When we talk about influencers, who they are and what they do, we usually envision people who already proven themselves on several occasions, in their ability to convince a vast majority of the public in paying attention to anything they put forward. Such influencers usually have a great number of followers, and you better believe me when I say that most of them are really, really loyal ones – they will follow those influencers every step of the way if needed.
Were do they follow you ask me, and I will tell you – just look around. These influencers surround you everywhere: social, entertainment, gosh, even politics. And what makes them thick, if of course the unconditional love and admiration of their followers. If we talk about brand awareness, most of the times it comes to the public popularity of a domain.
This what makes brand awareness the single most important thing in marketing. It is not a surprise that each and every brand out there is fighting to improve its brand awareness as much as possible. Because if done right – every potential lead can turn into a real loyal customer, and you definitely need those if you want to achieve something since they will eventually turn into solid sales and substantial profit.
On the other hand, for all the new businesses and start-ups, brand awareness in the much-needed leverage that is required to sustain their brand and improve sales. And if we talk about today, there is this one tool that can definitely bring your brand straight to A league.
All influencers are inevitably powerful, and though may all seem very different, they all have a lot in common. The first thing they have is trust – they are seen as knowledgeable, respected and consisted members in their field of expertise. Another thing they have is reaching – which is clear as day since all of them have huge followings across at least one, and sometimes even several social platforms.
Last but not least is content – which they produce out a steady stream, and is usually very high quality and appeals deeply to their fan base. An influencer can play many roles, with one of the most common beings:
- Spokesperson – amplifying the voices of the few, raising important issues, channeling view of the masses, representing an entity or organization;
- Thought Leader – educating, curating content, setting the agenda, sharing knowledge, driving the debate;
- Marketing – raising brand awareness, influencing purchasing decisions, pushing products and services, selling stuff;
- Entertainer – popular culture content, sartorial comment, media creator, amusing observations.
But what about FinTech?
FinTech is still a relatively new industry, that applies technologies in order to improve financial activities. Fintech companies consist of both established organizations and startups, either financial or technological, trying to enhance or replace services provided by existing financial companies.
Most of the common areas for FinTech companies include alternative finance, financial management, and mobile and online payments. Investments in FinTech has risen dramatically lately – from $2 billion to $35 billion, since the year 2008, and is expected to reach a $46 billion mark by the year 2020, according to Statista. Development companies are building separate departments focusing on and working on financial software solutions.
Recently, Snoop Dogg got revealed as the new shareholder as well as the celebrity face of Klarna, in their new advertising campaign for the POS financing house.
This way Snoop adds his name to the growing list of FinTech influencers, which already includes names like Shaquille O’Neal, Akon, and Will.I.Am. And with social media being a staple in our everyday life routine, socially and culturally, it raises a good question of whether or not these celebrity endorsements can work in the same way for the FinTech companies as they do for music, fashion, and entertainment industries.
It looks like the concept of the brand is becoming more and more relevant in the financial technology sector, as the stage for competitors is becoming increasingly crowded, and everyone is now looking for a solid way to pull ahead of the others. And since most of the goods and services are particularly the same, it is now mostly a question of not “what” you sell, but “how” you sell it.
So how exactly FinTech influencers can influence a business?
Reinvention of banking – This I believe to be both conceptually and technically viable. I believe that there are simple fundamental parts of banking that are just wrong in its nature. There are also other parts, like data ownership, privacy, API mgmt, that are being developed in an unhealthy way and I would like this topic to raise more attention and sparkle a real conversation. Maybe one day we will even see a viable solution (probably not).
Disruptive technology promotion – I was always a big fan of technologies like Blockchain, virtual reality, deep and machine learning, wearables, mobile, beacons, biometrics, big data, etc. and I believe having more of it in financial services will be really game changing and can bring new exciting possibilities.
Industry Advocacy – Banking took a serious reputational hit during the recent financial crisis and is still has a long way to go in order to rebuild its trust. This is not simply a PR activity, but a real shift in how banks operate, their focus and their priorities. Banking is once again facing a huge storm and this time it is not a financial one, but an instability as banking undergoes a conceptual step-change at the hands of the disruptive innovators. This change is inevitable but an orderly transition can be preferable.
At the end of 2017 however, the Securities and Exchange Commission published an official warning, that stated that investors should not be made “just because someone famous says a product or service is a good investment”.
The warning was published right after a number of celebrities started to aggressively push their initial coin offerings on all of their social media accounts. Additionally, instead of our favorite celebrity endorsements, would it not make more sense for customers to provide future customers with the success stories?
According to the 2018 Sprout Social Index, 61% of people said that they would rather take interest in a product if their friend recommended it, in comparison to 36% who would, if the product was endorsed by an influencer.
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