Setting up a fintech company may not be similar to whipping a savoury meal. However, it does require certain ingredients, and when you have the perfect recipe, coupled with the proper technique, and poof! – magic happens.
Many of you may ponder, what ingredients are we talking about? Your fintech startup is all set to revolutionise the industry. Your company is set up, you have sufficient capital and resources, you have put in your blood, sweat and tears in creating something amazing, so what more do you need? The secret ingredient for a successful fintech startup is Public Relations (PR). Similar to how salt is a crucial ingredient in bringing out the flavour in a dish, PR is vital for fintech companies to be successful and here are some reasons why.
Public Relations Humanises Fintech
Fintech is a domain which requires considerable technical knowledge and expertise to understand. For those who are not experts in the field, fintech is something that remains distant and unfamiliar.
But fintech does not have to be technical. What PR professionals do is that we help brands manage the flow of information between their company and its target audience in their preferred manner. For instance, whether it is the end-customer or potential investors, we all love stories! One of the most effective tools that we employ is storytelling. It provides a deeper connection and engagement, which is extremely important for fintech because it adds colour and appeal to the brand as well as the product.
Your target audience has varying requirements, and the information that goes out in the public domain needs to cater to them accordingly. Competent public relations practitioners develop strategies grounded in their research, which provide the right perspective of the brand and its solutions to serve the interests of all the stakeholders involved.
Public Relations Helps to Cut Through the Clutter
To put things into context, a report by Ernst & Young in 2018 indicated that Southeast Asia has more than 1,200 fintech startups. In Singapore alone, the lion city has 490 fintech companies, and if we were to include big multinational fintech corporations, that figure would increase exponentially. The ecosystem is highly saturated, and every fintech player is competing with the same pool of investors, consumers or end-customers.
With so many fintech companies out there, how do potential investors, end-customers or financial intermediaries like non-banking financial institutions decide which company should they partner with?
Strategic communications can help the company cut through the clutter in such a competitive setting and put itself in the spotlight. Beyond showcasing fintech solutions, pubic relations positions the brand properly and demonstrates its leadership in the space. It enables the company to become part of a bigger narrative like driving financial inclusion for the region or enabling the digitalisation of traditional financial services for the new generation of tech-savvy customers.
With effective public relations, a fintech company can create a brand that emanates leadership and build a positive reputation – establishing a platform for itself to be one step above the competition.
Public Relations, the Trustworthy Musketeer, Aramis
The main focus of PR is organic outreach where we use different news or media publications to deliver stories on behalf of the company, or simply put, creating “third-party endorsers”. However, public relations is much more than just garnering publicity or getting the company’s name in print, web or on television.
In his speech, Ravi Menon, Managing Director of Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) noted that “trust is a key attribute for the success of a financial ecosystem,” and he likened trust to how Aramis is to D’Artagnan in the three musketeers.
Especially in the fintech space, trust and credibility are critical success factors and public relations helps to highlight how the company makes the market safe and transparent for its users. PR experts also operate as an organisation’s ‘antenna’, continually scanning the sphere of influence and alerting the organisation to new threats and opportunities, helping them to frame appropriate responses to emerging issues.
How Public Relations Is the Secret Ingredient
According to the Google Temasek e-Conomy SEA 2019 report, the fintech sector has an inflow of $1.7 billion from 2018 until the first half of this year – a six-fold increase from 2017. From legacy players like CitiBank and StanChart to aspiring startups and successful unicorns such as homegrown brand Grab and Razer, and challengers like Gojek, Tokopedia, and Traveloka, everyone wants a slice of this pie.
The fintech industry in Southeast Asia will only get more competitive as new challengers emerge and regulations tighten. It is not surprising that PR is an important function that complements business objectives and helps to steer the company in the right direction to overcome the various headwinds that lie ahead.
At PRecious, we have a delegated startup practice #SPARKS – that has worked with over 150 startups, and we have since established a deep understanding of high-growth companies, especially so for the fintech space. To find out more about getting the real value of PR for your company, get in touch with the PRecious team.
And Voilà! – your piquant meal seasoned with the spices and herbs of PR is ready!