Category: Capital Markets

How to write a research report

By Alex Knight, Financial Services

This blog outlines a 12-step guide to writing an effective research report, focusing on survey-based methodologies. It covers three core phases that take you from concept to launch, providing practical tips and insights to help businesses produce reports that will boost brand awareness and support lead generation.

Building a brand doesn’t happen overnight. Unless you have an explosive stunt in your back pocket, it requires a clever and consistent communications programme across years.

However, there is a way to give your brand a perfect platform for success: a research-based report. Not only does a report provide you with original data and insights that can fuel marketing activity for months, but they’re usually more meaningful than that.

Reports take a deep dive into a topic that a business wants to be associated with and will often draw attention to the very challenges that a business is trying to solve. As such, the launch of a report is usually a major milestone – and one which shapes the future of the brand.

There are many ways to do research and I would encourage you to explore what options might work best for what you have in mind, whether it’s digging into publicly available data sets, aggregating recent news and case studies, examining existing literature – or better yet – using data from your own business. That said, the default for many is a survey, which is a fast and reliable way to gather some useful data.

Whichever methodology you decide to go with, creating a research report can be a large and intimidating project. Fortunately, this article breaks down the process into 12 key steps (specific to a survey-based report) that will take you from idea to launch, with some top tips along the way.  

Phase one: Ideation

Step 1: Establish a clear concept

You probably already have some rough ideas, but it’s important to start by working out the story you want to tell and the topics you want to investigate. Ideally, what do you want the research to uncover? Who do you want to read it? Are you looking for a punchy 1,000 words or something more in-depth at 10,000? Key things to think about here are budgets, word count, and scope for the survey, including job titles, sectors, and regions.

Step 2: Put a plan (and timeline) in place

From experience, we know that reports require tight project management and a clear step-by-step process. Before beginning, you should assign a project manager and develop a timeline with clear ownership of actions and deadlines. The length of the project will depend on the research, but a shorter report will take a couple of months whereas a longer piece of research can take six months or more.

Step 3: Finalise research methodology and scope

Here you need to balance budget with credibility. For B2B research, you need a minimum of 100 respondents whereas it’s 1,000 for consumers for the research to be seen as credible – and therefore newsworthy in the eyes of the media. However, the higher the number of respondents, the more credible. It is possible to run the survey yourself through the likes of SurveyMonkey, but it can be a real challenge to gain a decent number of responses.

When it comes to research agencies, as tempting as it is to simply go for cheapest option, they all have pros and cons, with some providing much less consultancy throughout the process. As part of those conversations, don’t forget to ask how the data will be presented back to you. Is it on Excel or do you get access to an interactive platform?

Step 4: Gather inspiration and ideas

At this point, you should build on the initial ideas by doing extensive desk research into the areas you are investigating. What does your audience care about? What are the biggest news stories? It’s important to do some digging to see if there is any rival research out there, both for inspiration and to avoid creating something similar. This all informs the direction of the research.

If possible, it is well worth speaking to a few journalists to ask what research they would like to see. That usually gives a good steer. After that, you should have calls with your subject matter experts to catch their thoughts on what you have found and to hear what they think is missing.

Phase two: Development

Step 5: Create an exceptional survey

This is arguably the most important step. The questions can really make or break the report, and require careful thought to provide you with data people will care about. It can be helpful to work backwards by thinking about some of the headlines you want and writing the question to deliver that outcome.

Try not to overcomplicate questions. Simple and short questions will provide clearer cut data. In addition, it’s important to make the most out of screening questions – think beyond the standard gender, age, job role, sector, and region. What else could be useful to find out that is specific to your sector? On a similar note, you can extract extra value by adding some questions at the end of the survey that can help inform your brand or business strategy – have they heard of you? What does your audience want from suppliers like you?

Step 6: Wait patiently for your data

This will usually take a few days but can take over a week depending on the panel. Use this time to put a plan in place for when the data is due back. Who’s doing the analysis? Can they block out a couple of days to dive into it? It’s also worth being very clear with the research agency how you want the data presented.

Step 7: Examine the results

This is where you take a deep dive into the data, plucking out key stats and looking at how the different demographics compare to each other. There’s bound to be a heap of exciting stories in there so don’t just scratch the surface here. The best stories are often buried a little.

Throughout this process, use the research agency to help you to come up new stats by working out averages, creating net totals, or combining responses that can be grouped together. That will help create some eye-catching statistics. It can also work well to create a framework / structure of the report at this point.

Step 8: Chat with your experts

While the data is the foundation, the best research reports have insights and commentary alongside the data so this is the time to have some longer discussions with your spokespeople to hear their thoughts on the findings. What is surprising? How do they explain it?

If possible, try to have a mix of voices and pull in spokespeople from relevant companies or organisations. Industry bodies and trade associations are perfect if you can bring them in.

Ahead of all interviews, you should circulate a document containing what you’re looking to discuss (and mock questions). That said, you don’t want the spokesperson to be over-prepared as it tends to be more robotic. You’re looking to have a relatively free-flowing conversation as this tends to generate the best insights and lead to some more personal quotes and anecdotes.

Phase three: Creation

Step 9: Write the report

This is where you finally pull all this information together. Start by creating a structure, with all the key points and data in an order that makes most sense. It’s important to consider the narrative carefully. Try not to just write up the data question by question. Think about how the findings can be grouped together thematically.

It may sound obvious, but do not pepper the report with sales messages. It acts as a turn off for the reader and undermines trust in what you have written because it suggests your interpretation is skewed. Instead, try to give an honest and impartial read on the data. After all, the quality of the report is what will create engagement and support lead generation, not sales messages.

The length of the write up will vary, but it should include different sections as well as a foreword, a methodology, and an executive summary, which is best done in bullet points. Then, be strict with yourself on editing and cutting. Remember that the report is not the only way for you to use interesting data!

