Author Archive

New Ways to Deliver Financial Literacy

FINANCIAL LITERACY MONTH

This week I took a break from promoting financial literacy and presented a webinar on E-newsletter management and the importance of blogging as part of ​Haltech’s​ ​Marketing Masterclass Series​. I presented to 25 eager entrepreneurs and it was great to improve their literacy on these 2 important forms of marketing.

I have to admit though, the whole time I wanted to raise the subject of financial literacy.

Throughout this 10th anniversary of Financial Literacy Month, we at Content Innovo have tried to stress that the resources needed to improve your financial literacy are readily available. There is no reason to remain ignorant of banking, investment and finance if you live in Canada… for the most part.

In this last blog to promote financial literacy, I would like to reach out to the Canadian banking industry and challenge them to find new ways to deliver financial literacy to all of  their customers.

THE CHALLENGE

We have learned that not everyone in Canada learns the same way. How you receive and adopt information affects how you will respond to certain learning tools. I would like to see the Canadian banking industry offer tailored learning resources that address the needs of a diverse population.

I challenge the Canadian banking industry to address these gaps.

NEW IDEAS

I am yet to see a bank offer a quiz so that a person can assess their level of understanding of personal finance. Nor have I seen a comprehensive video series or masterclass provided by a Canadian bank aimed at financial literacy. Some people prefer to learn through video and in this day and age – video rules.

Resources tailored to lower-income Canadians and newcomers are also needed

If you agree let me know and please let me know what you think of our efforts to raise awareness about the need for tailored financial literacy solutions in Canada.

Please follow us on social media this month as we highlight financial literacy resources for all Canadians.

https://twitter.com/ContentInnovo

https://www.linkedin.com/company/content-innovo/

Denise Bedell

Understanding how Finance, Banking and Investing Works

FINANCIAL LITERACY MONTH

We are almost at the halfway point in the ​10th annual Financial Literacy Month here in Canada. A quick search on Twitter for the term Financial Literacy Month will net you a bevy of resources, comments and links aimed at individuals and the advisory community.  Resources on finance, banking and investing are provided by companies like Content Innovo, government bodies and of course, financial institutions.

THE END GOAL

At Content Innovo the end goal in participating in financial literacy month is to see a Canadian population that is financially healthier because they understand how finance, banking and investing work. We believe we live in an age where upward mobility and financial health are achievable through the resources that are readily available.

Next year we’ll be looking for partners to help us take our efforts global. Stay tuned.

ASSESSING PERSONAL FINANCIAL HEALTH

Perhaps you would prefer a financial advisor to run this assessment for you but for a financially literate person, this should be no problem. When assessing your financial health you should look at 6 things: Net Worth, Savings Rate, Debt-to-Income Ratio, Credit Score, Retirement Fund, and Income.

If you’re not familiar with some of these terms check out this article: ​MEASURE YOUR FINANCIAL HEALTH. The article is aimed at a US audience but the same rules apply.

If you’re interested in digging a little deeper into your financial health, Sunlife provides a more in-depth calculator to help you plot your future.

The bottom line is, the tools to assess your financial health are readily available – but – would you not feel more comfortable negotiating a loan or choosing an RESP if you understood the in’s and outs of those products and the options available?

Being financially literate is as important as a gym membership, a career you can be proud of and a healthy family.

Feel free to use the resources mentioned in this blog to assess your own financial health and share with us any areas that you feel need improving. We’d be happy to connect you with the right resources to improve your financial literacy and ultimately your financial health.

Please follow us on social media this month as we highlight financial literacy resources for all Canadians.

https://twitter.com/ContentInnovo

https://www.linkedin.com/company/content-innovo/

Denise Bedell

The Month Ahead

Last week, I set the stage for Content Innovo’s campaign to support Financial Literacy Month. This November, Canada celebrates the 10th anniversary of Financial Literacy Month.

There has seldom been a more important time to discuss financial literacy, as the global pandemic has forced people to take greater control of their financial lives.

THE STATE OF FINANCIAL LITERACY IN CANADA

I want to set the stage for the month ahead by assessing how well Canadians understand finance, investing and day-to-day banking.

According to an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Survey measuring Financial Literacy and Financial Inclusion, Canada ranks 3rd out of 29 countries surveyed. Only France and Finland scored higher.

But, comparing as vast and as diverse a country as Canada to other nations doesn’t tell the whole story. Overall, Canadians score high on their understanding of finance and investing but how do newcomers to the country fair? What about the working poor and marginalized communities? Is there a gender gap that needs to be addressed?

