That’s a Wrap: Highlights from The 2022 Financial Brand Forum

In case you missed us at the Financial Brand Forum last month, the Cargo team attended the biggest conference on digital growth strategies in the banking world and showcased our expertise and capabilities to the 3,000+ financial services executives in attendance.

As part of Cargo’s presence, we hosted an interactive augmented reality (AR) booth experience on the tradeshow floor — showcasing our powerful expertise, capabilities, and sample work for attendees.

Plus, we partnered with our client, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Canada’s biggest bank based on market capitalization, to organize a panel discussion. The conversation presented trends, findings, and insights from our latest research and interviews with Small and Medium-sized Business Owners to help decision makers at financial service companies reach a larger SMB customer base.

A primary takeaway from the panel discussion includes the importance and value of around-the-clock accessibility and individualized personal relationships with financial service providers that truly understand the unique needs of each SMB customer. Plus, the institutional values and diversity of leadership is seeing increased scrutiny as SMBs are including and relying on more junior individuals within their organization to make big decisions — like who to select as a financial service provider.

Some of the same points were made throughout the event, during other sessions. For example, Omar Johnson, in his keynote, discussed the importance of having a diverse team for multiple perspectives to drive better overall customer experience. The more diversity you have in the room, the bigger the ideas get — ultimately driving more revenue.

Cargo recently interviewed a Small Business Owner who said, “checking accounts, savings accounts, credit cards, I can get that anywhere. What makes a FI different is the experience that I have with the bank, from their culture, from their values, from what their executive team looks like on their board. It’s the feeling that I get when I walk through the door or I call, I reach out to my banker. That’s what makes me want to be with that institution.” Another Small Business owner said, “A lot of banks are commodity based, so for me, it’s about the total experience and core values of the institution.”

Also, Chris Skinner expressed the necessity of digital transformation within the banking industry for dispersed workforces in today’s post-pandemic work world — discussed by Brian Knollenberg. Financial institutions must invest heavily in their digital presence, and not simply stitch new features onto old platforms, a term Skinner coined “bankenstein” to keep up with the demands of their customers. Also, digital transformation would help companies not lose share to fintechs as they technologically bypass many banks and credit unions to steal market share.

During Cargo’s recent Small Business Owner interview session, one SBO suggested her FSP choice was based primarily on ease of access, by saying:

“What does that online banking interface look like as far as what can I get done? Like depositing checks – who wants to have to go into a banking center to get that done? It is all about the ease of access through technology.”

Another SBO doubled down on the importance of access, stating, “As my business grew, I needed easier access points to my financial institution.”

Although there is demand for ease of access through digital transformation, banks and credit unions also must ensure they do not lose the personal relationship with their customers, especially Small Business Owners. In his keynote, Omar Johnson touched on a topic near and dear to our hearts at Cargo when he suggested taking a B2H (Business to Human) approach. Through Cargo’s insight and expertise with Small Business Owners, we find this to be especially significant. In fact, we often refer to a similar phrase within our offices — we’re not B2B marketers, we’re P2P (person to person). Because our research has shown that SMBs prefer human relationships from people that care about them and their business over transactional vendors, we like to focus on driving emotions within the strategy and campaigns that we design for our clients. Because, we know it drives action from our clients’ customers. In fact, one of Cargo’s recent campaigns for Lenovo was recently nominated in the category of ‘Best Use of Emotion’ in The Drum’s B2B Awards.

We, at Cargo, consistently strive to help grow our clients’ brands with the best tactics possible for helping them reach and retain more Small Business customers. And, we always have an ear to the ground on the latest news and trends in the financial industry, which is why we were excited to showcase our expertise and capabilities at this year’s Financial Brand Forum. Be sure to read our other blog posts for more information on how we help brands grow.