Step 10: Manage editing and sign off

Once you have a first draft, you’ll need to go through edits and approvals, which often involves different stakeholders. This phase requires really tight management and communication to make sure everyone is aligned and sticking to timelines. Be clear on who is reviewing what and when the deadline is. It can be matter of ‘too many cooks’ when it comes to long form content, so be selective with who feeds in at this point to avoid excessive rounds of edits. And beware of version control, especially when working with external parties.  

Step 11: Design the report

Fairly self-explanatory, but the design will have a massive impact on how people engage with the report. A well-designed report with the right visual signposting will bring the data to life and make certain messages pop, making it is easier to read and more likely to capture the attention of the reader. The graphs need careful thought – some data is best presented as a pie chart whereas some will work best as a bar chart.

In addition, it can work well to include ‘pop-out’ quotes and stats that really stand out. Infographics and graphs can also be used for promotional activity and can be included in other assets, such as videos.

Step 12: Give it a final, thorough proof

Before launching, give the report a final proof. Be thorough here. For example, I’d recommend checking that every single statistic is accurate. Beyond that, you should check all the copy matches the final version, that all the graphs look right, and that the formatting and grammar is consistent throughout e.g. “%” vs “percent”.

Shaping your brand

While each report is unique, these twelve steps will help to guide you through the process. Major pieces of content like this (such as those we have written for Ayming Group) act as a stake in the ground for a company, establishing authority and building recognition in a particular field. In that way, they embody the essence of a company and shape the identity of its brand and it’s therefore absolutely critical that the reader – which is often a potential customer – is impressed by what they read.

At Aspectus, we specialise in creating award-winning research reports and are always happy to have a conversation on how we might be able to help.

Part two with tips for launching a report to follow…

About the author

Alex is an award-winning content and creative strategist. In his 7 years at Aspectus, he has written and managed dozens of research reports and is an expert at using data to create news stories that will capture the attention of journalists.

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What global markets can learn from Asia’s unique ESG approach

By Maddy Thirsk, Capital Markets

This blog examines Asia’s distinct approach to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investing practices, contrasting it with strategies across Europe and the US. Highlighting cultural impacts and regulatory differences, it offers insights into how global markets can learn from Asian perspectives on ESG.

When confronted with a challenge, we often have two choices: brush it under the rug or tackle it with a new approach, if possible, drawing inspiration from others that have surpassed the challenge. When it comes to ESG, it is essential that global market economies opt for the latter.

Today, we are seeing environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles, once regarded as the holy grail by many companies, forcing these same firms into a corner. What started as a retreat from these principles in the US is now gathering momentum in Europe[i], where doubts are surfacing over the prioritization of ESG investment principles.

Financial giants like BlackRock are leading this trend, strategically distancing themselves from the term by quietly scrubbing ESG from their marketing strategies. This shift, echoed by outflows from sustainable funds[ii], has garnered enough attention to earn itself a name: ‘greenhushing’[iii]. Driven in part by stricter ESG regulations, this trend could mark a significant turning point in the journey towards more responsible investing, with the concept increasingly drawn into the political sphere as the US presidential election approaches.

But against this fast-evolving backdrop, one region’s commitment to ESG remains as steadfast as ever. With its unique regulatory approach, emphasis on qualitative criteria, and cultural prioritization of corporate responsibility, Asia offers invaluable lessons for navigating the complexities of responsible investing.

During my trip to Aspectus’ recently launched Singapore office[iv] last month, I saw firsthand the region’s bustling sustainable finance scene, buzzing with energy and fresh perspectives. It got me thinking: what can global markets learn from Asia’s unique take on ESG?

Culture and politics: The age-old debate

During my time in Singapore, I witnessed a clear demonstration of both the government’s support for its people and citizens’ unwavering sense of commitment and responsibility. Take the daunting prospect of buying a house in London, for instance. I found myself discussing Singapore’s generous housing grants with a colleague, and it soon became apparent why Asia’s ESG narrative is one characterized by a cultural emphasis on corporate responsibility, rather than politicization.

In Asia, the notion of corporate responsibility is deeply ingrained in cultural values and societal norms. Businesses are expected to act as stewards[i] of the communities in which they operate, demonstrating a commitment to sustainability, ethical conduct, and social welfare. This cultural ethos fosters an environment where ESG principles are embraced not as political agendas, but as integral components of corporate governance and business ethics.

This cultural importance also came through in extensive primary research we conducted for an upcoming ESG whitepaper, where not even a fifth of APAC-based marketers said they do not care about ESG factors. More insights to come on this topic towards the end of May in our ESG whitepaper[ii].

In the US, on the other hand, investor interest in ESG is declining, possibly due to the way the term has been weaponised and used as a pawn in the never-ending game of political chess waged in Washington. Shareholder support for ESG proposals is decreasing amid rising divisiveness as we draw closer to this year’s presidential election. Investors are withdrawing from sustainable funds and managers are launching fewer ESG-focused products[iii], indicating a shift in the American investment landscape.

Asia’s Goldilocks Approach to ESG Regulation

Increased regulatory scrutiny is a steadfast fixture in today’s financial landscape, but the approaches taken by different regions are telling. We are seeing divergence between the EU and US approaches to ESG regulation, with Europe imposing stricter requirements while the US rolls back planned regulations amid political opposition. Both strategies could conceivably lead to a notable increase in greenhushing. Meanwhile, Asia is taking a more nuanced approach, focusing on qualitative definitions rather than rigid classifications.

Across Europe, asset managers are struggling to adhere to demanding regulations[i] such as the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR). Here, the regulatory focus is on classification[ii], with funds falling into distinct categories like Article 8 and 9 based on their emphasis on environmental or social characteristics. Meanwhile, Asian regulators prioritize defining ESG funds themselves, taking a different path.

