Can crypto provide a blueprint for making finance fun?

Twitter has announced investing as one of the biggest-trending topics on the platform in the past two years. Tweets about finance were up 78% year-on-year with Crypto, Decentralised Finance and NFTs driving this conversation volume. We look at what financial services providers can learn from the viral discussion, even if the products on offer aren’t directly comparable.

Bubbles with crypto keywords in them

Is this just a passing fad?

To give a sense of the scale of the conversation on Twitter, finance was the number one growth topic on the platform in 2021, and there were more tweets about finance than there were about TV and films combined. There were 17 times more tweets about NFTs in 2021 than there were tweets about working from home – despite us all being in lockdown during the first four months of the year. Pretty staggering.

The trend is about conversations and emotions that run deeper than sales bots and stock picks though. Crypto and #DeFi can give us all something to learn from, with Twitter’s report claiming that:

‘It’s not just about money, it’s about empowerment.’

Dismissing crypto and other digital assets out of hand will only serve to alienate those investors who are attracted to this sense of empowerment. Understanding the motivations at work when investors choose digital assets on the other hand could help us to extend the reach of traditional products.

How do we adapt to this new way of thinking?

Common themes are apparent in the social conversation: finance has been made more fun and accessible, it’s become part of customers’ worlds, and it’s given customers ownership of their investment. From our own social listening over the past three months, we can see that 75% of ‘crypto’ conversations elicit feelings of joy. As you can see from the examples below, this isn’t always about joy from a return on investment, sometimes that joy comes from a sense of involvement and good customer service.

These are all themes that we should be able to replicate in our world of traditional investment product planning, communications and marketing. But understanding how to ‘make finance fun’ can only start in one place – with customers.

Making investment more fun

A very small part of the twitter conversation we tracked over three months talked about risk, regulation, governance or advice – all elements of the more traditional investment arena that we know bring added complexity.

Is it inevitable that once crypto and NFTs become more regulated, the frisson of excitement among investors fades? Can we borrow from the fun and exciting side of digital assets, while still demonstrating good governance? Understanding more about the online crypto conversation, where there are tangible aspects that deliver that sense of empowerment and testing ways of bringing those elements into your proposition is the only way to find out.

Power to the people

There’s a definite undercurrent in this viral topic that is about finding alternative ways of moving money around the economy – decentralised finance, NFTs and crypto currency are all about avoiding a finance sector that is still suffering from trust issues post financial crisis. As well as investing outside traditional sectors, individuals are lending in different ways too. Partly in search of enhanced returns, but also as a way of connecting with the local economy. Twitter reported a growing trend around people-centric, autonomous organisations – crowd funding and peer-to-peer lending, notably into social enterprise – something that also featured in our Yes She Can research sessions.

There are no quick fixes or easy wins to piggyback on this shift in investor mentality, but at TWC we believe that starting with customers is always the right answer. Talking to them, learning from them and embedding that insight into strategic thinking and good governance.

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We believe that the finance industry can play a significant role in addressing today’s social and environmental challenges. Working collaboratively across the industry, we play our part in the transition to a more sustainable future.

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