What we think

2016: Why creativity counts in financial content

January 2016

It’s often been said, unfairly, that finance is boring. Yet as banks and asset managers get better at producing blogs, white papers and videos, they’re making their subject more interesting. Amazingly, this dry sector is learning to appreciate creativity.

Until recently, even some of the biggest financial organisations had little time for creativity. As often as not, young marketing staff who didn’t read much were charged with commissioning copy and design. The results were predictably disappointing.

That’s beginning to change. As banks, asset managers and wealth managers begin to employ content marketing, posting insights on social media, they’re being judged by the crowd. And the crowd rates creativity, showing marketers that good-quality copy and video grabs attention.

Financial firms are beginning to react. Aberdeen Asset Management has a series of videos entitled the Seven Deadly Sins of Multi-Asset Investing, narrated by actress Joanna Lumley. The first, Lust, has been viewed more than 300,000 times on YouTube in just three months. At the more serious end of the spectrum, M&G’s Bond Vigilantes blog has 25,000 followers on Twitter.

For us, the past 12 months have been refreshing. Our clients have started asking for all the elements of good writing – being strong headlines, clear points of view, interesting facts, intriguing quotes etc. As 2016 begins, they’re asking for more of the same. Already this year, we’ve had several calls from clients wanting to improve their written content in just this way.

Of course, what’s driving this appreciation of soft creativity is hard data. Social media views and advanced web site metrics reveal the interest garnered by a piece of content. They deliver a wealth of information about readers, and ideally show them becoming loyal followers of a firm’s content.

As heads of marketing view these statistics, they see a huge difference between good and bad content. Just as great journalism sells newspapers, so insightful content builds brands. The banks and asset managers we work for are beginning to look closely at how they can do better. For some of our clients, the drive for better content starts right at the top.

Creativity counts – and it will matter even more in 2016.