Financial Services and Social Change – the Year Ahead

To get myself psyched up, back in work mode and energized for the new year, I started my Monday morning with a cup of coffee and Deloitte’s predictions for the financial sector in 2021. There are 2 ideas/trends that caught my eye.  


For many years, the financial sector has pushed to bring their customers and clients online. The pandemic and lockdown forced many individuals and businesses to make that change. That would seem like great news for the financial sector. The cost savings alone make the push to digital interaction more than desirable for any financial institution. Sounds like a win – but it’s a win that presents new challenges. 

Customer satisfaction scores are down across the board. To create happy customers, innovation is key. 

The end user is now on the platform. How do you evaluate what they like about it, what they don’t like and what features will improve the experience? Firms that can answer these questions will win market share. 

Don’t be surprised if you see ATMs with video screens allowing actual interaction with a human being. It is the missing human element that is causing low scores right now.  


The financial sector takes responsible investing seriously because their investors take responsible investing seriously. In addition, ESG is profitable and helps firms avoid long-term environmental and reputational risk (as a counterpoint to my glowing review of ESG, I invite you to listen to this podcast by venerable private capital proponent, Ross Butler).

The trend that is worth watching in 2021 is how far financial institutions will be willing to go to support social change. The role that banks play in our wider society is evolving —  and winning banks and asset management firms will be the ones that can demonstrate they are in tune with the changes their customers want to see. 

I’m starting to believe that for multi national b2c companies the future lies in giving their customers a voice. 


All in all, it is going to be a challenging year for financial institutions and the financial sector as a whole. At the same time, an exciting year for innovation and social change. And personally, I’m keenly interested in how far the remote-by-default/work-from-home movement will go and what effect that will have on people and processes — including operations and cost efficiency. 

Covid and Clients

Adjusting Back To Work In The Office Amid COVID-19 | Challenge


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

I’m old school.  I was raised on the maxim that you don’t truly make a solid connection until you have met an individual 3 times.  Content Innovo is in a growth phase; we need to reach out to as many prospects as possible.  How do we do that when face to face meeting is effectively banned? 

I don’t have a definitive answer to that question, but what I can report is we’re not the only ones.  We’re all in this together and we’re all stuck without face to face communication more than we would like.  I’m also happy to report that in 2020 there seems to be a general acceptance that we’re all doing our best.



I remember 20 years ago when you would go to someone’s offices to present your idea and how 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.  Then you walk into that meeting with your stunning visual presentation on your laptop..  This presentation was not only going to blow their socks off it was going to be the best thing they’d ever seen – but –  if your presentation didn’t load instantly and on command… that was it you were done.  You would instantly lose credibility.  Just doing your best wasn’t acceptable.   

In the new reality, difficulties presenting are the norm.  



In 2020, Content Innovo was lucky to be part of a program called Beyond Boundaries put on by Haltech and part of the Canadian government’s push to empower women entrepreneurs.

Halfway through the program, everything shut down because of Covid and the program shifted to 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.  A nightmare situation that went on for 10 mins.  

But here’s the thing, no one left.  Our host, to her credit, taught me a lot in that very moment about being cool under pressure and the fellow participants taught me a lot about accepting that this is not an ideal situation for anyone.  



It’s almost the end of 2020 and we have all experienced #zoomwobbles (a term introduced to us by Scott Payton of Bowen and Craggs).  I’d love to hear about your favorite online meeting mishaps.  Feel free to tag us @contentinnovo and use the #zoomwobbles hashtag — and let’s end 2020 with a laugh.  

Can Content Marketing Drive Sales for Startups

Content marketing: it’s eye-catching, it informs, It promotes engagement with your brand, it drives sales,but is it worth it  for startups? For small businesses content marketing also seems expensive, time-consuming and requires more resources than the average small business or startup can employ in-house. Is content marketing just for big corporations?


For small businesses and starups content marketing doesn’t have to be too expensive, it doesn’t have to be time consuming.  Content marketing program is scalable.

Strategy starts with one thing: ​keyword search​. A keyword search is worth investing in – but – companies like Google and Moz (Moz gives you a number of keywords for free before charging you per search) offer free keyword search tools.

Once you have your keywords you can start applying them to your existing social media campaigns. You can apply them to your website and blogs. In addition, you can use them for social listening.


Social monitoring doesn’t cost you anything. Take your keywords and put them into Google, Twitter, Facebook, IG (whichever platform works best for your business) and read what people are saying.

Social monitoring will give you insights into what people in your market think. It will also present ways to engage with existing customers and potential customers. And, possibly most importantly for small businesses: it doesn’t cost a thing.


There are lots of ways that small businesses and startups can take advantage of content marketing to drive engagement and sales in a cost-effective and time-efficient way.

Along with Content Innovo’s Business Development Director,​ Dan Brennan​, I will be presenting why content marketing is essential for small businesses and further ideas for small businesses to employ in their content marketing programs. In partnership with the ​INNOVATION FACTORY please join us on Wednesday, December 9th at 9 am for ​TYING CONTENT MARKETING TO THE SALES FUNNEL​.

You can reserve your complimentary spot by clicking here: ​COMPLIMENTARY TICKET

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New Ways to Deliver Financial Literacy


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.


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.


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.

Understanding how Finance, Banking and Investing Works


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.


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.


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.

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.


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.


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.

Covid and the Importance of Financial Literacy

Financial literacy month

Content Innovo celebrates Financial Literacy Month


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.


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.


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.

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.”

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.

3 Ways Financial Institutions are Closing the Gaps in Customer Satisfaction

Banks have fallen behind when it comes to innovative customer engagement, and it’s easy to see why. Hampered by legacy systems with poor user experience that have proven difficult to integrate, and with financial tech startups offering more a convenient UX coupled with customer service rivaling and even exceeding that of traditional banks in terms of quality, the time has come for customer-facing banks to modernize their collective approach to online and in-person engagement. Here’s how some institutions are making that happen:


  • 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 consumer 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 its 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 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 provide instant feedback and help expedite the development process with their input.


Ultimately the need for a personalized, targeted approach to delivering outstanding customer experiences continues to serve as a driving force for experimentation in the field of consumer-facing financial services, which a growing tribe of innovative firms capitalizing on the trend and proving that no matter how convenient your service may be, a certain human touch is necessary for facilitating the personal connection between you and your audience that sets you apart from the competition.


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

For tips on improving your own digital content strategy click here.