Luckily, the Canadian Centre for Financial Literacy (CCFL) has been looking at the problem and trying to develop a clear picture of what Canada needs to do to teach financial literacy to those groups that are underserved and most in need.

WHAT THEY’VE LEARNED

Since 2004, the CCFL has been researching the following question: Does financial intervention have a positive effect on Canada’s poor and marginalized citizens? You can read the full findings in this report.

According to the report, Canada has a large professional financial advisor community. Unfortunately, Canada’s poor and vulnerable communities often can’t afford to access these services and in many cases, the advice given isn’t appropriate for their circumstances. Therefore, there is a gap in access to financial education, as well as access to financial services.

The report further states that not enough evidence has been collected to prove that early education works, but the signs are positive. Most of the evidence provided for the report was anecdotal, so more research is required.

The thing that most struck me about the report is that there is growing evidence that the problem is not access to financial literacy, but the delivery system for those resources. In fact, the way we introduce financial literacy to impoverished and marginalized Canadians is part of the problem.

For the delivery system to change, the Canadian government needs to hear from all Canadians. And now, you can have your say. The Canadian government is conducting a financial literacy survey, and you can give your opinion on how Canada teaches financial literacy to future generations by clicking here.

Please follow us on social media this month as we highlight financial literacy resources for all Canadians.

https://twitter.com/ContentInnovo

https://www.linkedin.com/company/content-innovo/

Denise Bedell

Covid and the Importance of Financial Literacy

Financial literacy month

Content Innovo celebrates Financial Literacy Month

COVID

The current pandemic has an effect on all aspects of everyday behaviour.  How people conduct their personal banking is no different.  People who would never have dreamed of taking a picture of a cheque and depositing it through a banking app now do so.  I remember in the opening weeks of the pandemic seeing long lineups at the banks.  It made me think about the need for financial literacy as the adoption of digital personal finance options would inevitably grow.  And it is an interesting demographic that has led  the charge.

Largely forgotten by fintech marketers, the older demographic is showing the greatest growth, according to this report from CIBC, This is due to social distancing regulations and the fact that older citizens are at a higher risk of contracting the virus.

In addition, there is a general belief amongst personal finance providers that once a user adopts new technology, they’ll not go back to the old way of doing things. The retention rate for the latest wave of new digital clients is expected to be high. Adoption of digital personal finance options will not be a Covid-created bubble.

ENTERTAINMENT INVESTING

But the use and adoption of digital services are up across demographics and across investment products. Meantime, concerns are starting to grow about the effects retail investors are having on stock markets and other investment products — including FX, digital currencies like Bitcoin, physical commodities and more — giving rise to the term ‘entertainment investing’. And investing sites with cheap, or free, fees are providing a ready-made platform for the surge in retail investments. For example, Canada’s Wealthsimple trading platform just launched Bitcoin trading.  People working from home or laid off now have the time and the tech to support investing on their own.  It’s become their newest hobby.

FINANCIAL LITERACY MONTH 

It seems like there has never been a better time to promote and celebrate financial literacy — and luckily, November is Financial Literacy Month in Canada. Content Innovo has always supported financial literacy — and this year we are going even further by launching an official campaign on our social media channels to highlight resources that will help improve financial literacy.

According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, people who score low in financial literacy often get their financial information from parents, friends and acquaintances. This month, Content Innovo wants to make it easy for people to find the resources they need to answer their financial questions.

Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn  and share with us the resources that you find most useful for managing your financial life.

Denise Bedell

3 Tips for Success from Minority Entrepreneurs

Minority-owned enterprises made up more than 50% of the 2 million new businesses started in the United States in the past 10 years, according to the US Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship.  There are now more than 4 million minority-owned companies in the US, boasting annual sales of around $700 billion, altogether.

As the US Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship noted, there is still a disparity in access to capital and entrepreneurial development opportunities for minority-owned firms. “Though minorities make up 32% of our population, minority business ownership represents only 18% of the population.”

Minority entrepreneurs face a unique set of challenges in navigating the path to business success. Three minority entrepreneurs in Calgary, Alberta, shared their advice in a recent article in the Calgary Journal.  Eddie Richardson, president of Genesis Basketball; Joyce Okunsi, CEO of Joyce’s Closet; and Beni Johnson, founder of 10at10 media platform have all launched successful businesses in the face of discrimination and financial barriers.

