Tech Talk with Cognito director of innovation David Simpson

“[Brands] may get caught up in the metrics, but hands down the biggest benefit of engaging with an influencer is the prolonged relationship with someone pulling in their knowledge from multiple sectors and multiple clients to enhance a brand's overall story.”

David Simpson, Cognito
David Simpson, Cognito

What is your Finfluence product in layman's terms? 

Finfluence is an influencer discovery and monitoring platform, but we're trying to make influencer marketing more accessible to brands in the b-to-b financial services sector and debunk any barriers to entry for using influencer marketing as part of their full mix. It was conceived based on conversations with many of our clients telling us that while they understood influencers as a ‘concept,’ there was a knowledge gap in how to activate this channel within their communication plans, and what the attributable KPIs would be. 

It uses a bespoke algorithm to give brands the more relevant influencers across global regions with 120 influencers included from launch and more added constantly. Then we apply a one-, two- or three-star rating with no bias based on all those factors. 

What makes a good financial influencer?

We set up a three-step criteria that is similar to the ‘three R's’ criteria of any influencer program: reach, resonance, relevance. We look at how engaged an influencer is with their audience on social media, but we also bring in the offline side of things like media reach, speaking events or institutional events, where they've been asked for commentary. We've manually pulled data like followers and LinkedIn accounts as well as shown how they've worked in the various sectors a brand could be interested in. 

Who are you clients? 

We work predominantly with brands in the financial services sector. Right now, Finfluence is set up as an addition to our marketing strategy services we're already doing with global brands. But we can also set it up to be an unmanaged service allowing the brand to manage and keep in touch with their influencers. 

What are some misunderstandings your clients have about influencer marketing?

Most people understand influencers from a b-to-c perspective, where someone became an influencer for the sake of influence, and it's been elevated by popular TV right now. But from a b-to-b perspective, particularly in financial services, being an influential person is a by-product of doing your craft really well anyway. There's a layer of credibility built into it. 

The other thing that we have to put back into focus is how to measure a successful influencer campaign. They may get caught up in the metrics, but hands down the biggest benefit of engaging with an influencer is the prolonged relationship with someone pulling in their knowledge from multiple sectors and multiple clients to enhance a brand's overall story.

What do you see for the future of Finfluence and financial influencers? 

Influencer marketing in financial services is definitely not a fad. I think it will become a fundamental part of future marketing, and some brands are already up and running with it. 

We very much see influencer marketing having the ability for brands to identify and reach out to influencers, but influencers also have touch points across multiple platforms. They may want to put some of their upcoming projects on the radar of brands, so we'd love to open Finfluence up to influencers to apply themselves in the future. We would love that because it's for the betterment of the industry, isn't it?

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