Businesses operating in financial services are constrained by a complex fabric of regulatory frameworks. What are the implications for their PR and marketing activities? What are the challenges? What sector-specific approaches should companies adopt for their brand management and messaging strategies? Elizabeth Rayment, founder of Your Mind Media, knows the arena well.
Nice to meet you, Ms Rayment! We understand you have a busy schedule, so thank you for sitting down with us today and telling your story. Do you mind sharing with the readers how Your Mind Media began?
I started Your Mind Media (YMM) because I saw a gap in the market for a global PR and marketing agency that only focuses on financial services. YMM offers marketing support and consultancy for a variety of industries, including banking, fintech, VCs, crypto, NFTs, Web 3.0, and forex/CFD brokers. Many marketing agencies take on business from all sorts of industries, meaning they don’t specialise in any area. I’ve personally worked in marketing for financial services for over 10 years and everyone on our team has a finance background. We understand the complex nature and sensitivity of broadcasting a strong, effective, and creative message in the right way.
What was your initial goal in founding this company? Do you think you’ve achieved it today?
YMM will be celebrating its six-year anniversary in March 2023 and it feels like we are only just getting started. The finance world is changing at such a rapid pace and is more alive than ever, with widespread Web 3.0 adoption, NFTs being integrated into businesses and homes, and cryptocurrencies being welcomed by more communities. It means that we’re constantly looking for new ways to market some rather complex products to a diverse and global audience.
To a significant degree, all marketing channels can be beneficial with the right focus and for the right cost. How important are public relations for companies’ success these days?
Having the right public relations strategy in place can either make or break a new project or product announcement. Over the years, we have built strong connections with tier-1 finance media which have formed tight bonds between a brand and the right, highly targeted audience. With the right PR campaign and messaging, we can build brand awareness and long-lasting relationships with highly defined target markets in order to offer the best long-term value.
Finding the right stroke for marketing a business is such a deeply personal journey. What are the challenges companies face regarding their branding?
Financial services face an ever-increasing number of challenges – from ensuring they meet the latest regulations from the likes of the FCA, DFSA, ASIC, CySEC, FRB, BaFin and MiFID II regulations (and rightly so) to volatile market conditions.
On the marketing and PR front, however, it doesn’t have to be challenging, especially if you have the right team and strategy in place. You need people who understand what types of messaging the regulators will approve. If a brand has solid foundations in their branding and an experienced creative team on board, they can streamline their messaging in a consistent and effective manner to ensure budgets are spent efficiently and the best ROI is achieved.
Are there any specific constraints for the financial sector regarding public relations?
As long as one keeps oneself informed about the regulatory body’s updates and what journalists, editors, and producers are looking for, there aren’t a lot of constraints. To someone new to marketing or financial services, it might seem overwhelming, but we follow these updates every single day. We also have close ties with the finance media, so we don’t feel restricted or that there are too many constraints.
The world has now slowly gone back to pre-pandemic levels of networking. From a marketing standpoint, how can expos and events help in promoting a company?
We help our clients have a full overview of all the finance and fintech events that are taking place around the world. We consult on which expos we feel will suit their branding best and which will have their target audience in attendance. We also arrange speaking opportunities and panel discussions. We will arrange for company thought leaders and C-level executives to hold company presentations during these events or take part in panel discussion. I believe that a well-rounded approach to marketing and PR is the best way to present a brand, and participating in speaking opportunities at events is part of this. Networking with the right crowd is one of the key factors to be included in the strategy and can be incredibly valuable.
The organic share of voice is getting reduced if you look back at 5 -10 years ago. Everything that we could generate organically – the strategy, keywords, landing pages, conversions – has been reduced. How would you describe the impact public relations has on certain aspects of sales, like lead generation?
I wouldn’t say organic share of voice has been reduced; the approach to reach it has simply changed over the years. For example, now when we send out a press release for our clients, every news website will slightly rewrite it to make it unique for their readers. They also want to make the content stand out with the search engine algorithms. We recommend our clients not to spread themselves too thinly and we encourage them to have a good share of voice across all media, including TV, radio, podcasts, newspapers, magazines and, of course, online (including Medium pages or Reddit forums).
Can you describe to us the relationship between public relations and brand image?
We build organic brand association with leading media channels such as Bloomberg, Reuters, and Sky News, simply by working closely with their journalists and providing them with the market analysis and commentary needed around the topics they are writing about, in the most timely fashion possible.
We also take the changing landscape into consideration in terms of how we speak to the millennial and GenZ audiences. That target audience is looking to be approached in a more informal and personal way, so we produce more “light” content which they often consume via their phones while “on the go”. They also engage more with Medium pages or Reddit forums to get their news, so we ensure we have these channels covered for our clients as well.
How can public relations improve a company’s brand recognition? How does your company utilise advertising and PR to brand a business from zero to hero internationally?
High-quality content will naturally get highlighted by search engines and social media channels, so we place our main focus on crafting engaging press releases and thought-provoking articles for our clients. Sharing this exposure with clients through newsletters and on social media gives great credibility. Our team works incredibly quickly and turns things around in very short periods of time, as we know how critical it is to work alongside volatile market movements.
As the founder of Your Mind Media, what is success to you?
I don’t think “success” can be defined in one word, sentence, or paragraph. Success is a moving target. Being successful to me is a constant journey of pushing oneself and finding new challenges and achieving goals. Success is an attitude and state of mind.
Elizabeth Rayment is the founder of YMM the London-based marketing agency for financial services, thatfocuses on the UK and the Middle East. With over a decade of experience in finance and marketing, Elizabeth specializes in elevating brands and finding creative solutions for complex challenges. She has a strong track record of delivering business growth on a global scale and is apioneer in finding new avenues of expansion and innovation.