Tell us a bit about yourself and what it is that you do.
I live in sunny Edinburgh and run a boutique marketing agency called FL Storyteller, which works with financial advisers, providers and fintech companies, helping them with strategy, branding and marketing.
What does financial marketing do well, and what could it do better?
Companies that do marketing well are very clear about what makes them appealing to a certain segment and unafraid to be specific about it. They spend time planning a strategy before any execution takes place. They think about their objectives and how they’ll measure success.
There are some companies who do this well. The ones who don’t tend to implement short-term tactics aimed at too big an audience. There’s a lack of follow-through or follow-up and it’s hard to gauge success.
What do you think has been the biggest influence on your career, or in the industry you work in more generally?
The biggest influence on my career was working at Nucleus. Being somewhere with such a clear purpose, a refreshing approach to achieving it, and where you were given the freedom and encouragement to do your best work, was something I’d never come across before. It changed my whole approach to work – and life.
Is there a particular project or campaign that you’ve been a part of that you’re most proud of?
There were a couple of campaigns I worked on at Nucleus that were really fun. One was a play on Star Wars called Wrap Wars, where we posted Lego characters to advisers encouraging them to ‘Join the force’.
Another was based on obsolete technology where we created a retro 80s microsite and posted out floppy discs and cassette tapes to the audience encouraging them to use us rather than risk getting left behind on old, defunct technology.
Both were great because they lent themselves to a wide range of marketing tactics from direct mail to email, to round table discussions and social media. And because there was a meaningful message behind the playful concept.
Is there a book or podcast that is essential reading or listening for your industry?
One of my favourite books is ‘Building a StoryBrand’ by Donald Miller. It talks about how you can use your story to clarify your message. It says the mistake so many brands make is they position themselves as the hero in the story. It suggests that by positioning your client as your hero and your brand as he guide, you’ll engage with them a lot more effectively.
Who has single-handedly made your industry better?
David Ferguson, the ex-CEO of Nucleus, because he’s done so much to create a movement, not just a company. He’s created a purpose and momentum that’s inspired so many others to also work towards positive change in the industry.
If you could give a younger version of yourself one piece of financial advice, what would it be?
I remember a flatmate of mine going to see an adviser when I was about 21 and he’d told her something about the fact that if you invest a tiny amount now it’ll do something quite significant in time. I realise now he was talking about compounding, but we were both so broke at the time that even putting away a pound seemed too much. Also I didn’t understand the concept – or didn’t want to – even though it seems simple now.
But what would that pound be worth now? (Please don’t tell me!)
What is one column or website that you read every day?
Probably the Economist Espresso because it gives you the highlights for that day. A bit like the equivalent of watching Gogglebox instead of a lot of TV.
What would you do if you received £10,000?
As boring as it sounds, I’d stick it in my pension so the tax man would get as little of it as possible. It’d also help make up for that pound I didn’t put away when I was 21!