CEO Engagement in Communications is Key to Supporting Growth in the Finance Industry

Digital transformation in finance has been the word on many people’s lips for some time now with new FinTechs being created on a daily basis. But it’s not just the FinTechs that have made a shift in this sector, it is also the big global tech firms such as Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft […]

Digital transformation in finance has been the word on many people’s lips for some time now with new FinTechs being created on a daily basis. But it’s not just the FinTechs that have made a shift in this sector, it is also the big global tech firms such as Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft (GAFAM) that are now giving many organisations a run for their money, finance included, particularly with the Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2) coming into force.

Flexible and nimble challenger banks are also looking at how they can inject the market with customer-led, creative and digital solutions. Whilst there have been casualties and many failed attempts to claim a share of the market, this injection of competition has certainly stirred things up and made everyone review their brand, how they operate and engage customers more effectively.

Given the challenges over the last ten years, and the marketing-led approach that has been taken by many of these new entrants in financial services, it’s not surprising that the spotlight has returned to marketing and communications as a central component to developing a robust growth strategy.

Monzo, for example, is one such organisation that has ripped up the rule books and taken a fresh new approach to engaging a younger, digital first end customer. Having started as a digital only banking service it was granted a full banking license earlier this year.

Never has it been more relevant and important to have a robust marketing and communications process to support reputation and the development of more credible and trusted relationship with customers.

Central to this is being clear as to what your story is, and what you want to be known for. In an industry where there are many new and older organisations, having a clear point of view that is different and positions you as a credible leader is key to success.

Integral to this communication’s led approach is having a CEO and leadership team that will take the plunge and lead the discussion along this journey. As the head of an organisation, the CEO will directly influence the personality of the business. He or she will set the tone for business behaviours and be fundamental in the creation of its identity (with a little help along the way). In many ways, the CEO is an essential member of the marketing team and leading voice piece for the business, or arguably should be.

Whilst CEOs are rightly focused on growth and financial return, they also recognise the value of building the ‘good’ reputation of their business, with many seeing themselves as the reputational stewards. The KPMG 2017 Global CEO outlook report outlines how reputation and risk, alongside trust in a time of disruption, has risen on the CEO agenda to become one of the top most important issues they face today.

We recently surveyed over 500 CEOs and CMOs, and our research showed us that whilst 95% of CEOs claim to regularly engage with marketing, over 70% then go on to provide a range of reasons why this does not happen in reality. When the CMOs were asked about the levels of contact that they had with their CEO, 42% said they still struggled to engage their CEO. This was particularly interesting given the fact that 84% of CEOs believe that a robust communications strategy is critical to business growth.

It appears that whilst many leaders believe they are involved and engaged, there is a perception gap between the CEO and CMO on what this really means, and what is required of the CEO.

So, despite its growing importance in driving growth and supporting new entrants in the financial services industry and further, there is still a real challenge that needs to be overcome in educating the CEO and leadership teams around marketing and communications in practise and their need to engage actively in this. They may understand its importance, but it appears many CEOs are still unclear about the role they should play, and the value this will have.

 

For more information on this topic and advice about how we can help you approach this please go to: https://speedcommunications.com/xchange/leadership-marketing-gap/

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