What Can the Ukraine War Teach You About Gathering Enthusiastic Supporters for Your Fintech?
It’s been said that business is war.
True. Both war and business specialize in acquiring resources, influencing people, and overwhelming the competition or enemy.
Today, the main pursuit of both the businessperson and the military leader is the minds of the people. The “bullets” are information, and the weapons used to fire the salvos are social media, videos, webinars, podcasts, and, in general, online communications.
So, what can the Ukraine war teach you about gathering enthusiastic supporters for your fintech?
This is an article about business success, not military strategy.
However, there may be no better example of how to use the business “weapons” at your disposal to win over customers than how the President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky, has used the internet to stand up to one of the most powerful militaries in the world.
Zelensky has used the internet to gather an audience, woo them onto his side, and spur them into action. Currently, he has about a 90 percent approval rating in Western countries in his efforts to keep Ukraine free.
It has been reported that even Russian soldiers, after seeing posts by Zelensky or his team on social media and online videos, have left their posts and gone home.
If not for Zelensky’s intelligent and strategic use of the internet and social media, Putin’s goal to overrun Ukraine and depose its government may have already been achieved.
Zelensky’s message is everywhere: Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, TV, and other social media. He has even made an appearance during the Grammy awards in the U.S. As a result, Ukraine has gotten heaps of financial aid and other forms of support from around the world in its fight against Russia.
If Zelensky can successfully capture the minds of people with the use of online communications while his country is being bombed, why can’t you do the same in the peace and quiet of your office?
You can—and you can win your business “war” as a result.
Just like Zelensky, online communication allows you to gather an audience, woo them onto your side, and spur them into action—the end result being more customers and more revenue.
You may be thinking, “Social media is great, but neither I nor my business is involved in anything as attention-riveting as a war.”
Granted, getting millions of viewers on social media to empathize with a country being invaded by a hostile force is easier than gathering attention for your business. Nevertheless, the same social media “weapons” can be deployed by you to win more customers.
So, how do you create a captivated online audience without being engaged in war or another atrocity?
It is a challenge I help my clients with every day in my consulting business: how can they create an enthusiastic online audience?
Word of mouth
A Nielsen study reveals that an average of 83 percent of people are influenced by “recommendations from people I know.” TV advertising influences viewers by 63 percent while advertising on the internet influences at just 48 percent.
Who Are You? And What Do You Stand For?
The first step to creating viral word-of-mouth via the internet is with a strong identity or brand.
If people are going to spread the word about you or your products, they must first have an impactful sense of who you are and what you stand for.
When you hear Whole Foods, you know who they are and what they stand for. You don’t confuse them with any of the other hundreds of grocery stores that sell food, as just one example.
Books have been written about how to create a strong brand. It involves many aspects from your logo to your pricing. For the sake of this article, I’m going to give you two of the most important aspects of branding that will help generate word-of-mouth and assist you in creating a buzz on social media.
One Concept Brand
Your brand needs to communicate one concept that will stick in the consumer’s mind. Sometimes, this concept can be communicated in one word. Google has many services they offer, but the one concept they are known for is search.
Volvo’s concept is safety.
Your goal should be to own the one concept that best describes your business or product and embed that concept into people’s minds in all your communications: slogan, emails, website, social media, and everywhere else.
The one concept Zelensky has implanted into people’s minds, relating to his mission in Ukraine, is freedom. This battle cry is a concept that people agree with. It’s a concept that people can get behind. It’s a concept that’s difficult to argue with. Your business or product should own a single concept with similar attributes.
What is the one concept that puts you on the map and gives you an identity that resonates with your target audience?
If you can’t identify it, you are going to be limited in gaining a dedicated audience of customers for your business.
Whatever that one concept is your goal should be to embed that concept in the minds of your target audience. You want to own that concept in the marketplace.
Online search = Google.
(Your one concept brand) = (Your company or product)
Have a Mission
We know Zelensky’s mission is to free Ukraine. What’s the mission of your company or product? If your mission takes a lengthy “mission statement” to clarify, then it’s probably not a good one, and it likely won’t resonate with your audience.
Think, one simple concept.
Whole Foods has the mission of delivering clean, organic food to the world. Starbucks has the mission of offering a place where people can chill in a friendly atmosphere and enjoy a pleasant drink. Simple.
Having a one concept brand tied into a single mission is your first step to gathering a large following, especially through word-of-mouth.
But to create a word-of-mouth campaign, you must give people something to talk about.
A war is worth talking about. But what if you are selling something that isn’t unique, controversial, or sexy? Something like coat hangers, or potatoes (the most non-sexy products I can think of!).
How do you make these products, or the company that makes them, worth talking about on social media?
If you have a “non-sexy” product, you can align your product or business with a “sexy” cause that somehow ties in with your business, if only remotely.
During the pandemic, people stopped traveling. Hotels and Airbnb were hurting. To stay active on social media, Airbnb partnered with hosts to help house 100,000 first responders. This mission was spread by word-of-mouth on social media. It helped keep Airbnb from going extinct, and it used a crisis (the pandemic) to put the company in the spotlight.
People love to contribute to a worthwhile cause/mission that helps others.
If your business or product doesn’t align naturally to a crisis, you can always find one somewhere to align your company with. (Caveat: Don’t do this for “PR” purposes, but for the right reasons. Your mission must be genuine.)
You need a passionate mission, or to at least align your company with one. It doesn’t have to be a crisis, but it should help something for the right altruistic reasons.
Podcasts, social media, or any other online communication can generate an audience of thousands or millions. If you are to use Zelensky and Ukraine as your model, the one-two punch consists of:
One concept brand.
A worthwhile mission.
Developing your brand and mission will take real analysis and action. They take strategic planning. Don’t give up because it doesn’t come easy. Think like a commander, a general, or a president and do the work.
Zelensky has created a one concept band for himself and his country. His mission is freedom. It’s working for him, and it can work for you.
Business is war. All the “weapons” are at your disposal. You just need to utilize them.