And just like that, another Money20/20 Europe has come and gone. It was somewhat a little surprising to feel as though this year’s show was even bigger and better than last year’s. Extravagant stands, high energy and where else would you get to network on a pedalo and have donuts served to you by a robot?
Was this a completely accurate reflection of the fintech industry now? Probably more likely that the outlandish displays were a reminder of marketing spend already committed pre-downturn. However, the conversations did depict the current priorities of fintechs and, from a communications perspective, its role in conveying these to gain cut through in a different, but challenging, market.
Highlighting great governance
We all know that funding over the past six months or so has been hard to come by. Although not impossible, every session I watched on this topic focused on one core theme. Investors want to back companies with a culture genuinely worth investing in. Yes, the product or solution has to be sound, and yes, profitability in the shorter-term is pretty crucial. But investors want to see businesses that put ESG at their core, and particularly, that they aren’t letting the ‘G’ slip. In one panel, Lucia Rigo, Partner Growth Equity at Generation Investment Management and Seema Amble, Partner at Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) spoke about the need for a culture of continuous improvement, self-awareness and learning. Importantly, this must come from the top down, with both speakers stating the importance of CEOs and founders still having mentors to ensure this is a core part of the running of the business. It’s clear that communicating this kind of governance is going to be an important aspect for fintechs looking to attract investment.
Illustrating robust business practices
Another underlying theme this year, which is in line with the heightened need to reach profitability over valuation, was the need to stamp out business practices that are detrimentally impacting revenue. On the mainstage with Dan McCrum delving into the Wirecard scandal, Mary Ann Miller, Fraud and Cybercrime Executive Adviser at Prove Identity, spoke about the need for the Chief Risk Officer or Head of Fraud to have a seat at the table, otherwise face being over exposed – a cost that many, start-ups in particular, couldn’t survive. We also saw the likes of Vijay Menon, CEO and Founder of Butter Payments, talk about how his experience at multinational tech companies led him to set up a business that helps subscription companies end accidental churn – an error that doesn’t need to occur and costs business thousands, if not millions. So whether it’s the setup of the leadership team, or forging partnerships with businesses that help to solve niche, yet cost-sucking, issues, promoting these kinds of strategies is vital to highlight robustness.
Uniting internal and external communications
While the show undoubtedly gave the allure of glitz and the glam, the tone of conversations on the floor were far more closely linked to reality and the status of the industry now. In discussions with comms and marketing folk from all kinds of fintechs, it became clear that there is a heightened focus on aligning internal and external communications more than ever. There was a common acknowledgement that through times of turbulence, a unified comms strategy is crucial in getting all stakeholders – whether they are employees or customers – on board to weather the storm.
By Gemma Lingham, Head of FinTech at FleishmanHillard UK
While the external image of this year’s Money20/20 Europe may not have been an entirely accurate depiction of fintech landscape, the conversations highlighted a doubling down on clear strategies and focus areas. Without a doubt, the role of comms is more important than ever in conveying these.
Our fintech team has vast experience in messaging, positioning, employer comms and more, who can partner with you to streamline and focus your communications strategies as you navigate the coming months and beyond. If you’d like to hear more, contact [email protected].
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November 20, 2023
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