Some marketing content just seems to write itself. Trying to sell sexy things like fashion items or the latest mobile devices is like trying to market candy to a 6-year-old.
Unfortunately, it’s not easy to make marketing content for all topics. Financial institutions have it especially difficult. Why might we say that?
First of all, money and budgets are not fun to think about. Finances make people anxious. So when they are on social media and swiping through content, most people don’t want to be bombarded with content from lenders, banks, or other financial institutions.
On top of that, for someone to decide to give their business to a new financial institution, they need to feel a good deal of trust. We don’t trust just anyone with our money and secure information, right?
That means a marketer has to create content that will build deep trust between your company and the target audience, all the while packaging that powerful, relationship-crafting material into a message that is fun to watch or see. Otherwise, no one will give it enough attention for trust to be built in the first place!
So, let’s look at 3 sterling examples of financial content initiatives that managed to tick all the necessary boxes, even, at times, going above and beyond in funny, intriguing, or downright viral ways.
With each example, we can see what lessons we might learn from these fantastic financial campaigns, lessons that can be applied to other money-related brands, or, really, just about any brand, financial or not.
Citi: Brand and Culture
If you told people you were setting out to make a bank cool for young people, you’d probably get laughed out of the room. Banks aren’t cool, right?
Citibank has managed to do just that, however. They’ve run side-businesses that keep their brand on people’s minds all the time. Think about Citibike as an example. Need a ride through town? You can’t help but think of the bank.
But even more impressive is Citi Entertainment.
Both Citi customers and non-customers can browse their entertainment offerings, which include exclusive musical events. You can follow their content on social or through an email newsletter, but you can only pay for an event with a Citibank card.
Instead of trying to gain trust by the conventional means, Citibank works to stand out in the world of pop culture and music.
When you are making content or designing content marketing strategies for a brand, you can think outside the box as well, breaking the mold on what people normally expect from a certain company type.
MD Financial: Build Trust Early
In many ways, MD Financial has it harder than most other financial companies because they focus on medical professionals. With such a specific demographic, they have to think carefully about what kind of content will help them build trust.
Their answer: A Medical School Cost Calculator. By targeting their ideal audience early, when they are looking for a med school, MD Financial works to establish a positive relationship early.
We can learn a lot from MD Financial. They think hard about their target audience, and they design content throughout the buyer’s journey that will build trust in the long run. That patience, and desire to build trust early, help them form a relationship that will last years into the future.
Think of how a different kind of company could do the same. Say you work for a homeschooling business. Your brand produces books and curriculums for parents wishing to teach their kids at home, starting with Kindergarten. Could you apply the MD Financial strategy and reach out to parents when their children are still very young, like handle topics such as potty-training and helping a child to say their first words? You could talk about the best chores for small children, the benefits of reading with toddlers, or how to help babies develop both intellectually and emotionally.
Parents that find that content and use it will develop a sense of trust with your brand. And all this happens long before the parent has even considered the possibility of homeschooling their kids. If they do plan to go down that route, what brand will come to their mind? Yours!
Mastercard: Amazing Videos
MasterCard has been making video content on YouTube for more than a dozen years now, and the quality of their video library is outstanding. They focus on fun topics that appeal to a younger audience, and many of their videos feature travel, as well.
Along the way, they also talk about how technology is creating new digital payment solutions, making MasterCard a thought leader in this space.
Their videos are memorable, too. The “priceless” motto has been burned into the public consciousness. More recently, the Priceless Surprise video series has brought beloved celebrities to meet some of their biggest fans.
What lesson can we learn from this, no matter what kind of brand we create content for? First of all, we should remember that consistency does matter. MasterCard has been killing it with video for years, and, as a result, their brand equity only grows over time.
We may feel, at times, that our content isn’t having an impact. But, with time, as we build a library of articles or videos or podcast episodes, we can generate a rolling boulder of brand that, in the future, could become an unstoppable force for good.
Let’s say, for example, that you work for a nation-wide car rental company. Can you use videos and written articles to show happy customers through the years? Can you continue to refresh old blog posts so that Google doesn’t penalize them for being inactive? Can you curate a special library of past content and feature it occasionally on the company website or social media?
People are more likely to trust a brand that they see has been consistent for several years. Your content can contribute to that trust.
Morgan Stanley: Idea Leadership
Finance is built on innovation, on revolutionary ideas and thought leadership. We often think of successful bankers as smart people, not only people that are good with numbers but people that can see where our culture of commerce and investing will go in the future. Sure forward thinking provides a sense of security and builds trust.
Think about Morgan Stanley. Their “ideas” blog focuses specifically on finance and the future. They talk about e-commerce, global economic trends, and how technology will affect how we deal with money many years into the future.
Morgan Stanley uses short videos to start each topic, but the deep dive blog posts contain so much more, making them stand out from other thought contributors in this space.
What lesson can we learn from Morgan Stanley? Don’t be afraid to be the smartest person in the room. In fact, it’s an interesting strategy to stand out as being the most forward-thinking brand in your market.
Of course, being smart with your content doesn’t mean trying to go over other people’s heads. On the other hand, you don’t want to come off as condescending, either. So a fine balance is needed.
Let’s say that your content marketing teams have taken on a software company as a client. You may want to make content that shows how this brand is forward-thinking. Not only do they intimately understand software development, knowing where programming will be in five or ten years, but they also deeply understand the market their software aims to help.
At such an interesting intersection, that brand could eventually stand out as a thought leader, building trust with the public.
How to Stand Out in Finance or Banking
Creating a content marketing campaign for a bank or financial institution is not only about presenting the latest credit or debit card or other financial offering. It also has a lot to do with building trust, something that has to be done over time.
We also see that many financial companies are finding a way to stand out. They create content that highlights their brand’s unique position in the market.
Some financial brands are smarter and more forward-thinking. Others are hipper, aiming their business at the younger crowd.
What unique features does the brand you represent have? How can you play into those? How can you make your content stand out from the rest? How can you help that brand stand out for all the right reasons, building trust and establishing a unique and powerful voice in the world of finance?