? Does the software measure well beyond the minimum cybersecurity requirements outlined by the SEC? By moving toward the noise instead of away from it, you create a level of trust and confidence via the media and serve as a trusted source and thought leader industry-wide.

Building a media footprint takes time. And in a space that’s so quickly evolving and becoming saturated by competitors and non-competitors, the time to act is now.  By knowing what to say, where to say it and how, you’ll not only be a part of the conversation – you’ll lead it.