08 November 2022 |

Community Is the Competitive Advantage

By Nicole Casperson

What comes to mind first when you think of what humankind is best at? 

Is it our ability to use tools with our opposable thumbs? No. It could be our communication?

Definitely not. 

What humankind does best is mirror each other

And we believe in functional fiction, which are things that aren’t physically real, but we act as though they’re real. 

And fintech companies are the stewards of the most significant piece of functional fiction in the world: 

Money. 

Money is the thing thousands of us come together to talk about at events like Money 20/20 and Future Proof Festival

Money is a little green piece of paper we spend our entire lives toiling and sweating for, and it has no inherent basis in reality. Yet, we act as though it does and give it power

As New York Times, best-selling author and psychologist Dr. Daniel Crosby remind us: These functional fictions enable us to build great civilizations

But there’s a downside when your species believes in things that don’t exist

The American Psychological Association has studied what is stressing the American public, and every year the single most significant stressor is money, followed by work and the economy

“So your number one stressor is money. The number two stressor is the place where you make your money. The number three stressor is where you spend your money,” Crosby says. 

And guess what the number one way to combat these stressors is? 

Community. 

I saw this personified at Money 20/20.

Serena Williams took the stage to talk about her venture capital firm, which she formed after learning how her community of women and minorities are rarely a part of the venture capital world. 

And she’s using her experiences as a Black woman to form her ‘Play to Win’ strategy that centers around investing in founders that have a personal connection, face adversity, and prioritize diversity. 

OnlyFans CEO Ami Gan is on a mission to protect the tech platform’s community, home to over 2 million creators across 100 countries and over 220 million fans. 

Community banks are yearning for low-code no-code fintech to leapfrog technology challenges and reach their under-banked and underserved communities. 

Mary Ellen Iskenderian, President and CEO of Women’s World Banking, has dedicated her time to establishing fintech innovation as a human rights and women’s rights imperative because 742 million women worldwide are still excluded from the global economy. 

Shivani Siroya, CEO & Founder of Tala, is working to bring together communities in emerging markets like the Philippines to move global financial inclusion forward. 

Our industry’s diverse leadership community is hungry for representation in media because stories influence the perceptions of the fintech narrative, which impacts funding dollars that go to women and various entrepreneurs. 

There’s a new definition for the acronym ROI: Return on Influence

We’re seeing today that many of these historically marginalized groups are leading the cultural zeitgeist

They’re leading the trends and how culture and industries move forward. So we want to ensure these groups understand that we care about them

Today, fintech companies are seeing the benefits of social capital in building communities. 

Fintech is more than a consumer tool to build wealth or software that enables enterprises to offer financial services. 

Fintech entices a sense of belonging with like-minded users willing to pay or partner to feel part of your company’s community

Using community and vulnerability to grow your fintech company may come as a surprise in a world that makes us think we have to choose between people and profit.

We don’t. 

Human beings are fundamentally social animals.

Behavioral economics and psychological research have taught us that we crave a sense of connectednessbelongingmission, and meaning, mainly when performing our work.

Theresa Amabile’s The Progress Principle and Daniel Pink’s Drive demonstrated that making progress towards a shared mission is the most motivating force a professional can feel.

This is why communities are such powerful tools for businesses and organizations. 

By creating a sense of connection and purpose, they can tap into the intrinsic motivators that drive us as humans. 

When we feel part of something larger than ourselves, we are more likely to be engaged and committed to the group’s success.

The benefits that communities offer expand beyond businesses and professionals. 

In today’s increasingly isolated world, connecting with others who share your values can be a lifeline. For many people, belonging to a community is essential to who they are.

Businesses derive tangible and intangible benefits from being part of a community. The real benefits include contenteventsmarketing, and technology

The intangible benefits are more difficult to quantify but are just as important. They include the feeling of belonging to a group, the exchange of ideas and knowledge, and the opportunity to make connections with like-minded people.

The intangible benefits of community are what make customers truly “sticky.” These benefits are hard to come by anywhere and keep people coming back. 

The feeling of belonging to a group is one of the most potent benefits. 

It gives people a sense of identity and purpose. The exchange of ideas and knowledge is also a powerful benefit. It helps people to learn and grow. The opportunity to connect with like-minded people is another benefit that is hard to come by in other environments.

And there’s a massive opportunity for fintech companies to leverage the community to connect with the increasingly diverse consumer your products are intended to help. 

So, are you ready to build your community and make it your fintech company’s most significant competitive advantage?

Let’s discuss the steps you can take to get there in Part 2.