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Do Financial Firms Know the Power of Data for Storytelling?


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If you were to ask any business owner to name what has affected his/her company the most in the past five years, the answer would likely be technology. Looking at the financial services industry in particular, the impact of the digital transformation in this sector is being felt everywhere.

Created by the technology revolution is the ability to tap into the power of raw data, and financial services firms are just beginning to scratch the surface. Some of them are using this to change the client experience, others are using the information to innovate the way they market themselves.

For example, one of our clients, Joe Duran, CEO of United Capital, covered digitization in the financial world and bracing for change in his blog series for InvestmentNews. Seeing the power of tech firsthand, Joe highlighted that advisors need to evolve with how their advice is delivered. One powerful point he made: “Digitization of our industry is not a choice. What is a choice is whether you are empowered by it or you are consumed by it.”

Some well-known, “traditional” financial services firms are racing to embrace the change that technology advances have forced upon the industry, as seen in additions to their service offerings. Consider some examples:

On the backdrop of this trend, it is no wonder that the financial services community was robustly present at our agency’s latest media panel.

Earlier this month, Gregory FCA held an event on “The Power of Data for Storytelling.” The panel, moderated by our founder, Greg Matusky, included Steve Lohr, author and technology reporter at The New York Times; Frank Bi, previously at Forbes and now editorial engineer at The Verge; Paul Cheung, director of interactive and digital news production at the Associated Press; and Erika Owens, program manager at Knight-Mozilla OpenNews.

Below are two main themes these panelists covered – relating to tech and data – which financial firms should bear in mind when crafting their PR, marketing and messaging strategies:

Data has always been around (and it is here to stay)

Data has always been a part of our lives; it just hasn’t been so readily available to back great stories – technology has accelerated the process of collecting it. Financial institutions must keep in mind that numbers can tell the story. With data, we are able to go from what our experiences and intuition may say about something, to using data to support or debunk that initial “hunch.” Get ready for your clients, prospects, media and peers to be looking for facts and figures on your firm. The starting point of telling your story has changed with the increased access to data.

Data does tell the story (but don’t forget the media) 

Let’s say you curated data on your client work – the next step should leveraging what you found to the media, in its entirety. Far too many times, data is delivered as an infographic, leaving the journalist with no context or comparison. When trying to harness the power of the media, let them determine the best use of data and the story it is telling. No matter how powerful the information is, we still need journalistic expertise to figure out what it means (and what readers will care about).

Financial firms must use technology and access to data as a business opportunity to stand out from the crowd. Whether it be digitization of advice, curating data sets about your business, or changing the narrative you are telling customers, technology is there to empower you. Failure to embrace that notion will spell certain doom for your business and its relevance in the market.

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