Friday, December 21, 2012

Top 3 financial services communication trends for 2013

The final chapter of 2012 provoked more questions than answers for many in financial services.   

Boards, CEOs, Chief Marketing Officers and Chief Risk Officers we speak to have similar concerns. Here’s a quick (admittedly unscientific) survey of the common themes:   
  1. How will our business prosper in a tough market?
  2. Is our social media strategy right? 
  3. Do we have reputation risk covered?   

And at a more granular level...
  • How will we use content (or thought leadership) marketing to deliver results next year? 
  • Is our brand story (or stories) crystal clear – and compelling? 
  • Do we have the right resources to explore these issues and answer the key questions?    

The answers? These depend entirely on your brand and internal capability, the white space in the market, and your commercial goals for 2013.   

That said, if you’re after a few clues about where our reference group of Board members and CXOs are heading, expect to see:

Trend 1 = content-led marketing 
Financial services brands (strategically) self-publishing more than ever

Fragmented consumer media habits, the ability to measure results and to deliver compelling messages direct to audiences are all driving the rise of content marketing, aka thought leadership marketing. 

Trend 2 = repuation risk management
A focus on reputation risk management as a discipline

After years of sustained battering some reputations are a little frayed in financial services. And yet the reputation management playing field keeps expanding - in parallel to the growth in use of social media by our customers, intermediaries and other audiences.  On and offline reputation risk management as a formal discipline is starting to be taken more seriously by Boards and Risk Committees - not before time.

Trend 3 = social media as mainstream
We may have been slow to catch on but financial services will be fast to catch up in the social sphere. 

Next year we know clients and their competitors are planning selective social media engagement across internal and external audiences. The era of (often pointless) debate about "whether or not" has finally ended, and the internal conversations at Board and in the C-suite is now more often about "how" to make best use of social media.

Best wishes for the holiday season and a very prosperous 2013. Many thanks for your support in 2012 and we look forward to continuing the conversation. This post is adapted from, and first published in pr:ognosis, the quarterly BlueChip communique