We need to find a new way to talk about fintech…

In fintech, marketing that spreads fear and doubt is the standard.

Look at this example of a tube ad from TransferWise. The language and the image conjure up a moment of panic and shock. The idea is that you’ll use the service to protect yourself from moments like this.


But why is this approach so common in fintech?

For banks and other financial institutions, positive qualities such as security, trustworthiness and reliability are highly valued. So fintech brands working with these institutions tend to simultaneously threaten those principles and offer a solution to that threat.

Understandably, both financial institutions and companies handling large sums of money are anxious to protect their finances and their reputation. If a technology service can both expose a danger and offer a way to combat it, that prospect might just bite.

However, we think there's a better way.

We're strong advocates for the power of positivity, and our experience shows us that it can be a powerful pull.

Why not show that the principles of your fintech business align with those of your clients? Demonstrate trustworthiness, experience and reliability. Focus on the advantages and efficiencies your product will bring, rather than worst-case scenarios – such as security threats, profit loss and market share loss.

We took this approach with a currency exchange client of ours. In a sales playbook we created for the company after a brand re-positioning, we made sure that all messaging was aspirational. We presented the future of financial exchange and payments, and demonstrated that the business is rising to meet those expectations.

Another fintech business that's an expert at positive communications is challenger banking brand Monzo. In a sector that, until recently, felt stuffy, impenetrable and overly serious, Monzo speaks and looks like this:

monzo night sky
Monzo tube ad

The signature coral card, branding and Monzo's tone of voice are a breath of fresh air, and the brand's comms refuse to use negativity or fear-inducing messaging to drive action. Instead, imagery is dreamlike and serene, and ad copy is friendly and approachable.   

By communicating a positive message via your campaign creative, you'll stand out in a sea of negativity. You may even find it easier to engage with younger audiences, who – having grown up using fintech, both personally and professionally – are less likely to be susceptible to scare tactics.

People are becoming more cynical of marketing that provokes negative emotions. It’s why charities are moving away from guilt-inducing spools of people suffering in their ads. And it's why people rebel against ads that fat-shame, such as the famous 'beach body ready' example.

Inspiring hope and aspiration, it seems, is far more 2019.