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The Role of Public Relations and Marketing for FinTech Start-ups

For a vast majority of people, Public Relations, Marketing, and Communication may be perceived as one single project; hence, it may be hard to differentiate from one another. Nevertheless, a debrief with active professionals in this sphere will make you quickly realize that each single term is utterly different and so are these activities.

Fintech News Networks had the pleasure to assist to a conference in Lithuania during the Rise Vilnius Fintech week and eagerly listened to a speech conducted by Julija Jegorova and Yana Lapitskaya, both of them having founded their own Public Relations and Marketing agencies Black Unicorn PR and Yay!Starter, respectively.

Building trust

Both public relations and communication are often underestimated and the borderline separating them is not always clear. It is crucial for start-ups to realize that the PR’s goals are not to promote nor boost sales or revenue.

‘Trustfulness’ and ‘credibility’ are the main keywords PR has to focus on. The challenge is even harder when it comes to start-up companies. Their potential clients are curious and avid to read previous customers’ feedback and perhaps, connect with them. Nothing comes easily. Brand awareness, customer base, first traction, and loyalty take time and require major investments. Young innovative start-ups face scarcity of funds; same apply to the Fintech companies.

Confidence is even more critical when we are talking about finance, stretching from wealth management, personal finance, finance applications, online payments, money transfer and so forth.

Indeed, who will be ready to provide sensible data to a third party without having carefully reviewed and conducted a thorough due diligence? Thus, branding and awareness are of paramount importance before jumping in the sales process.

Additionally, one should always keep in mind that faith from the public and clients cannot be obtained overnight; it takes a long time for a brand to be acknowledged and relied upon. Destroying the trust that has been generated over time though can be rather quick.

Common mistakes

One of the common trap start-ups companies fall into is undoubtedly about the confusion of three terms mentioned above. Marketing is about managing non-face-to-face communication. It is a general umbrella term that encompasses an array of activities such as advertising, PR, events, content marketing, etc.

Advertising, however, produces strong calls to action and is mostly geared toward the emotional aspect of the customer. Quite expensive, its goal is to create and maintain awareness of a specific brand. Public Relations is relatively expensive and focuses on other aspects than advertising. In fact, Public Relations is non-commercial. It aims at generating trust and building reputation from the readers and the public through storytelling.

Another common mistake is often due to over-complicating the language and messaging. Have a serious talk with professionals, experts, and specialists and ask them to describe what their job entails with their own jargon. If your background is significantly different than theirs, the chances you have to understand them are quite slim…not to say almost nil. Sit next to a programmer or coder desk and ask them. Same apply to Marketing and Public Relations.

Specialists expecting average persons to understand right away what are the products’ features, the services offered, and the underlying technology used are wrong. As stated during the talk,

“Do not overcomplicate, use simple terms that could be understood by anyone around you. Go beyond your comfort zone and ask normal people if they understand what you may be talking about. You should be able to explain your business within one single sentence”.

How many ICOs papers, for instance, were released, published and sent to potential interested investors/clients?A lot. Out of them, how many were written in a very complex way, too technical with difficult wording? Too many!

For the record

Don’t try to sound genius and do not overcomplicate things. One size does not fit all and your approach should be flexible. What may be easy for you may be out of reach for others.

Last but not least, media role and its impact should not be underestimated. Some of us may found it old-fashioned but for some businesses, the old traditional way may remain a good alternative: advertise on newspapers and journals.

Yes, not everybody goes digital… As recalled by Julija Jegorova, most of the people taking decisions nowadays are people from a certain age who enjoy reading physical newspapers while holding them in their hands; not everybody spends time on sophisticated devices such as smartphones or tablets… Some of us tend to forget about this.


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