On top of this, ESG now faces a regulatory pushback[iii] of its own, with the EU’s recent Green Claims directive cracking down on sustainability claims made by companies. To some minds, Europe has over scrutinized and overcomplicated the sustainable investment process and the way in which funds market themselves, which in turn could prompt firms to resort to greenhushing.

Therefore, it is worth considering that perhaps Asia has the right idea by focusing on qualitative criteria, offering a nuanced understanding that quantitative metrics often miss. This way, companies can convey their ESG efforts, sidestepping the pitfalls of mere quantitative metrics and evading the temptation of greenhushing.

Should firms across Europe and the US be given the benefit of the doubt, allowing more room for dialogue rather than continuing to crack down on classifications?

The US, caught in a political tug-of-war over ESG, isn’t offering much clarity. And Europe’s unwavering regulatory grip seems unlikely to loosen soon. But a peek at Asia’s playbook provides may offer valuable lessons. While we cannot presume an imminent change in the US’ politicization of ESG or Europe’s steadfast regulatory stance, it is still important to explore how other regions approach ESG if we are to successfully tackle greenhushing, rather than merely brush it under the rug.

About the author

Maddy is a senior account executive in the Capital Markets team and joined Aspectus after completing a master’s in international management at King’s College London and bachelor’s degree in international relations at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. Maddy is fluent in Italian and proficient in German.​

Maddy’s role involves being a day-to-day contact for clients, providing focused advice on media relations across the UK and APAC regions. She recently visited Aspectus’ Singapore office to strengthen media relationships in the region, gaining valuable insights that fuel this blog post. Since starting the role, Maddy has become ever more curious about the ways in which regulatory trends will shape the financial sphere and is excited to continue learning more about the capital markets.​

Key takeaways

Q: What is greenhushing, and how is it affecting ESG investing?
A: Greenhushing refers to firms downplaying or omitting their ESG initiatives to avoid regulatory scrutiny. This trend is growing, particularly in the US and Europe, as firms face increasing regulatory demands and political pressure.

Q: How does Asia’s approach to ESG differ from the US and Europe?
A: Asia emphasizes cultural responsibility and qualitative definitions of ESG regulation, avoiding the rigid classifications and political battles seen in the US and Europe.

Q: What lessons can global markets learn from Asia’s ESG strategies?
A: Global markets can benefit from looking at Asia’s nuanced regulatory approach, emphasizing cultural responsibility and qualitative measures, which provide a more transparent approach to ESG.

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A perfect partnership: My love affair with AI

By Alastair Turner, Global CEO

Exploring the transformative partnership between AI and humans, this blog highlights how AI enhances creativity and business innovation. It underscores the importance of ethical collaboration and envisions AI’s role in future achievements.

Eighteen years into a marriage that still sparks joy, laughter and the occasional electric touch, I’ve come to a realization: Partnerships, in their myriad forms, are the bedrock of human achievement. Whether it’s the love that binds my wife and me, or the amazing partnership that we cheer on the sports pitch, dance to at festivals and laugh with en masse at gigs, the essence of collaboration is unmistakable. But there is a new partnership in town and it’s unlike any other: my burgeoning romance with generative artificial intelligence (AI), aka ChatGPT.

This isn’t your run-of-the-mill dalliance. No, this is the kind of transformative union that could only be rivaled by the legendary synergies of yesteryear — think Edwards and John lighting up the rugby field, Torvill and Dean gliding to Olympic glory, or Jordan and Pippen dominating the hardwood. Each duo, in their respective arenas, while not always friends or even getting on, showcased the exponential power of collaboration. I have not a smidgen of their talents, but my relationship with AI is certainly helping me be better at my job and it doesn’t seem to mind if I steal the limelight.

AI and humans: A symphony of differences

The beauty of human partnerships often lies in the harmonious interplay of contrasts. Lennon and McCartney’s songwriting genius, the comedic timing of Laurel and Hardy, the strategic masterminds of Montana and Rice when the 49ers won Super Bowls — each partnership thrived on the unique contributions of its members. In the realm of AI, however, the dynamic shifts. Here, the partnership is inherently asymmetrical, with the scales tipped decidedly in my favor. AI doesn’t vie for the spotlight or seek recognition. Not yet anyway. There are no artistic differences and it’s never passive aggressive (not a refence to my wife!). Instead, it amplifies my capabilities, quietly transforming me into, I like to think, a more effective, innovative leader.

The unseen muse: How AI Enhances Human Creativity and Innovation

In the creative industries, the quest for the next “aha!” moment is relentless. AI, with its ability to sift through data and identify patterns invisible to the human eye, has become an indispensable ally. It’s not about replacing the human touch but enriching it, offering a palette of possibilities that were previously unimaginable. This isn’t just about making processes more efficient; it’s about elevating creativity to new heights, guiding us toward ideas that resonate more deeply and connect more authentically. Check out this Harvard Business Review piece for more fascinating insights into how generative AI boosts human creativity.

Building bridges, not replacing them

In the business of marketing and communications, relationships are currency. While AI excels at decoding trends and managing data, it’s the human element — our ability to empathize, to share a laugh, to forge connections — that turns these insights into meaningful strategies. This partnership doesn’t dilute the personal touch; it sets the stage for more impactful human interactions, ensuring that every handshake or shared joke is as potent as it can be.

A dance of complexity and ethics

Facing the labyrinth of modern challenges, the alliance between human ingenuity and AI’s computational prowess is our best bet. Together, we navigate the unpredictable, blending AI’s efficiency with human adaptability and ethical judgment. This is not about relegating AI to the role of a sidekick; it’s about recognizing it as a force multiplier, a catalyst that propels us toward a future we’re only beginning to imagine.

