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Has fintech dropped the ball when it comes to brand building? Have we spent too much time developing great products and not enough time spruiking them?

If recent research by East & Partners is anything to go by, then yes, yes we have.

The study found 39 per cent of micro and SME businesses couldn’t recall a single fintech brand and of those who could, only 61 per cent could articulate what product or service it offered.

Moreover, the Brokers on Non-Banks survey found lack of brand awareness was the number one reason brokers don’t refer clients to fintech lenders at the moment.

Should the fintech industry be alarmed? Yes and no.

Brand awareness is one of the most important marketing tools because it can cultivate customer loyalty, reduce the costs involved in customer acquisition and is also a key decisioning factor on a customer’s path to purchase. So yes, there is cause for concern.

But before we get carried away, let’s consider the context. Many Australian fintechs are less than a few years old so it’s not surprising brand awareness is low. All businesses in emerging industries dealt with low awareness at one point in time, even heavyweights such as Uber, Airbnb and Facebook.

Even though the challenge facing fintechs is a universal one (not just for disruptors but for all business owners), it still needs to be addressed. So how can fintechs and small business owners step things up and increase brand awareness and recall? Here are my top five pieces of advice for business owners:

  • Reframe and reprioritise – let’s reframe the way we think about brand awareness. It’s not a peripheral concern and should never be treated as such. From now on, make it a key priority – up there with product development, lead generation and sales.
  • Talk about yourself – tell compelling stories about the impact your business can have on consumers, the industry and the world.

When you get done talking about yourself, start talking about your industry. Regardless of which industry you work in, conversations are taking place in the media and you can be a part of them. Simply identify who is driving these conversations and get in front of them. Pick up the phone, send an email or tweet at them to share your point of view. Make it bold and newsworthy and you can’t go wrong.

  • Get the digital basics right – Is your website optimised? Have you done enough to improve SEO? Think about how often you click on the third or fourth page of search results…practically never right? SEO can help you get ahead of the competition and will put you in front of potential customers.
  • Be social on social – use these channels to connect with customers, prospects and respected peers. Social media is a great way to build relationships with journalists who have a key role to play in increasing brand awareness.
  • Create compelling content – and publish it on your website. Make it topical and appealing to your audience. Always remember to avoid posting solely about your product or service. No one wants to read sales-orientated posts, they want to read something interesting, insightful and relevant.

Business owners can’t stand idly by and hope the buzz creates itself, these five steps should help get the ball rolling.

About the author:

Lachlan Heussler is the Managing Director of Spotcap Australia and has been working in financial services for the last 15 years, both in Sydney and New York. For the past five years, Lachlan has been working at the intersection of finance and technology, helping to bring several smaller startup businesses to market. During this time, he witnessed the profound impact technology can have on financial services and is passionate about using technology to support Australian small businesses.

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