“What we’re doing here is game changing for the industry.”
“We have no true competitors.”
Anyone who has worked in PR has heard one of these phrases uttered by a client or prospect. You hear them so often that after a while it’s easy to become desensitized. It’s like listening to Jets fans talking about how next year will be their year (that joke was just for our VP of Content, Ken MacFayden, a long suffering fan of the Gang Green).
But after having some time lately to think about our growing fintech practice here at BackBay Communications, I realize that working with companies that have this mentality makes our work both challenging and rewarding.
It’s challenging for a number of reasons. Technology is a competitive space where many companies are doing similar things serving a similar market. Sources of hard news are hard to come by since financial institutions aren’t predisposed to vouch for their vendors (a topic for another blog in the future). As the media pool continues to consolidate, companies across the board are having to take more control of crafting and distribution their stories, relying less on the media to relay it to the market.
I know I’m not treading much new ground here. But because of this reality, PR strategy over the years has evolved to be less reliant on earned media. And while it’s still the golden egg, we’re finding success when we craft a program that is rooted in spokesperson development and thought leadership. And that’s hard to do. Developing true thought leaders that drive a public relations program takes time, and a lot of reps. It’s making sure you get the client in front of the small group of journalists that matter, and then cultivating those relationships. It’s building a strong repository of content and nurturing distribution channels to make sure that not only the right eyes see your brand, but are informed, entertained and inspired by what you have to say.
Side note: If you’re interested in learning more about how the best fintech companies are doing content, I’d highly suggest you read our fresh research on the matter.
The reason it’s so rewarding is directly tied to its challenges. Because of the competition, if you’re able to get your client’s message above the fray and into the mainstream, it’s a true accomplishment. Convincing journalists that are incessantly strapped for time to meet with your client is a big deal. Writing a byline on an industry trend that’s not directly promotional and placing it in a leading trade publication is validation. Digging into the client’s value proposition and unearthing the real reason why they are transformative – the reason why they intrinsically claim they have no competitors – is like a treasure hunt. If you are able to bring that differentiator to light, it means everything.
Don’t get me wrong, sometimes the fintech prospects we talk to are drunk on the Kool-aid. I mean, some of them I’m convinced wouldn’t think twice running through a brick wall and upending a perfectly pleasant social gathering. They aren’t transformative, and they definitely have competitors that they need to acknowledge. In those cases, it’s on us to call out the sizzle from the steak.
But most of the time, we’re talking about people who genuinely believe in the company they work for, the mission they’re striving to achieve, and the products and/or services behind it. Engaging with clients that have this much gusto can be contagious, energizing, frustrating, tiring and rewarding all at the same time. And while it means the bar keeps rising for us and our work, we also find that our fintech clients are some of the most appreciative when we’re able to deliver. At the end of the day, we are the stewards of our clients’ stories, and that’s a responsibility we don’t take lightly.
That being said, if you work for a transformative fintech that has no equal, I’m always open to a conversation. Shoot me a note – firstname.lastname@example.org.