I find it compelling how many of our clients are flirting with AI, using generative AI tools, developing their own GPTs, or speculating about AI’s future in their thought leadership in the media. We hear our clients across our sectors discuss it, from financial services and capital markets to energy, industrials, and technology. Recently our client, a cloud solutions tech provider called Searce, posited that generative AI tools are going to change compliance functions. Fintech provider Clearwater Analytics predicted the proliferation of generative AI use cases in investment accounting and the broader financial services sector. And, global commodities intelligence provider ICIS launched its own generative AI commodities assistant called Ask ICIS.

To infinity and beyond

So, as I reflect on my love affair with AI, I’m reminded of the fictional dynamic duo of Buzz Lightyear and Woody from Toy Story. AI is not merely a dependable friend like Woody or a simple gadget on Buzz’s utility belt. It’s far more transformative. Imagine AI as Buzz Lightyear’s wings — it doesn’t just add to our capabilities; it propels us to new realms of possibility.

This partnership with AI is about embarking on a journey to uncharted territories, reaching for ‘infinity and beyond’. It’s not merely about solving problems or enhancing the way we do things; it’s a catalyst that launches us into a future brimming with unexplored potential.

In this perfect partnership, AI doesn’t just add wings to our aspirations — it fuels our flight toward a future ripe with possibilities, ensuring that together, we soar higher, reach further, and dream bigger… It must be love.

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Money20/20 Bangkok: should you attend next year?

By Louise Veitch, Head of SE Asia

At the end of April, Money20/20 finally made its debut in Asia at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Centre in Bangkok.

The city’s strategic location, coupled with its rapidly growing economy and supportive regulatory environment, made it a perfect place for the fintech community to congregate on this side of the world. Bangkok’s 40-degree April heat and  gridlocked traffic also did an excellent job of keeping attendees and sponsors inside the convention centre at all times.

If you’re wondering whether to go in 2025, I have shared insights after attending in April that will either get you registering for next year’s event or deleting it from your calendar entirely.

Size matters

For those who have been to Money2020’s alternative regional events, or the latest Singapore Fintech Festival & Token 2049, like us, you might have been searching for another exhibition hall when you first arrived at the centre.

The event was much smaller, but arguably no less mighty. From speaking with clients and other sponsors, many felt that what it lacked in footfall, it made up for in the quality of attendees. It’s also important to understand that what works for one region, may not work for another, so comparing the money2020 events like for like will never be a useful exercise.

Immediate Return on Investment

A contributing factor to the size, was the cost of the event. It cost thousands to attend the event and much, much more to be an exhibitor. While this ensured that attendees were serious sellers or buyers, companies looking for an immediate return on investment will have struggled to get back in the green.    

Knowledge is power

Over the last 12 months for better or worse the fintech industry has been in the spotlight and while it can sometimes be a lucrative field, it is always innovating at a rapid pace. Money2020 Bangkok showcased the ideas and current thinking of the most influential people in this sector.  

The verdict?

Ultimately, our team will be recommending that some of our clients in Asia (and globally) attend and/or sponsor next year’s event while others should probably sit it out. Considering your business objectives and how this fits into your wider marcoms strategy is a huge factor.

For example, if you are looking to build brand awareness in front of a really relevant community, you can register for next year here. But, if lead generation is the watchword for 2025 and you have specific conversion targets to hit, we might recommend investing in alternative strategies to better support these objectives.

About the author

Louise Veitch heads up operations for Aspectus’ Singapore office, leading the expert team on the ground there as well as Aspectus’ network of consultants across Southeast Asia. She has spent the last decade helping clients in the fintech and traditional finance space to successfully grow their brand awareness globally. Louise was named PR Week’s 30 Under 30 in 2020 in recognition for her work in this space.

Key Takeaways

Q1: How does Money20/20 Asia compare to other fintech events in the region?

 A1: Though smaller in size than events like the Singapore Fintech Festival, Money20/20 Asia’s high-quality attendee base offered substantial networking and business opportunities.

Q2: What are the costs and ROI considerations for attending Money20/20 Asia?

A2: High participation costs mean companies should weigh the potential for immediate returns against the quality of interactions and long-term strategic benefits.

Q3: Should businesses attend Money20/20 Asia in 2025?

A3: Decision to attend should align with specific marketing and commercial objectives, considering factors like brand visibility and lead generation needs.

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Four key considerations for capturing asset managers’ attention at TSAM

By Will Brook, Capital Markets

With investment houses under growing pressure to innovate, this blog provides fintech attendees of this year’s TSAM (The Summit for Asset Management) event with a host of tips and tricks to ensure they can capture the attention of the various asset management firms in attendance. These include suggestions around fintech marketing, merchandising, branding, social media, tech savviness and staff selection.

It is no secret that asset managers – particularly those operating in the UK – have had a difficult couple of years. A barrage of headwinds, including a slowdown in global economic growth, elevated interest rates, bouts of pronounced market volatility and increasing competition from ETFs, saw the UK fund industry suffer ‘record’ net outflows[1] in 2023. And so far, this year hasn’t offered much in the way of hope. Funds domiciled in the UK witnessed £3.34bn in net outflows[2] in February – and for the second time in 12 months, not a single asset class managed to attract net inflows.

But as the old adage goes, from adversity comes opportunity. As asset managers grapple with growing competition and squeezed margins, the deployment of sophisticated financial technology has perhaps never been so essential. After all, the integration of effective fintech can unearth a host of advantages for investment houses, not least reduced costs, stronger investment returns, and ultimately a healthier bottom line. Take the potential posed by robo-advisors, for instance. A recent study by PwC[3] suggests assets managed by these algorithm-driven and increasingly AI-enabled digital platforms will surge to almost $6tn by 2027 – nearly double the figure for 2022.

And this is just one aspect of their strategy asset managers will be looking to bolster with cutting-edge fintech over the coming months. Against this backdrop, The Summit for Asset Management (TSAM) in London on 1 May – which brings together leaders from the back and middle office departments of some of the world’s most prominent asset management firms – offers a tremendous opportunity for financial technology providers to capture the attention of fund houses.

