Storytelling has been around since the dawn of time. Stories enable us to tap into our humanity and to connect with other people. They allow us to string concepts along a timeline that extends from past to present to future and provides context, emotion, and meaning.
Storytelling augments the cold, hard facts with the visceral elements that make us human: feelings, perspectives, and morals. Oftentimes, we associate storytelling with fiction—an escape from or outright denial of the facts. Truth be told (and pun intended), storytelling can actually enable us to better embrace the truth, see the light, and come to terms with reality.
Fintech Stories: Where Storytelling and Fintech Collide
Fintech is an industry but it is also a story in and of itself. It has a beginning (pain points in the financial industry), a middle (pain spurs disruptors to pop up and change the status quo), and an end (while “fintech” is ongoing, each startup, solution, and tool represents an end to a current pain point).
Then, of course, there are smaller fintech stories—the stories of each fintech startup, of each unbanked person, of each financial services mammoth brought to its knees by the spark of an idea that disrupted the entire way money moves. The story of Bitcoin. Of Blockchain. Of Open Banking.
We are drawn to stories we can relate to and what is more relatable than finances? Everybody deals with them, and they can be a pain point for many people. They can be a pain point for businesses too, but (and pay attention here) businesses don’t have feelings. The people that they are made of do. The beauty of of fintech—this all-encompassing, widening-by-the-day sector—is that there is something that touches everybody. This relatable nature makes it a prime topic for excellent storytelling. It draws us into its tide—a tide that often rises and falls with world financial markets—and makes us hold our breath to see how it will climax and conclude. It taunts us to use our imaginations, to create our own solutions to problems and our own opportunities with burgeoning technologies.
So Why Aren’t More Fintechs Embracing Their Stories?
I wonder this all the time. There are incredible stories to be told: brand stories, use case stories, success stories, failure stories. Yet most of the digital content I read or see about fintech is dry, stale, and cold. It is detached and sterilized. It lacks imagination. It pushes people away.
I get it.
Stories are told with purpose and when it comes to business, that purpose is often to make money. Brands tell stories to raise awareness, extend reach, generate leads and ultimately to close sales. What they should understand is that stories can have more than one purpose. Yes, marketing departments need to be held accountable to metrics and goals and ROI…and stories may be one way of achieving these objectives. But stories can also—and should—inspire people. Too often I see brands put the cart before the horse and figure out a recipe for the perfect topics, tone, and cadence to get the most shares, likes, traffic, and leads. What is missing is the heart. No one makes sales without capturing a prospect’s heart. Call it cheesy, but also call it true.
Rather than ramping up elaborate campaigns to cram people through the marketing funnel or push them along in the customer lifecycle, brands should be reaching out and drawing people in where it matters: emotionally, empathically, and most importantly, humanly.
I also get that this makes people uncomfortable. It maybe comes across as unprofessional and it certainly presents as unmeasurable. But just because something can’t be measured doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be a primary purpose. We’re missing the mark, people, and we all deserve better.
Well-told stories not only entertain and capture people’s hearts, they educate, inform, intellectually stimulate, incite action, and help shape reality. I can’t emphasize enough how these ideas are not mutually exclusive. Whether it’s brands or people, technology or concepts, data or news, fintech as a whole stands to benefit from the sharing of stories. The right vehicles, the right messages, the right brand tone & voice can all be measured and distilled down to a scientific standard for delivery. The key is finding the heart of your story and to be willing to embrace the vulnerability involved in telling it well. It’s the key to connecting, to sharing information, and at the end of the day, to putting money in the bank.