  1. Don’t let stereotypes define you

“Whenever I was given a job or a task I would always try to be the most educated on it.” said Johnson. “People were racist in their ways. If something does not look like you, people get afraid of it, so it was a combination of many things.”

  1. Don’t let barriers stop you

“In fashion, I faced many barriers. I had to work twice as hard to prove my credibility as a stylist. Because I am a black woman, I was excluded from many things that I should have been a part of.” said Okunsi.

  1. Don’t forget that your experiences are valuable

“I’ve worked through a lot to get to where I am and I still have a lot ahead of me,” said Richardson. “I hope that my story inspires others to never settle and to push through adversity because anything is possible.”

Denise Bedell

Content Strategy: Harnessing the Benefits for Financial Services

In today’s uncertain world, the value of providing clients with insightful commentary and market intelligence cannot be overestimated. As such, more financial services firms than ever are seeking to harness the benefits of content marketing – using content to help with everything from building brand awareness and increasing web traffic to improving lead generation and customer retention.

There’s much to be gained by positioning your firm as a thought leader – but doing so is not always straightforward. Financial services firms must overcome the challenges experienced by all companies undertaking content marketing, while also facing certain sector-specific hurdles.

In particular, they have to tackle the following issues:

  1. Creating compelling content. As in other sectors, engaging experienced content experts, achieving a consistent tone of voice and overcoming budget constraints are crucial when it comes to developing content.
  2. Navigating different channels and formats. In addition to traditional formats such as articles, thought leadership, white papers and research reports, firms are also using videos, blogs, infographics, social media content and webinars to distribute their content. Making strategic decisions about which formats to focus on – and repurposing the same content for different channels – is essential when it comes to making content stand out in an increasingly crowded space.
  3. Overcoming compliance hurdles. Financial services firms also have their own sector-specific challenges to overcome – not least of all the difficulties associated with regulatory compliance. It can be tempting to be overly cautious in such a regulated climate, but a clear understanding of the relevant constraints can enable firms to produce insightful material with confidence.
  4. Measuring value. Firms may struggle to measure the value and effectiveness of the content they produce. Many metrics are available, including conversion rates, website traffic, customer feedback and sales – but firms often lack confidence when it comes to tracking ROI.

Financial services firms may face challenges where content is concerned – but by adopting a clear content strategy, firms can overcome the challenges and create compelling and effective content. We will explore these topics in more detail in future articles.

Denise Bedell

Blog: The Challenges of Hosting Video Conferences

We’re all in this together.

 

 

Covid-19: Changing Business Practices.

Covid has forced us to connect online with clients, partners and prospects more than we would like.  Do you agree? 

I was raised on the maxim that you don’t truly make a connection in business until you have met a person 3 times.  Content Innovo is in a growth phase; we need to reach out to as many prospects as possible.  How do we make a meaningful connection when face to face meetings are unvavailable? 

I don’t have a definitive answer to that question, but what I can report is I’m not the only one.  We’re all in this together.  Whether you are trying to sell something, or logging on to a webinar because you want to learn more about your next business-critical purchase, or you’re connecting with prospects or vendors, there seems to be a great acceptance that the current method of communication is not perfect.  There seems to be an acceptance that we’re all trying to do our utmost to represent ourselves and our businesses in the best light.  

And we’re all failing misearbly.

The Good Old Days?

I remember 20 years ago when you would go to someone’s offices to present your idea, and the advent of technology meant you could use powerpoint to provide amazing visuals.  You would ask the person you were meeting to book a boardroom and give you access to a big screen and the wifi code. 

Those were the days, because you a had a stunning visual presentation on your laptop — life was good.  This presentation was not only going to blow their socks off, it was going to seal the deal — but —  if your presentation didn’t load instantly and on command… that was it. You were done.  That client would never speak to you again.  You would instantly lose credibility. 

In the new reality, technical difficulties are the norm.  

Grace Under Pressure

Content Innovo was recently part of an accelerator program called Beyond Boundaries, put on by the Halton Region Innovation Centre, Haltech, and part of the Canadian government’s push to empower women entrepreneurs.  Halfway through the program, everything shut down because of Covid-19 and we had to go online.  No problem. We all agreed to meet at the appointed hour and click the link to participate.  

The presentation for our first fully online session was hosted by an accountancy firm.  A firm that had a vested interest in sponsoring the program and engaging its participating members in the highest quality format and presenting themselves in the highest quality way. 