Given the number of vendors set to attend and the hectic nature of these events, capitalizing on this opportunity requires careful thought and preparation from a fintech marketing and public relations perspective. Trust me, I’ve been to enough events to know that the unprepared will struggle to make a splash, even if they have an excellent piece of tech to demo. With this in mind, we’ve put together a list of four key considerations fintech firms must take into account to give themselves the best chance of capturing asset managers’ eyes at TSAM.

Unique positioning of merchandise – including branding & visuals

Your booth and any merchandise you intend to give away are two of the most essential elements of large trade events like TSAM. Ultimately, the goal is to ensure your booth and merch stands out from the crowd. To do so, incorporate unique branding elements[1] and visually appealing displays that reflect your company’s identity and message.

Use bold colors, innovative design elements, and eye-catching visuals to captivate the attention of asset managers. Ensure that your booth reflects the essence of your fintech solution, if possible, conveying its value proposition at a glance. As for merchandise, this too should reflect the company’s brand identity, culture and values, while also being useful to attendees.

Be tech savvy with your stand

Utilize technology to enhance the visitor experience at your stand. Incorporate QR codes that lead to relevant resources, such as whitepapers, case studies, or demo videos. Implement interactive displays or augmented reality experiences to demonstrate the functionality of your solution in an engaging manner. Leveraging digital tools for lead capture and follow-ups is another aspect that shouldn’t be overlooked, helping to streamline the process for both parties and turn prospects into new business relationships swiftly.

It’s not all about the tech, be personable & make your stand interactive

While technology is important, it is imperative not to overlook the power of personal connections. Select subject matter experts that are approachable, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic about your fintech offering. These individuals can foster meaningful interactions with asset managers by initiating conversations, asking probing questions, and actively listening to their needs.

Incorporating interactive elements like games or quizzes to break the ice and encourage engagement is also worthwhile, but the success of these will depend on the spriteliness of those in charge of leading them.

Deploying social media throughout the event to maximise brand exposure

Harness the power of social media[1] to amplify your presence before, during, and after the event. Create buzz[2] leading up to TSAM by sharing teasers, announcements, and behind-the-scenes glimpses of your preparations.

Then, during the event, post live updates, share photos/videos of your booth, and engage with attendees using event hashtags. It is then much easier to continue the conversation after the event, by sharing key takeaways, insights, and follow-up content to stay front-of-mind with the asset managers in attendance.

Only by thinking carefully about your fintech brand from a marketing and PR perspective can you be confident in transforming the bustling environment of TSAM into a fertile ground teeming with potential business prospects. See here[3] for three further top tips for developing an effective technology event communications plan.

About the author: Will Brook, content specialist, Aspectus Capital Markets

Will is a content specialist in the Capital Markets team and joined Aspectus having spent nearly three years writing content for a wide array of global asset management firms. Since starting in his role in May 2023, Will has become ever more curious about the ways in which effective marketing and public relations can help innovative financial technology firms capture the attention of their target audience and transform capital markets for the better.

Key takeaways

  1. Embrace adversity as opportunity: Despite challenges in the UK asset management industry, fintech firms can leverage this adversity as an opportunity to provide innovative solutions. The integration of sophisticated fintech can offer advantages like reduced costs and stronger investment returns, addressing the industry’s pain points and fostering growth opportunities.
  2. Strategic preparation for trade events is a must: Attending events like TSAM requires careful planning and preparation to stand out among numerous vendors. Fintech firms must prioritize unique branding and visual displays to ensure their booth captures the attention of asset managers. Incorporating technology, such as QR codes and interactive displays, enhances the visitor experience and facilitates lead capture and follow-up.
  3. Balance technology with personal connection: While technology plays a crucial role, personal connections are equally important. Fintech firms should deploy staff who are approachable, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic about their offerings. Interactive elements like games or quizzes can enhance engagement, but the effectiveness relies on the energy and engagement of booth staff. Additionally, leveraging social media before, during, and after the event amplifies brand exposure and sustains engagement with asset managers.

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21 E-E-A-T Strategies To Supercharge Your SEO And Boost Brand Trust

By Oliver Wells, SEO Director

Estimated read time: 12 minutes 

Blog summary: In this blog I breakdown the importance of Google’s EEAT framework to modern SEO and business growth. I’ll focus on how to implement experience, expertise, authority, and trustworthiness on your website. Read on to learn how utilizing EEAT strategies not only enhances your organic search performance but also builds long lasting customer loyalty and trust; positioning your business for success in a digital-first world. 

EEAT as a measure of enduring quality

In this dynamic and now AI-influenced landscape of digital content production, Google’s E-E-A-T framework stands as a beacon of unwavering credibility. Born into the 2014 edition of the Quality Rater Guidelines as 3 simple letters: “E-A-T” (Expertise, Authority, Trustworthiness) they have since been incorporated into updates both core and micro for as long as I can remember, and now also include a further “E” for “Experience”. We can now see and track the direct and wholly positive impacts of EEAT strategies in organic campaigns, but why is this the case?

“E-A-T is a template for how we rate an individual site. We do it to every single query and every single result. It’s pervasive throughout every single thing we do.”

Hyung-Jin Kim, Vice President of Search at Google, speaking at SMX Next

The value of lived experience

EAT was introduced as a quality concept in response to the growing need for authoritative and trustworthy online information. Fast forward to 2022, and the concept expanded to include ‘Experience’. This represents the value of firsthand, lived experience(s). This evolution wasn’t just an update; it was a statement. Google was championing content not just rich in expertise but also steeped in honest, genuine input. For users, it meant a more relatable, trustworthy and reliable online world, where information comes from those who don’t just know but truly understand the industry because they have lived it – and they aren’t simply writing content in order to sell you a dream. They want to help or guide you towards something, they’re willing to prove themselves to you, and they are happy to be patient.

