How Financial Services Brands Can Create Breakthrough Content in Times of Crisis

January 11, 2021

Woman working from home, typing on laptop

It’s a unique moment for marketers in the financial services industry, to say the least. We’re nine months into a global pandemic that shows no signs of slowing. (Albeit a vaccine is on the way.) Conversations around social justice – sparked over the summer’s global protests about racial inequality – are still going strong. And geo-political tumult, coupled with a turbulent U.S. election cycle, has led to market volatility that has kept investors on edge.

In this precarious moment, many marketers are wondering how to meet people where they are, burdened by anxieties about their health, jobs, loved ones and finances.

The majority of financial brands have kept the conversation going since March – keeping customers informed of their response to the state of the world and updated on digital product features they can use from home; according to LinkedIn data, 80% of financial brands have continued to post. Finance as a whole continues to be in the top five for most-read topics on the platform, and interestingly, 75% of engagement comes from members who do not work in finance, according to our data. Beyond financial topics, however, shareholders and the public are expecting brands to have a strong voice when it comes to corporate values, racial equality and climate change. 

How exactly should financial marketers weigh in on this territory in a way that is authentic, helpful and ultimately breaks through the noise? There are three emerging trends we’re seeing for leading financial brands.

Lead With Productivity and Empathy

Trust in financial institutions, opposite of what it was after the 2008 recession, has reached an all-time high on LinkedIn. According to our analyses, the sentiment of 81% of comments on financial brands’ posts was either positive or neutral. This is in part due to the mindset of our users, which is different from other social networks. People are coming to LinkedIn to learn, hear from companies about what they stand for, network and be inspired by other likeminded professionals to ultimately grow their careers. LinkedIn is an ideal platform to offer productive empathy to audiences, helping them how to navigate their personal and/or professional financial decisions right now, for example.

Kantar’s COVID-19 study found that more than 70% of people are looking for brands to talk about how they’re helpful in the “new” every day, how they’re reacting to situations as they arise, and they’re looking for a reassuring tone. A couple examples of brands accomplishing these objectives well include:

Double Down on Video

Video, above other formats, has become an ideal tactic for financial brands to distill complex (and often overwhelming) financial topics such as preparing for retirement, paying down a mortgage and prepping for tax season, so consumers and entrepreneurs can make better decisions. Video is also an opportunity to put your internal subject matter experts and analysts on display to make your brand more human. Since the pandemic started in March, LinkedIn saw a 31% uptick in video consumption globally, so there’s an appetite for visual storytelling right now. A couple of stand-out examples are:

Build Your Executive Presence

Thought leadership has a direct impact on the buyer’s journey, with 56% of professionals stating that a business executive’s presence on social media positively influences their purchase decision and 66% of professionals saying they would be more likely to recommend a company or brand if they followed a company executive on social media. Right now, it’s important your executives are front and center, with 80% of employees and 90% of financial audiences looking to C-suite to communicate on social media during a crisis. Leaders in the financial category who are particularly strong at thought leadership include:

Financial brands need not be afraid to have a strong voice during this time of constant change. When done authentically and strategically, your prospects, customers, employees and investors will thank you for it.

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