Gemma Lingham, director, head of fintech UK
Global expansion is undoubtedly a major milestone for any company, particularly for fintechs whereby the industry itself is still relatively new compared to others. The ‘American Dream’ for UK-based businesses is a bold ambition, while the British Isles hold huge new market opportunities for those born in the US.
We’ve seen multiple success stories of fintechs making this leap, but it’s no small feat, and there are many moving parts. A strong communications plan must be one of these, and the importance of conveying why your move is momentous should not be underestimated. So, for those looking to cross the pond, here are our top tips for a supporting transatlantic communications strategy.
Focus on the ‘why’
Country-specific journalists, particularly those in the fintech industry, are largely focused on what’s going on in their market and the problem that new entrants are solving.
The British press is well-known for being heavily focused on UK-specific companies and their news, though American reporters can be equally as sceptical, constantly on the lookout for how new entrants are changing the industry landscape through their innovation.
It’s therefore vital that you explain why your entrance into this market is important – not why you are important. How will your presence in the market boost the economy? Provide more jobs? Enable businesses and people to do more than ever before? These are the kinds of things to put at the heart of your messaging. When factors like pre-registered users or local partnerships are highlighted, it shows scale and relevancy.
Think about the ‘who’
Equally as important as the ‘why’ is the ‘who’. In addition to the media landscape, political and regulatory landscapes differ massively in the UK and the US, and knowing if and when you need to reach this audience is crucial.
For example, with the long-term future of the Conservative government uncertain in the UK, engaging with Labour stakeholders could well be an important audience if influencing future policy is a key part of your subsequent success – particularly if your mission is around increasing financial inclusion, which is a key focus area for Labour.
In the US, blockchain technology is under the microscope as Washington navigates what regulation looks like and the future of cryptocurrency.
Mapping these stakeholders and appealing to them with the messages they care about is going to be a key part of your comms plan, but again, needs an extremely targeted approach.
Know the trends
Showing you understand market conditions and issues facing the country you’re launching in is a must.
Being able to comment knowledgeably on relevant topics is not only a primary way to secure coverage but it shows you know the country you’re going to be operating in – a somewhat critical detail, yet often overlooked.
For example, embedded finance and open banking differ greatly between the US and UK, so commenting on these trends with the same stock comment isn’t going to cut it.
Last year, Founder and CEO of Curve, Shachar Bialick, spoke about Americans’ usage of credit and debit cards, instilling confidence that the brand understood its new target audience.
Establish a local speaker team
It’s important to appoint a local spokesperson that can speak to the media, particularly at an exec level.
Reporters much prefer hearing from someone that understands and is dedicated to the country, especially when you’re communicating your launch there.
For example, if an executive is relocating or is a native of the country, make sure that features in your messaging! A spokesperson based abroad, with little visible skin in the game is unlikely to show that you’re committed to market expansion.
While these words of wisdom may seem straightforward, so often they go un-noted and communicating such an important milestone, like global brand expansion, badly does this exciting moment a major disservice.
The initial hard work of launching in the US or UK is likely already done, so your communications plan is what creates engagement with your audiences. Don’t fall at the final hurdle. By ensuring you encapsulate these areas, your expansion will get the attention it deserves.
We have fintech experts across countries and regions that can help to devise communications strategies that support key growth moments and global expansion. If you’d like to hear more, contact [email protected].
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November 20, 2023
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