EEAT as an influencing force

As goes modern SEO, Google’s E-E-A-T has emerged as a powerhouse. Its utilization in the March 2024 update is telling. It’s not just a framework; it’s how you connect with potential customers and website users. It’s how you show them why you’re the best option in a noisy and incoherent grey space of endless choice. By blending experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness Google is able to nudge content creators, business owners and marketing directors (sometimes forcefully and with some degree of resistance) towards excellence. Engaging with EEAT frameworks as they become even more essential, is now a case of when, not if; and there is some degree of urgency.

The focus revolves around rewarding those who know their stuff with resonance that is achieved through genuine experience and transparency – honesty with a dash of true and forthright passion for a craft and a business that wants to thrive. For SEO strategists, myself included, mastering E-E-A-T is not just about playing by the rules; it’s about crafting content that connects with audiences and converts because it is a natural full stop rather than a wrestling match.

Why you need to be using EEAT frameworks sooner, rather than later

So why should you care about SEO and EEAT and what does success look like for your business following continued engagement with these frameworks? The short answer is: online trust = increased business but garnered the right way, consistently and honestly, over time. In our challenging digital world it can seem like every blog and every site is designed to splice attention into consumable chunks, robbing businesses of feeling and websites of humanity.

Therefore, SEOs and Google know and understand that those who genuinely want to engage and talk about a topic are the ones who cultivate the greatest loyalties. Customer loyalty and brand trust being possibly the two greatest pillars upon which strong businesses are built. EEAT is a big thing. I won’t pretend like I am able to discuss it all in one blog post. It encompasses a lot of SEO with crossover into design, digital marketing generally, as well as brand positioning and content creation. But we are passionate about this. We believe strongly that EEAT is the best way to improve organic presence, but we also have an extremely strong feeling that these frameworks are formative to AI and LLM performance. Google may rely heavily on how trustworthy you are, how much authority you have; therefore success in EEAT may very well mean success in AI when AI becomes a major, dominant player in SEO and search.

So, lofty goals we may set, but attainable they are. We have compiled for you below, our top 21 EEAT elements that you must engage with as soon as you can if you want to become a trustworthy organic performance powerhouse.

Unlocking the potential of Google’s EEAT to achieve SEO excellence

Showcase Experience

  1. Use “I” and personal pronouns in your content. Address your audience and readers naturally. We’ve touched on this above but be personable. Talk about yourself as the writer and your experiences relative to the topic at hand and add value with your input. Don’t be afraid of anecdotes. Make your content relatable and authentic. De-mask the featureless writing machine and be “you”. 
  2. For reviews and UGC, try to promote and encourage your customers and users and partners to talk directly about their experience with you as a brand and a business. How did they find an onboarding process? Was their experience with your customer service team positive and why? The value here is in the depth of detail and creating a realistic expectation for others.
  3. Long-form and effusive testimonials are marketing gold-dust. This is a given fact. How you utilize them, once acquired, can be a difference-maker. Make sure you split up a positive review or user-story and inject its influence across your site, content, and marketing channels. You can quote a review snippet into a blog, create an image slider on social media, a testimonial-blast email and so much more. This gives users a great sense of your experience in the industry.
  4. A simple but effective approach is to include dates that relate to your own experiences. If you’re writing a blog, mention your credentials. For me, for example, I have 8 years’ experience in SEO and digital marketing. This one sentence lends credence to my insights and tells Google that my experience can be trusted.
  5. To expand upon the above, when writing meet the team pages or employee information sections on your site (which are a must do but we will get to that!) then include how many years’ experience they each have and where they acquired that experience. What degrees do they have, where did they study, and who are their notable client exposures. If your marketing team of 10, each have between 5- and 10-years’ experience in the industry each, that is a collective (roughly) 50 to 100 years’ worth of knowledge. That is a data point worth shouting about.

Highlight Expertise:

  1. It may seem obvious but one of the best ways to implement the expertise concept is to utilize experts on your site and in your marketing. This can take many forms. You can approach a topic-related industry professional or known quantity to write/author a blog for you. You could also ask for a contribution to a blog piece or you can ask them to provide specific input regarding your service and surface that prominently on your home or service pages. A blend of all is often most effective. Make sure you are displaying the expert’s credentials, qualifications, and experiences as best you can.
  2. Showcase topic experts. When writing content, it is vital that the author is shown. The method of showing also counts here. A one-liner is not enough. We need an author bio of 50-100 words that links the author to the topic. This is an SEO blog. The ‘about the author’ section in this blog talks about my SEO experience. Because I am an SEO expert. Ideally, we need a job title too, and an image of the author (designs coming soon…) You also need to work towards building a bank of content authored by your experts.
  3. Meet the authors. An often-overlooked strategic content piece. A page that showcases all your authors alongside all their subject specialisms and a link to “see content authored by this expert” goes an extremely long way to showing Google and your audience that you are a trustworthy business comprised of topic/industry experts. You can also go one step further and build out author profile pages on a specific URL for each person; allowing a user to deep-dive your experts, their experience, and the content they have written.
  4. Have you written more on the subject matter? Conducted studies, or research? Then link it. You can’t be an expert with a blog count of one. This blends into the final point of consistency. Experts, real ones, write a lot of content. My colleagues know my specialisms, but if I don’t write on the topic consistently then readers, and Google, won’t know or trust that fact. 
  5. Lastly, an expert uses the best sources. So do your research and showcase your findings. The very best blog articles out there link to studies, research, data, reviews and then some. A brilliantly written wall of text just isn’t going to cut it. Google uses these links to cement the content in truth. Utilize the words and insights of other experts to support and formalize your own.

