We recently wrote about how working with PR agencies can benefit companies in the fintech sector.
But what should fintech firms be looking for in a PR agency? In this guest post, we asked Clarity client Sophie Guibaud, Vice President European Expansion at Fidor Bank, to outline five qualities she looks for in a PR agency.
Having worked with PR agencies in the past, I’ve found that I really had to chase them to find out to find out about progress on different projects and to try and understand where their time was being spent, in order to justify the investment to top management. You shouldn’t have to chase a good PR agency. They should be completely transparent about the way they work and ensure you have a system that lets you get a real-time update on the status of all activity. This forms a foundation of trust on which you can build.
The agency also needs to be responsive – the world of fintech moves fast, and there are a lot of moving parts within our organisation, all with different PR needs. This means we often have to move quickly on both proactive and reactive projects. At Fidor, we are keen to make sure we take every opportunity to talk about what we are doing and show that we have the finger on the pulse of our industry. A responsive PR agency will ensure that you don’t miss these opportunities.
High quality work and counsel
Your PR representatives are the experts when it comes to communications. This means that they should be guiding you at every step, not waiting for you to tell them what to do. The agency should always have advice about the best approach, and be able to explain the rationale behind their thinking. They are also the ones who should be defining the strategies and core messages – their expertise is invaluable here.
As part of our PR programme, I author a lot of thought leadership articles for placement in various publications – including academic journals such as the Journal of Digital Banking – but I would be the first to admit that I am not the greatest writer in the world. A good agency should be able to help with the drafting and editing of thought leadership articles to ensure that your presentation is always perfect – and this applies to all other materials that your company creates and disseminates.
An extension of your team
Building a long-term relationship with a good PR agency really pays dividends as they will become like an extension of your in-house team. This means they know everything that is going on within the business, understand the fintech industry well, and learn how the key people within the organisation think. In turn, they can better anticipate your needs and understand what is going to work best for you on an ongoing basis. Of course, this means getting to know each other outside of work as well. If you’re comfortable socialising with your PR team, then you will find it much easier to be completely honest with each other.
When Fidor Bank launched in the UK in 2015, we secured over 50 pieces of coverage in national and broadcast press, including: BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, Radio 4 Moneybox, Bloomberg TV, Sky News, BBC Business, The Times, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, City AM and The Independent. Within one week of the launch, website traffic increased by 440%. Our Facebook page received a 430% increase in traffic and interaction, and our online community saw a 200% boost in sign-ups.
Since then, the coverage continues to roll in and on the back of this, we have successfully built media profiles for several people within our business, and continue to be asked to participate at key industry events including The Economist’s Future of Banking Summit, Wired Money, and the Retail Banking Innovation Conference. These kind of results speak for themselves – we can clearly see the return on investment that we have got from engaging a PR agency.
by Sophie Guibaud, Fidor Bank