Storytelling in the Sea of Sameness & 7 Steps to Telling Stories with Heart...for real!

Kirti Naik

Are you gray-haired? Hitting 65 years old and your goal is to be coasting around on a catamaran? Isn’t that what we all want as we get older? Some do and others don’t. The reality is depending on what generation you’re from you desire different things and consequently interact with brands distinctly as well. 

 As a financial marketer for over 20 years and having worked across different facets of financial services areas: insurance, consumer banking, asset management, institutional, fintech/cryptocurrency and wealth management; I have observed the way we have marketed and acquired legacy clients doesn’t work anymore for new generations. This impacts what brands customers partner with—not just for their finances, but in every area of their lives. We need to give customers compelling reasons to engage with us; this is achieved through compelling content and storytelling. 

Some best practices I have had the opportunity to identify over the years has been a critical framework to articulate meaningful stories and generate compelling content.

1. Define your brand positioning in the most succinct and simple manner.  

The challenge of aligning different aspects of your organization around a solid brand architecture is instrumental to long term success for any brand. Brand is composite of the firm’s employees, subject matter experts, products, services and more. Everything should bottom-up ladder into the company’s values, purpose and mission. This serves as the blueprint for all things internal and external and is the guide for on-brand storytelling.

2. Align your organization. 

Inculcating and cross-pollination of a purpose-driven brand organization is important to drive distinct functions to build, collaborate and execute towards the same goal. Working with your functional leads to establish rules, filters and processes that apply the brand lens will facilitate marketing’s ability to orchestrate its strategy and generate output that is authentic and meaningful to the overall brand. If the thought leadership, investments and marketing teams are all reaching for the same North Star, then launching any programming, campaigns, communication platforms, etc. will be more feasible to achieve.

3. Develop an evergreen commercial brand platform that everything ladders up and into and crosses all your key client segments. 

Research, insights and analytics are key to identifying overlapping sentiment, desires and interests. Through this process and with a strong and creative brand team to translate the intel, you can build a commercial facing platform viable for multiple segments. In my experience outputs of this were profoundly impactful for the sales organization, investments teams, executive platforms and of course marketing.  

4. Build everything through the lens of the client. 

Even if it is an iterative process, client journeys are critical to bringing value to them with the right information and experiences, while also enabling sales and client facing teams. This approach allows you to present your services and products in a way that isn’t pushing at clients but instead weaving your way into the clients’ lives.

5. Translate complexity to simplicity. 

Economics, products, advice and investments are the backbone to what the firm does to support our clients. Integrating closely with and working hand in hand with these critical functions to refine, translate and articulate the value proposition, case studies or stories requires strong talent. This inevitably fuels the brand platform.

6. Experience the field and meet the clients. 

Our client-facing teams are critical to the creative process. Identifying their experiences with clients and exploring what they learn and what they share fuels authentic stories. Interacting with clients is not only the responsibility of the client engagement teams or wealth managers. The opportunity to learn and dialogue as a marketer with our clients is critical to the learning and creative process.

7. Push creative boundaries. 

Avoid being a “me too” brand. Testing, learning and building creative ways to present your brand is critical in our cluttered space. If you're partnering with a brand agency, then push your creative partners and never accept the first concept because the latter will be unbelievable!

My personal inspiration has been completely outside of our world and pushing the boundary to adapt unique ways of storytelling like Pixar: You can use six steps or eight:

  • Once upon a time, there was …
  • Every day …
  • One day …
  • Because of that …
  • Because of that …
  • Because of that …
  • Until finally …
  • Ever since then …

How will you tell your story next?

Kirti Naik is an award-winning marketer with over 20 years of experience across manufacturing, entertainment, luxury, financial services and fintech. At BNY Mellon Wealth Management Kirti is driving transformation through marketing to impact the firm’s growth strategy across UHNW, Institutional and Nextgen audiences and further proliferate the Active Wealth platform. Kirti is focused on digitizing and driving premium client experiences through advanced analytics-driven marketing applications in collaboration across BNY Mellon Wealth Management, the larger enterprise and external partners.

Most recently Kirti served as CMO at Prometheum, a blockchain securities platform where she set the foundational marketing infrastructure and brand. Prior, Kirti held the position of Global Head of Brand & Marketing Intelligence at Russell Investments, where she led the business and digital transformation for Omni-channel marketing across 22 markets globally. Kirti launched an award-winning retail platform ‘RISERI’ aimed at providing solutions to investment problems.

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