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90 Seconds with Christopher Fox, Founder of Syncresis, A Firm Specialising in Fintech Thought Leadership

Christopher Fox

Founder/Managing Partner

Syncresis

What is “Syncresis,” and how did you come up with it?

Syncresis is a consulting firm specialising in thought leadership strategy and content development for “financial innovators.” We help fintechs and more traditional banking and finance clients create and run thought leadership programmes. 

Every innovative financial product or service represents a case for change, improving people’s ability to trade or transact by addressing gaps and inefficiencies in the market.

Thought leadership takes that case for change and makes it explicit. But there’s a challenge—it can be difficult to make that case for change clearly in a way that convinces customers. 

Internal marketing experts understand marketing very well, but they are not always deeply connected to the nuances of the subject matter. Subject matter experts have detailed knowledge of their technology and the problems it solves, but they do not always have the time or inclination to communicate why it matters.  

“Every financial product or service is based on a case for change. Thought leadership takes that case for change and makes it explicit.”

That’s where Syncresis comes in. I started the firm in 2007 focused on several industries. Over time, and after a hiatus to join the communications team of a major global bank, I refined the business to focus exclusively on financial innovation. I have also hired other finance, communications, and journalism experts to support the work. But it still comes back to my initial vision, reflected in the company name. “Syncresis” comes from Ancient Greek and refers to the ability to join disparate perspectives into a greater, unified whole—precisely what we are doing in bridging the gap between marketers and subject matter experts.

Tell us about your career journey and some key lessons learned for Fintech B2B marketers.

I had an unusual career start, with a Ph.D. in French Literature and 2 years teaching at the undergraduate and graduate level in a university. Academia did not suit my temperament particularly well, so I transitioned to doing digital strategy and change management at various consultancies. 

Communication is key to helping digital initiatives succeed. So as my interests evolved, I focused more and more on communications strategy, storytelling, and thought leadership. All of the nuance and complexity of B2B Fintech makes it a natural home for bringing all of those skills together, breaking complex ideas down into something simple and compelling.

Regardless of academic and professional background, however, B2B fintech marketers play an essential role by transforming vision and subject matter expertise into something that connects with customers, influencers, and even investors. The role is almost that of a translator, fluent in both fintech and marketing, able to jump back and forth between both languages seamlessly. 

Any B2B fintech marketer can use that insight to “learn both languages” extremely well. It makes for better dialogue with subject matter experts from executives to product managers, and it also results in a more powerful marketing impact. And, like any language learning, practice is essential, so dialogue with peers and other industry perspectives makes a huge difference by fueling your fluency.

What future digital opportunities do you think marketers can leverage over the next year to drive business growth?

I think the biggest challenge is overcoming content fatigue. People are swamped, especially after the pandemic drove even more marketing activity to digital formats. Marketers are drowning in projects. Audiences face a relentless barrage of emails, webinars, news feeds, and social media posts.

Companies can cut through the noise by using digital innovations (for example, who will make the first and biggest B2B fintech marketing splash in the metaverse?). However, the basics still matter more: high-quality content tied back to a consistent and coherent strategy and dedicated to telling your story in the best and clearest way. People overuse the word “authenticity,” but it fits well here—marketers who tell the truth and help audiences make sense of a fast-changing world such as fintech do not have to rely on digital gimmicks.

What advice would you like to give to technology startups when it comes to their marketing?

By default, nobody understands you, and nobody believes you. In other words, you have to earn trust with early-stage customers (and with investors, too). One of the reasons we focus on thought leadership at Syncresis is that it has so much power for building credibility. It shows your audience that you understand their challenges, and beyond that, it shapes their understanding of the best ways to address those challenges. Research has found that thought leadership plays a direct role in B2B purchasing decisions. It makes sense. After all, whom do you trust? The company with a “sign up now” page or the company that educates you on trends and best practices?

What is your vision for Syncresis, and are there any path-breaking activities that we can look forward to?

We are rolling out a couple of new things this year. Traditionally, after defining a strategy, we support clients to create thought leadership content. We will continue doing that, but we are also adding coaching and consulting services. 

Our coaching will focus on helping senior business leaders become their own best advocates, mastering the communication skills that define true thought leaders. Our consulting will focus more on organizations, assisting companies in building and supporting internal teams of thought leaders, and running their own programmes. 

There are a lot of perceived barriers to thought leadership for both individuals and companies—they can get in their own way. These new services will help overcome those barriers. They also feed into one of my core missions as a human being, because clearer communication creates a better, kinder world. So, I want to spread the word!

Stay tuned for more. You can find Syncresis at www.syncresis.com, and I’m on LinkedIn as well.

Christopher Fox, Founder of Syncresis