Shaping the 2019 financial services communications landscape
Earlier this week, in collaboration with our friends at Vested, we hosted a breakfast event at the Carter Lane Gallery near St. Pauls, London on Shaping the 2019 Financial Services Communications Landscape.
The panel of experts comprised of Lucie Holloway, Head of Financial Communications at London Stock Exchange Group, Russell Pert, EMEA Industry Lead for Financial Services at Facebook, Phillipa Leighton-Jones, Editorial Director, Innovation at The Wall Street Journal Europe and Editor of WSJ City and our CEO and co-founder David Benigson. Elspeth Rothwell, CEO of Vested chaired the discussion that focused on how innovation, data-driven insights, Brexit and the need for compelling bite-sized content are impacting external communications within financial services. The panel offered their answers and thoughts on the following questions:
- How is innovation shaping and disrupting the financial services communications landscape? What innovations will we see in 2019?
- How do you leverage data-led insights within your communications strategy and approach?
- How can financial services communicators weather the Brexit storm? How do you manage messaging in this continually shifting geopolitical landscape?
- In a world where snackable content has become the norm, how do we grab attention and increase engagement?
Elspeth summarises the four key themes from the event below:
Data fuelled Insights
Data is the driving factor for ensuring engagement, impact, and longevity of content. In an age of blurred lines between the arts and sciences — where media and communications companies need to leverage data, and data companies require the art of language and analysis — driving content that is both informative and insightful requires a unique and diverse skill set. Fluffy language and overused insight are no longer good enough to cut through a noisy industry, particularly during a time where the world’s data can be aggregated in seconds. For us as communicators, applying a combination of data and meaningful analysis is critical.
Navigating the Newsroom
Another theme during the discussion was the importance of thinking like a journalist. Successful interactions with reporters require us to wear their hat, so-to-speak. Find the best stories within your organisation and tell them well.
The conversation then turned to technology’s role in storytelling. We spoke about the common misconception that AI is replacing human jobs; in fact, in most newsrooms technology is a mechanism to improve workflow and unearth much-needed intelligence to help fuel successful reporting of the news. Employing smarter and more sophisticated technologies, as well as talented teams of people, will bring the best of both worlds together.
Knowing your Audience
The panel stressed the importance of understanding one’s target market in financial services, including which medium they use to consume media, content, and information. We live in an era of instant gratification, where we as consumers have become impatient. You might get five seconds of a reader’s attention, so deliver your premise in two. For mobile, short and sweet is key; for a younger audience, utilise videos and dynamic content; for your internal communications, make sure you understand what motivates your employees and help them to tell your organisation’s stories better.
Continue to improve your content program by looking outside the organisation’s walls; look at competitors and companies outside your sector. And lean on data and analytics tools to test new methods and material: What channel best drives engagement? What content best resonates with your audience?
Measuring for Success
Targeted communications require effective measurement and evaluation. With the rise of AI and other tools, a company’s challenge isn’t if they should measure results, but rather what they should seek to measure and how different data correlates to desired outcomes.
This space is continually evolving. For example, businesses used to be able to measure multiple visits with cookies (how many times does a given computer IP address visit a site?) Now that most people have two or three devices, measurement must correlate multiple data streams and understand a user’s entire journey – regardless of the number or type of devices facilitating that journey.
The Key Takeaways
The four key takeaways from the morning are:
- Find the ‘hidden gems’ in your organisation — insights, data, employees — and mobilise them to tell your best stories
- Manage your newsroom as if you worked for a publication
- Invest in understanding your audience and how they are engaging with your content
- Use analytical tools to help drive future communications strategy, not just to justify what you’ve done so far.
You can read Elspeth’s full blog post here.