Data & content management have a visible impact on a business, whether done correctly, in half measures, or not at all, and can have adverse effects on a firm’s reputation, operations, and in the long run, vision. Here Katie Rigby-Brown, VP of global financial services at SDL, discusses the currency of content in a global financial economy.

Arguably in one of the world’s first global industries, financial services organisations are no stranger to the challenges of managing an intercontinental customer base.

However, financial service organisations are now embracing digital revolution in the race to survive against a back-drop of fintech competition, the hangover of reputational damage, and increasing regulatory compliance. Yet this is also presenting new challenges for how firms with a global employee and customer base handle their content.

One thing is certain, whether boutique or behemoth, the need to engage, capture and retain your customers at speed and without compromising data protection, anti-bribery, or corruption law, irrespective of location or language, is now greater than ever before.

Traditionally, financial service organisations have managed their multi-lingual content in one of three ways; using in-house teams, local niche providers or trusted freelancers, or a hybrid of both. A myriad of systems currently exists to create, store and publish content; from managing marketing content and regulatory publications to managing customer information, policy documentation and learning programmes. At best, the sheer volume of options available causes businesses to overspend much needed cash. At worst, irreparable reputational damage is caused and companies receive financial penalties for non-compliance.

Many will know that while this silo model worked historically, it is not a scalable solution for today’s environment. The rate of content production has increased sevenfold and added to increasing regulation, often unique to each country; this model simply isn’t sustainable anymore.

As the industry becomes more digitalised, forward thinking, and interconnected, and at a rate incomprehensible to most, we must ask what this means for business and how to succeed in such an environment.

One way financial service organisations can succeed in this new digital environment is by taking control of their content ecosystem. A piece of content goes on a long, protracted journey, passing through content optimization software many different hands before it reaches its target audience. By having a strong grasp on where all content is and who it is with, from beginning to end, businesses reduce the risk of non-compliance with market or data regulations.

Having a tight grasp on the content ecosystem from end-to-end is critical for organizations who want to avoid fines or reputational damage. When content management is a top priority, the chance of physical or electronic content going missing or falling into the public domain is greatly reduced.

Another crucial way to succeed is to leverage your own existing assets. This is a catch-22 for many companies who may have style guides for some areas but not for others - standardising these can be a challenge, especially when trying to maintain legacy. However, customers today expect companies and brands to communicate to them in a certain tone of voice that still manages to be personable.

The easiest (and cheapest) way to make the most of existing company assets and to take control of brand tone of voice is by maximising the investment that’s already been made. Most companies already have an established tone of voice. But instead of starting from scratch, creating style guides that show how to use that tone of voice in target markets will ensure the hard work already done doesn’t go to waste. This will also help to reduce the chances of being non-market compliant in those territories.

It may sound obvious, but using the right technology for the right use case is essential. A mixture of on premise, saas or hybrid solutions that support your content classification and organisational appetitive for cloud will allow you to respond to the challenges presented by agile fintech competitors, personalising, targeting and protecting your content.

Understanding the challenges that need to be overcome and finding the right technological solution to solve them could be the difference between a successful campaign and a reputational crisis. While financial service organisations are no stranger to dealing with global communities that require different content usually all at the same time, organizations that do not embrace the speed of change will fall foul and ultimately fail. Can your business risk playing fast and loose with data and brand reputation? The likely answer is no – so take action now before it is too late.