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Does Fintech Have A Storytelling Problem?

By Sam Gormley, founder of Osaka Labs 

How does a Fintech company act as a tech firm with character to engage customers (take MailChimp as an example) but still remember the psychology behind our relationship with money? 

In an age of complex financial instruments and a massive transformational shift in the industry, we must address the barriers affecting consumers of new fintech products. At Osaka Labs, we’re dedicated to this cause, working every single day to ensure the best new products are in the hands of consumers and understood throughout the whole process, so we thought we’d break down the problem facing nearly every fintech product in the market, right now. 

So, what’s the route cause of the issue? 

It’s sensitive and complex, we think we’re comfortable until someone asks us how much we earn, or how much debt we have. It’s almost enough to make you wince at the thought of a group of people discussing how much money they made last year. We express our earnings by proxy — Buying or renting, £70 T-shirts vs Asos basics, Airbnb vs 5* hotels — so it’s hard to believe that people are open to sharing details on investing, pensions, personal finance and credit with a brand new company just because they have a pretty new app that looks just like the rest of the pretty new apps. Whether you’re a chatbot or an app, this is still money, and even if you’re 19 or 90, cash is always scary and complicated, or so the current system would have you believe.

we must address the barriers affecting consumers of new fintech products.

There is also the issue facing the market which we like to call ‘information monotony’. Money has always been boring, I mean, try talking tax wrappers on a first date night and you’ll see how interesting the topic is for most people. To conquer this, Fintech firms have been taking up space on the side of black cabs and red buses to show you their new apps and funny coloured cards. Ok, back to the first date situation, get your phone out and show the person across from you your app and card, and you’ll realise that this is equally as boring unless you have a Monzo card, people are actually really interested in that. 

So, how do we overcome this? Storytelling. It’s that simple. Ads are touchpoints that can tell a story, not billboards that express everything the shareholders want you to hear.

What customers want:

What is it we all want? Belonging, safety, health and growth. These are fundamentally essential elements of being a human. It’s tedious, but customers desire security, trust, 24/7 engagement and transparent communications. They don’t want emojis, memes and ‘Savage’ stickers and they don’t want to find out about a financial product on reddit/r/awww (Tandem Bank, I’m referring to you on that one). No matter what the demographic, they want respect, and they expect any business who is asking to trust them with their savings to explain why they should believe. This is an incredibly difficult message to convey in a single touchpoint and also promote your unique product’s features. 

why would you show a user an app or a card when you can show me the real impact and outcomes that can be achieved with the product?

If you get on a tube in the morning, you’re with all races, creeds, languages, so how possibly do all these ads look the same? In our opinion, a marketing campaign should be segmented around psychographics, not demographics. Web and physical content should be produced to trigger deeper feelings that will encourage the user to download and use the app. Feature lists don’t do this, impacts and results do. 

How can a Fintech firm implement storytelling? 

Let’s take an example company that has an app to help young people invest their money. This product provides a user-centric approach for something that is traditionally sensitive and complex. In addition to that, they ensure that any investments made are put into ethical funds that have a positive impact. 

Here’s your foundation, “your pocket change can promote real change”.

Working from this statement, the company can break out into different individuals wants and needs. They can talk about investing in changing the state of global warming, gender equality or sustainable energy sources, and having real impact with their money, while also getting a 5% return on their funds. This statement can also be localised based on the area the ad is being shown, or reactive based on recent news topics. This type of explanation to customers is a way of presenting a traditional industry through a different lens.

Now, with this in mind, why would you show a user an app or a card when you can show me the real impact and outcomes that can be achieved with the product?

This is all about storytelling, and developer-led marketing campaigns from some of the most innovative startups in Fintech is slowing down the revolution financial services is currently going through. 


  • Editorial Director of the The Fintech Times

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