The UK has already started to witness the financial impact of COVID-19. The markets face future uncertainty and with many in the UK affected by furloughs, pay reductions, and job losses, there is a strain on the nation's finances.?
Against this backdrop, we talked with Pete Cammidge, Commercial Director of Finance to understand some of the main opportunities and challenges facing the financial industry, how Hearst is meeting the needs of consumers with helpful, positive and relevant content that assists them to navigate these uncertain times and find out a couple of Pete's top money-saving tips along the way...
Q: Hi Pete, have you always had an interest in the finance sector?
PC: After studying economics and business studies, the finance sector has always been of interest to me. The bulk of my working career has been with the Financial Times, and after spending 10 years there, it gets under your skin a little! Having knowledge of financial services and products available truly helps you live the life you want.
Q: We've been in lockdown for a few weeks now. Has there been a noticeable shift in people's behaviour and attitudes toward their finances and the UK economy as a whole?
PC: With a recession on the horizon for 2020 and beyond, it is no surprise that people are worried about their finances. 46% of UK adults have already needed to save more money or spend less as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.* In fact, it’s a similar outlook for our audiences, as evident in our own research, we discovered that 56% are concerned about their finances.
Q: What specifically is Hearst doing to support our audiences through this challenging time?
PC:?Finance has always been important to our readers as it enables them to live the life they want. In June 2018, we launched our finance initiative, Financially Fabulous to empower, educate and inform our readers about the financial services sector. Using this as a springboard, understanding finance has never been more important.
Here, at Hearst, we’ve concentrated on three core pillars to help our readers navigate uncertain times; 1. Step by Step where we break down complex situations in a clear concise fashion. 2. Finance with Purpose which gives tangible advice for our readers to act upon. 3. Accelerated Digital Transformation so that we can reach our readers how, where and when they want to engage with us.
Q: What do you see as some of the biggest opportunities and challenges facing the financial industry?
PC: Since the outbreak of COVID-19, innovation and creativity have been at the forefront, as individuals adapt to the ‘new normal’. The same is true for the Financial Services sector which has responded with new ways of banking, updated ways of making payments and new communication channels to reach customers.?There is an opportunity for financial brands to maintain a sense of calm in a complicated world. According to the Edelman Trust Barometer Survey, 79% of people want businesses to lead change and 38% of Hearst readers said brands that have changed their products to help people manage the coronavirus situation have gone up in their estimation.
Q: What then, makes Hearst’s finance proposition so appealing to brands?
PC: At Hearst, we reach 25.5m consumers per month across our print and digital brands. It’s also commonly known that money and finance is a taboo topic among family, peers and friends. We know that 75% of our audiences want to sort out their finances, yet 39% have no idea where to turn for financial advice, and 70% think they’ll make a bad decision, which highlights a lack of confidence when considering financial services products. We want to lower those barriers by presenting thought-provoking finance content alongside their passions in wellbeing, travel, beauty, fashion, food and technology. Using a combination of Hearst research tools, editorial knowledge and external studies, we have identified audience clusters and insights which resonate with individual’s life stages.
Q: Can you share an example of the kind of work we are doing with finance brands?
PC: ?We've worked with partners to develop marketing?communications to our readers, across a diverse?range of interests including investing, pension?management, current accounts, fintech, savings,?debt management, family finance and?philanthropy.?
Q: What do you think the financial landscape will look like in the next 6 months and how should brands navigate these uncertain times?
PC: It’s clear that the financial landscape will look very different after we are past this crisis. I believe that the insurance sector will have wholesale changes made to it and banks will, more than ever, put their existing customers at the heart of everything they do. Compassionate, customer-centric strategies will put brands in good stead.
Q: And finally, do you have any personal finance tips you’d like to share?
PC: Take the time to go through all your standing orders and direct debits. I found a few monthly gremlins leaving my account, so it’s been great to have the opportunity to correct that and save a few pounds each month.