But guess what? As bizarre as it sounds, the mac users couldn’t see the shared content when the pc users could, and vice versa.  And that situation went on for 10 minutes.  

But here’s the thing, no one left.  Our host, to her credit, taught me a lot in that very moment about staying calm under pressure. And the fellow participants taught me a lot about accepting that this is not an ideal situation for anyone.  Everyone was understanding, and had likely been through similar situations, themselves, in recent weeks.

I have loads of examples of bizarre things that happen when trying to organize a video call with multiple participants —Zoomwobble, anyone? — and I would love to hear your tales.  I also have loads of examples of hosts and participants dealing with these problems in real time, in a way that wouldn’t have been acceptable 6 months ago.  But we’re all in this together. 

Denise Bedell

Introducing Distilled Webinars: 10 Minutes, 10 Takeaways

Around 56% of the people who registered for your #webinar won’t attend. With Distilled Webinars you can engage key clients and prospects who missed out or don’t have the time to watch a full hour webinar, helping help move prospects further down the sales funnel.

We take your hour-long webinar and create a 10-minute video incorporating the 10 key takeaways that are on-message — and on-brand.

Contact us for more information.

Denise Bedell

4 Consumer Banks With Cutting-Edge Customer Service

Consumer banks must innovate and modernize not just their digital but also their  in-person customer service and user experience (UX). Hampered by legacy systems and facing competition from digital banks and fintech startups, they must adapt or face declining client satisfaction — and ultimately dwindling clients.

Here’s how some institutions are taking UX and customer service to the next level:

  • While the appeal of online banking continues to expand with 49% of all millennials using online banking for routine transactions, companies like Trailhead Credit Union are also aware of the impact the customer experience at their physical locations is crucial to connecting with their audience. Having “transformed its look and messaging to connect with the urbanite spirit of Portland”, they’ve seen record-breaking growth in their customer engagement thanks to their commitment to appealing to their consumers.
  • By analyzing their consumer base and re-evaluating their content strategies, respected firms like Liberty Mutual and Santander Bank are providing innovative, targeted, curated content with the intent of educating certain demographics on relevant services that are available to them. For example, Santander recently focused on its millennial demographic, and aimed to connect with potential customers who may be closing in on a point in their lives when they need a loan. By providing them with a wealth of valuable information and drawing traffic into their core banking site, they were able to attract new customers, gain their trust, and gain further insights about their audience.
  • Innovation is impossible to achieve without experimentation, which is why America First Credit Union opened their innovation center in Salt Lake City. Designed from the ground up to be an interactive experience for customers, it also functions as a space to provide live demonstrations of new technology to the public, who can instantly disclose valuable feedback that could prove vital in determining which technologies to pursue and iterate upon moving forwards.

Balancing digital convenience with human connection is the driving mindset behind these projects, all of which share a common focus on improving the banking experience by appealing to human sensibility, which has over time proven itself an effective tactic for retaining stickier client-bases at brick-and-mortar locations.

As much as we love the convenience of e-banking, we equally adore being treated well by other people in our day-to-day lives, and digital competition is fierce, in some markets it makes sense to double-down on the creature comforts that only a physical location can offer, as well as innovating and investing in cutting-edge technologies and content to remain competitive in the market of convenience.

For more info on engaging with your audiences, click here.

For tips on improving your own digital content strategy, connect with us on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Denise Bedell
Value Added Services

Seeds of Change: Women Entrepreneurs and the Wellness Sector

Women entrepreneurs are drawn to the wellness and healthy living sector. As consumers of every generation increasingly focus on health and wellness, female entrepreneurs and business leaders will be big beneficiaries.

Women-Owned Businesses Soar

Each day, women launch around 850 new businesses in the U.S., and the number of firms headed by women has increased by more than 40% since 2007. Women are now the majority owners of an estimated 11.6 million businesses in the country—39% of all U.S. businesses — according to the 2017 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report.

Healthy Growth in Wellness Sector

The growth in women-owned companies is marching in unison with another major trend — the rapid expansion of the healthy living sector. According to data from the Global Wellness Institute, the wellness industry grew by 10.6% worldwide between 2013 and 2015 and accounts for revenue of $3.72 trillion on a global basis. It is now a key part of the second-largest sector of women-owned businesses in the U.S., following services such as nail and hair salons and pet services.

See the full article of CI executive director Denise Bedell’s latest work for ThisIsCapitalism.com:

Seeds of Change: How Women Owners Are Driving Business Growth in the Wellness Sector

Denise Bedell