Generate Authority:

  1. Authority can be hard to earn generally and may take some time as a challenger brand or start-up. For established businesses, you might already have authoritative voices in your company. If so, utilize them. You can begin this process with, for example, creating a meet the team page. Who are the people that make up your business and why are they authoritative (you can see here how constituent parts of the EEAT concept are interlinked). Later on, you can engage with actions such as conferences, community events, posting about your presence there on your site and social media channels; develop individual voices with multimedia creation such as podcasts – make the right types of noise in the right kinds of relevant spaces.
  2. Engage with digital PR. DPR is one of the best, quickest, and most effective ways to build your brand authority. We can get your CEO or a HOD listed in newspapers and magazines offering commentary or insight regarding world-events or current affairs. We can get you a full-post placement in an audience/business specific magazine or publication showcasing a new service, entrance into a foreign market or discussing the state of an industry and the potential issues that may (come to) plague it following the announcement of new legislation. DPR builds authority through direct audience recognition. It also may provide a backlink which directly and positively improves your site’s authority in the eyes of search engines. Furthermore, Google is now able to detect un-linked brand mentions and employ that detection as a measure of trust and authority. This identification is getting more and more sophisticated (a trend that will continue) as Google moves away from traditional backlinking as a potent measure of interconnectivity and moves towards more natural ways of testing a brand’s impact in press – especially as media backlink inclusion gets less and less commonplace. Hence the truly vital nature of digital PR.
  3. To be an authority, you need to understand a subject deeply whilst also developing your and others’ understanding of it at the same time. To do this, you need to create and commission studies, research and analysis that is new to market. You can survey your audience and publish your findings. You can engage a specialized agency to undergo rigorous testing on your behalf – utilizing the end product across marketing channels and media. This also goes a long way to establishing yourself as a thought leader in your specific space(s).
  4. An authoritative site is trusted by others. It is all well and good writing the best blog in the world but if nobody sees it, does it have authority? Following the publishing of a blog piece it is then important to conduct manual outreach to other sites, brands and businesses. You want those other sites to use your piece in their own insights and analysis as a hyperlink or reference. To go back to the above point, if you have conducted excellent research with fascinating end-product data, chances are, media and relative brands will want to use your findings. Thus, the cycle of authority and thought leadership is oft self-sustaining.

Delivering Trust:

  1. Of all the metrics and approaches, the notion of trust is almost certainly the most important as regards all-round business growth and efficacy of method. The first thing you should do is ask yourself the question “how can I prove myself and create a natural, genuine sense of trust between me, my audience, and Google?” Your first port of call should be to ascertain and/or showcase your industry specific business qualifications, certifications and accreditations. These are vast and varied by nature but can cover things such as health and safety, ISO specifications, quality control (QC) and even badges that show users how you encrypt data or ensure safe payment methods.
  2. Award wins and recognitions. If you have won awards for your excellent business practices, campaigns or for a specific project –shout about them! Winning awards and being recognized for your work is one of the best and quickest ways to build trust between you as a business, search engines and your users. If you haven’t won any awards just yet, start applying for some. If you’re in the tech industry, check out our list of the best tech awards to enter.  If you’re an energy company reading this, we’ve got you covered. Browse our comprehensive list of energy awards to enter.
  3. Case studies are key when it comes to trust building. The more descriptive you can be with your case studies the better. Offer insight and commentary on the work you did, the relationship you created, and the results you achieved. Breakdown data and statistics, be clear, up-front and honest about any challenges you encountered. It is important to include a testimonial from the client, a review snippet or a measure of insight from their side. You should also link to the website in question if applicable – cementing the relationship to search engines. You should also segment your case studies for clear access; utilizing menu grouping, unique URL paths and breadcrumbs. Grouping all of your case studies in a bunch together is hard to interpret but creating “SEO case studies” and “PPC case studies” groups makes life easy for potential SEO and PPC clients respectively. You want these case studies front and center, easy to read; concise and valuable.
  4. Fact check all content and keep it evergreen. Dated content no longer functions in our fast paced environment. I wouldn’t trust an SEO strategy blog dated to 2018, or even 2020, and I’m sure you wouldn’t either! Please also keep dates out of URLs, they don’t belong there! I believe it also goes without saying, but don’t include anything in your content or marketing that you cannot prove to be true.
  5. You can’t trust what you don’t know. An about us page is something that is perhaps arduous to create but is truly worthwhile. Users want to know who you are. Google wants to know who you are. Go further and showcase your history, the people that made your business, your mission statement, values and purpose – provide a timeline, or an interview with the company founders. Do all you can to show the world your business is made of real people with real passions that can be trusted by virtue of their openness and capacity for honesty.
  6. Engage with review sites across the web. EEAT is not just site-specific, its impact escapes and encompasses the entire web. Therefore, it is imperative that you engage with multiple review sites and aggregators. That means having a presence on e.g. Trustpilot, Clutch,, industry specific reviews sites and more if you can. Google reviews are perhaps the most crucial, but it does not mean that others should be overlooked. When it comes to review harvesting and prompting be sure to encourage (as stated above!) honesty and clarity on process. But also try to secure service specific language and deep insights into a product or experience. You want to create a sense of relativity, allowing your potential new audience to put themselves in the shoes of your current audience. Lastly on this, you must directly address all negative reviews, no matter how time-costly this is. This shows you’re a genuine, trustworthy business that cares about how people perceive it.
  7. A final but interconnected point on testimonials. Where possible, insert these into relative pages. Testimonials that extol the virtues and value of a service, placed onto that service page, will work wonders for your conversion rate and for the right reasons at that.

To conclude

As I said, EEAT is BIG. But it is worth getting your head around. It represents for me, and for Aspectus, the evolution of SEO and the future of AI and LLM performance. Businesses that fail at EEAT, will fail as we transition. But that ought not be a negative. EEAT means building connections with your audience. It represents a freedom and creativity to engage and to be exciting. It’s a celebration of authenticity and expertise; a showcase of your experience. It’s about showing the world who you are, what you do, why you do it and what drives you forward.  EEAT isn’t just the next big thing; it’s the foundation for enduring success on search engines. It’s an invitation to create content that’s as real as it is relevant, as personal as it is powerful. Get in touch with me today to discuss how we can help you achieve SEO success through EEAT implementation.  

