Alastair Lyon, purpose and issues campaigns specialist–brand marketing
Thanks to younger generations’ collaborative nature today, we are likely to see a world of collaboration and cohesion tomorrow. If brands are to survive, let alone thrive, in this new social order, they will need to embed themselves into the fabric of the very communities expected to prosper as a result of this change. They will need to be, ‘Community Companies.
This rather utopian vision of togetherness, and how companies weave themselves into the fabric of society, is not some flippant fantasy conjured up by a trends dilettante, but rather, a paraphrased version of Martin Raymond’s considered and calculated conclusion to his chapter in our Culture Unit’s latest report, The Togetherness Economy.
The fintech industry has, arguably, differentiated itself by putting this belief at its core, opening up what had been a mystical finance sector to previously excluded audiences. But with today’s widely reported – and keenly felt – economic headwinds showing little sign of abating in the near to medium term, it’s more important than ever that companies operating in this space don’t abandon this communal mindset.
Community at the core
Raymond’s logic for the ‘Community Company’ revolves around something reassuringly simple: human nature. We have, he observes, since our advent as a species been uniquely adept at, and transfixed upon, what he calls the five Cs: Community, Conviviality, Collaboration, Conscientiousness and Cooperation. Ultimately, fostering inclusive environments that are sympathetic to the wants and needs of the many, and the collective being greater than the sum of its parts, are the very essence of what make ours such a successful species.
The fintech sector has a remarkable track record in producing companies that subscribe – at varying degrees – to the core elements of this new paradigm. Some of the industry’s biggest success stories were established with the very mission of embodying the values that Raymond argues will resonate so effectively with the consumer of the future. One thinks of the apps – many of which are now household names – that have opened-up the world of investment to a whole new swathe of society by allowing novices to learn from the professionals. Or the challenger banks whose founding mission was to help underserved communities. Even the platforms that allow consumers to buy into the private companies that they are passionate about.
Preparing for incoming headwinds
However, with the economic forecast looking stormy, it’s more important than ever that fintechs don’t lose their focus on community in their attempts to navigate the difficult times. However, tempting it may be, fintechs must be unstinting in their application of Raymond’s guiding principles in their communications strategies. But what does that mean in practice?
- Communicating clearly about business decisions that might need to be made and the impact they could have on the end user takes priority.
- Continuing to engage with customers in the way that has propelled fintech’s reputation: responsive, comforting, down-to-earth and supportive.
- Where possible, seeking feedback from customers to ensure their voice is heard.
The fintech sector is at its effective best when it is giving its parent industry a bout of much-needed innovation and a sense of community. By keeping Raymond’s principles front of mind as we enter a more challenging period, they will stay true to the communities they serve, and in many cases have actively fostered, and weather any incoming storms.
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November 20, 2023
November 15, 2023