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The “Best Content” series brings you a handful of the most thought-provoking and informative articles, reports, and webinars related to financial services branding and marketing published over the last year, broken down into bite-sized pieces.

Don’t Get Left Behind: The Rise of Digital Marketing in Financial Services
Business operations across all industries have been changing rapidly due to digital advances and the financial service sector is no exception. Firms are connecting differently with their customers and prospects, and even internally, employees are connecting differently with each other. At this point, it’s impossible – and unwise – to avoid these changes. This Marketo e-book takes a look at a variety of digital marketing strategies within financial services: from social media to big data to marketing automation. It concisely explains each tool, presenting best practices as well as addressing concerns. Read the e-book here.

Memo to Securities Industry: Get Social
As Forbes points out, the financial service industry is subject to tight regulations of their communications by the SEC and FINRA. This, rightly, causes the industry to approach social media with caution. Most financial firms do not allow their employees to engage on social media for business purposes, because most firms are concerned with supervising the online actions of those employees. But the problem is that not having a social media strategy may leave financial service firms in the digital dust. In this article, Forbes offers five tips for “’smart’ securities-industry use of social media.” Read it here.

Finance: The Five Key Visual Trends
Getty Images, the stock photo agency, has been observing the imagery trends within the financial service industry since the global financial crisis: in just the past few years, how firms represent themselves visually has undergone a transformation. In an attempt to “re-establish trust,” the visuals no longer focus on “conspicuous wealth,” but on themes such as responsibility and small business. Watch here.

Great Content Marketing from Financial Services Firms: Examples and Challenges
Content is the new creative: firms can make meaningful connections with prospects by delivering valuable and relevant information in compelling, engaging, and even entertaining communications. It is becoming an increasingly vital marketing tool, but as with social media, between the multitude of regulations and compliance issues, the financial service industry often does not use content marketing to its full advantage. A few months ago, the Content Marketing Institute hosted a discussion on Twitter about content in financial services. The dialogue covered unique challenges, best practices, and advice for content marketing in such a highly regulated industry. Read the transcript and takeaways here.

Leadership Lessons from the Banking Upheaval
As banking undergoes major transformations caused by both the financial crisis and the digital revolution, leadership styles within banking too must change. This blog post argues that one of the most needed adaptations within the financial industry is innovation. Innovation may have become a buzzword but that does not mean it no longer has value, and this post explains how “an open attitude and a willingness to get it wrong before they get it right . . . will be able to steer their firms to success in a less predictable and more competitive world.” Read the post here.