Key Takeaways:

What is Google’s E-E-A-T?

Google’s E-E-A-T stands for Experience, Expertise, Authority, and Trustworthiness, a framework crucial for SEO success, emphasizing credible and quality content.

How does E-E-A-T impact SEO and digital marketing?

E-E-A-T directly influences organic search rankings by rewarding content that demonstrates genuine expertise, authoritative sources, and trustworthiness, along with the author’s personal experience in the subject matter.

Why should businesses focus on E-E-A-T?

Focusing on E-E-A-T ensures that businesses create content that truly resonates with their audience, establishing a strong, trustworthy online presence that drives organic growth and customer loyalty.

How can incorporating E-E-A-T into content strategy benefit a business?

Incorporating E-E-A-T into a content strategy significantly boosts a business’s online credibility and authority, leading to better search rankings, increased trust among users, and ultimately, higher conversion rates.

What role does ‘Experience’ play in the updated E-E-A-T framework?

The addition of ‘Experience’ to the E-E-A-T framework highlights the importance of personal anecdotes and firsthand knowledge in creating relatable, authentic content that resonates with audiences and demonstrates genuine understanding.

Why is E-E-A-T considered foundational for future SEO and AI performance?

E-E-A-T is foundational because it aligns SEO practices with the evolving capabilities of AI and machine learning, ensuring that content not only meets current standards of relevance and quality but is also prepared for future technological advancements in search algorithms.

About the author:

I have been working in SEO and strategic marketing services for over 8 years now. My experience is an even split between in-house roles at start-ups and agency roles at some of the UK’s biggest PR and digital agencies. I am based in East London having moved down from Essex 5 years ago. Professionally, I am a proud advocate for EEAT and SEO and the genuine business benefits of integrated service adoption. Personally, my heart is in the Lake District and nature. Podcasts are my jam and coffee is my addiction.


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Executive communications & an investment bank’s CEO side hustle

By Madalena Thirsk, Capital Markets, Aspectus Group  

In the world of institutional finance, where numbers rule the roost and quarterly profits wield immense influence, the CEO of one of the largest investment banks moonlighting as a DJ might seem like an incongruous subplot. In case you missed it, David Solomon, CEO of Goldman Sachs has been periodically appearing as a DJ at clubs and resorts for the past few years, sometimes at high-profile events like Lollapalooza. The recent revelation that Solomon has decided to step back from his side gig as a DJ has sparked much debate over whether this move was an overly cautious response to shareholder concerns, or a prudent measure in the face of declining profits and thousands of layoffs. These kind of off-campus behaviours by high profile CEOs can pose vexing executive and crisis communications challenges for the companies’ corporate comms leaders and their PR agency partners. 

CEO behaviour: a symphony of success or discordant shareholder distraction? 

On the one hand, Goldman Sachs’ curt response that “David hasn’t publicly DJed an event in well over a year” response might appear as a knee-jerk reaction to quell shareholder unease. In an era of minute-by-minute scrutiny in capital markets, investors often demand unwavering focus from their leaders. With Goldman Sachs reporting a substantial decline in earnings, this development has raised serious questions about whether the CEO’s extracurricular activities might have been perceived as a distraction. From a shareholder perspective, it’s undoubtedly a valid concern. However, Goldman Sachs’ spokesperson offers a reasonable counterpoint. The notion that Solomon’s hobby had a direct impact on the bank’s financial performance might be a stretch. If music was indeed a personal passion that didn’t interfere with his professional duties, the media attention around it could arguably be more distracting than the hobby itself. 

Goldman’s defensive PR response 

In our post from 2022, we discussed how the personality of CEOs can become a brand in and of itself that individuals, who may not have heard of the brand before, will now know through the CEO. But becoming a “chief celebrity officer” is a whole other level of challenge for public companies. In the grand scheme of things, whether Solomon DJs or not might seem trivial. That said, the timing of the CEO’s decision to publicly distance himself from his DJing pursuits raises questions. In the context of a two-thirds drop in profits, it’s natural for shareholders to scrutinise any aspect of leadership that might potentially divert focus from restoring financial health. The internal communications concerns within the bank also must be considered. Declining profits can trigger a sense of urgency and scrutiny at any institution. If internal worries prompted this defensive response, it could signal that Goldman Sachs recognises the gravity of the situation and is willing to take corrective actions.  

Yet, this episode serves as a reminder of the executive communications tightrope that CEOs of publicly listed companies walk. They must manage not only the performance of their organisations but also the perceptions of their stakeholders. In this case, Goldman Sachs’ reaction can be seen as proactive, a signal of attentiveness to shareholder concerns. However, it also raises questions about the underlying conditions that led to this highly defensive “music was not a distraction from David’s work. The media attention became a distraction” communications response in the first place. 

Executive communications intersects with investor relations 

Ultimately, David Solomon’s DJing hobby needs to be considered from a shareholder communications perspective. Sure, it’s all fun when things are going smoothly, but what if we hit rough patch and earnings take a dip? That’s when the communications and investor relations teams need to really weigh the pros and cons of these stunts. Imagine you’re a major shareholder in Goldman Sachs, watching the stock price slide. Would you feel reassured seeing the CEO spinning tracks at gigs instead of steering the ship? 

In the age of social media, it’s all about perception and you’ve got to be on your toes, making sure the right image is being broadcast. It’s not about avoiding these media outlets; it’s about taking charge of the narrative. Solomon’s DJ career is a chance for a killer media strategy, turning this into a positive executive branding and boosting visibility on social platforms. In today’s world, those platforms are just as crucial as the traditional news outlets, and the approach needs to be just as savvy. 

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