Marketing, writing about, and promoting fintechs is about balance. To convey the benefits of these fantastically complex and innovative products correctly (things that promise to change the game, upset the applecart, or otherwise verb the noun) you have to render them in simple terms. You need to highlight why your fintech is meaningfully different from a conventional provider such as a high street bank – and explain why it should be trusted as much as these conventional providers.
It’s a tough line to walk, and we ought to know: as a corporate video production company, we’ve worked on over fifty fintech productions for brands such as Zopa, Xero, Funding Options, and Divido – so we know how to make films for payment platforms, crowdfunding services, and challenger banks. We’ve learned a lot along the way.
Here are our key takeaways.
Story is everything…
…but don’t overcook it. A great many fintech companies, and tech companies in general, claim to have these quasi-messianic ‘missions’ (“We’re going to completely disrupt, destroy, and devastate the world of commercial finance”) but in practice, they offer a cool new spin on a conventional product that will make their customers’ lives a little bit easier.
That, ultimately, is the story of your video: what it does for your customers. If you absolutely have to do a whole spiel about how your founder was inspired to create the company after embarking on an ayahuasca-fuelled vision quest in the Amazon, keep it to the “About Us” section of your website. Fintech stories are most effective when they’re about the people who use your product.
Build sturdy foundations
So how do you tell these stories? Start by offering a logical structure for the video. We like to use a little technique we call “Pain, Claim, Gain, Proof” (we didn’t invent it, but we have nicked it from the guys who did and we are very grateful for that). Our Divido explainer is a good example of this technique in action:
PAIN – “Customers sometimes need help making large purchases.”
CLAIM – “With Divido, spread the cost over several months while the business gets paid in full right away.”
GAIN – “It’s a win-win. You can convert more customers and boost order values.”
PROOF – “It’s award-winning technology. Sales for customers typically increase by 20-40%. Don’t take our word for it, book a demo to find out more.”
There’s more to it, but using this technique does a lot of the work for you – and gives you more space to worry about the other features and benefits you can fit into the two-minute runtime.
Watch your tone
Rich coming from us, we know. Here, the issue of balance is again front-of-mind. You don’t want to adopt the stuffy, arch tone of a conventional finance provider, but you also can’t be too familiar; the technological graveyard is littered with the corpses of try-hard companies that thought they could be their customers’ best friends.
We hate to go on about Monzo, we really do, but the bank’s recently-released TV ad is an excellent example of the kind of tone you should be aiming for when writing a fintech explainer.
The emphasis is all-important here: the customers are the central characters and the agents of change. They’ve decided they’ve had enough, and they want something different. Monzo facilitates these wants, but the narrative doesn’t show the platform itself – it shows their desires being acknowledged and fulfilled. Even the comedy uses an appealingly light touch: the script as written isn’t particularly funny, but this sparing approach allows visual humour to take centre-stage.
It’s a minute-long masterclass in tone-setting and customer-oriented storytelling. Monzo even allows itself to be rudely dismissed at the end of the video – an appealing, self-deprecating moment that serves as an effective button for the video, and one that many companies would be too self-serious to ever consider.
Ultimately, it says what every fintech video should say: we’re here for you, the customer. You’re what matters. We’re some nerds who built a platform, and this platform can make your life slightly better in these specific ways. They don’t want to hear a long spiel about why high-street banks are bad; they don’t want to hear your origin story; they want to know what you can do for them.
In our experience, the difference between a good and bad fintech video is how clearly this purpose comes across.
Show and tell
Once you’ve nailed your script, you need to think about how you’ll visualise the narrative. If your product is tangible like a contactless card reader, then you might opt for filmed content. If the product is software/SaaS based, then animation showing the dashboard and interfaces would make sense. If there is nothing to show (the product/service is completely in the background) then you might want to do something abstract. You can also mix different types of visuals, like this example by Visa:
To avoid a marketing disaster, it’s really important to storyboard the video once the script has been written. When everyone is aligned on the storyboard, only then should the video be created.
Think about the longer term
Unlike most things that evolve, fintechs tend to evolve quickly, so a video can become outdated if you don’t plan carefully. You have three options here: you can update your video with every product update; you can enrage your user by showing them a video that no longer reflects the reality of your customer interface, or you could future-proof your video.
In most cases (where we actually like your Mrs Customer) we recommend the third option. Instead of showing literal screenshots of user interface, you can strip these back and take a more abstract approach so the design is recognisable but won’t be outdated as soon as there is an update. If there are sections of the video that you know will date quickly, try to structure the video in a modular way so that these sections are self-contained and can be changed without needing to update the whole video.
Take a risk
It’s easy to fall into the trap of making a video that looks a lot like everyone else’s – if you knew how many companies approach us to make a video based on the Monday.com explainer, you really wouldn’t want a video based on the Monday.com explainer.
Don’t fall into the fintech version of this trap. Too many fintech explainers follow this formula: a slightly abstract character design with infographic style icons and typography. Sure, it works. But if you’re disrupting your market, shouldn’t your video be disrupting its market.
Don’t play too safe. We often start projects and are told by our clients that they want to do something different and exciting and take risks, but along the way the fear sets in and the awesome original concept that we all loved at the start gets watered down to something bit ordinary. If you want to create a video that is as amazing as your product, don’t play it safe. Here is a prime example from Xero who did something a little different.
If you’ve got this far, you have to read our post on the top fintech publications.