Here is a transcript generated by of The Content Mix podcast interview with Elena Solera, marketing expert at Finnovista, on the importance of channelling an entrepreneurial mindset :

Shaheen Samavati 0:13
Hi, everyone, I’m Shaheen from The Content Mix and I’m excited to be here with Elena Solera communication and marketing director at Finnovista, which is an organization that promotes innovation in the finance and insurance sectors in Spain and Latin America. Thanks so much for joining us.

Elena Solera 0:27
Thank you.

Shaheen Samavati 0:29
So to get started, can you just tell us a bit about your background and how you got into your current role at Finnovista?

Elena Solera 0:35
Well, so actually, my background is in journalism. So I have a degree in journalism, and I specialized in business and economics. So I worked for Spanish media in Brussels, Istanbul and Madrid. I was a reporter for 10 years. And during that time, I always work for print media. So in 2012, I decided to go for change. And at that moment, I didn’t have any knowledge about any kind of digital communications. And it was obvious for me that many opportunities would come from the digital world in the in the following years. So I started to learn about digital projects, I had the opportunity to find an economic blog working for a bank. And soon after joining this bank, I got involved in designing communication and marketing actions for innovation, technology and entrepreneurship which happens to be a super inspiring environment. And I’ve been working in these kind of projects.

Shaheen Samavati 1:47
Okay, and how did you end up going to Finnovista?

Elena Solera 1:52
Well, I got into this role because, well, I found out Finnovista was looking for communication and marketing director. I knew the founders of Finnovista, because I worked together with them in previous positions. And I knew that they were doing amazing projects in FinTech and an insurance, and they have a very strong innovation entrepreneurship community in the Latin American campus. So I got in touch with them. I told them that I wanted to be part of the adventure. And fortunately, they remembered who I was, and it was the beginning of that.

Shaheen Samavati 2:33
So when you got into journalism, did you have a special interest in like business and finance at that time? Or was that something that you’ve developed over the years?

Elena Solera 2:41
So for me, what I have always felt passionate about is telling the stories. So when I decided to be a journalist, what I wanted is telling people’s stories. Business and economics has always been part of what I am, the topics that I’m interested in and I have always been very comfortable with numbers and all the things that have to do with wealth creation and so on. But for me the most relevant part is telling people stories. That’s what was relevant for me when I decided to move for journalism.

Shaheen Samavati 3:22
My background is I also in financial journalism, by the way. So we have that in common and yeah, it definitely was a passion that I developed, but also because there’s a lot of opportunities, there were at least at the time, more in finance. But I think if it’s something you like, it’s really interesting because it opens a lot of doors also for that specialization.

Elena Solera 3:43
Yeah, the thing is that not many journalists go for journalism, and that’s a pity because it’s very interesting. And it has many opportunities.

Shaheen Samavati 3:52
For finance, you mean?

Elena Solera 3:54
Yeah, yeah.

Shaheen Samavati 3:55
And ultimately you are telling people’s stories because it comes down to people. Everything that you’re writing about in finance, right?

Elena Solera 4:02
Yeah. For example, one of the projects that I had the opportunity on work before, was delivering a telecommunication and marketing strategy for an application that was related to big data. And that was big data for retailers. And the most interesting part about this project was getting in touch with people that has a shoe shop, people that have a restaurant, a cafeteria, all of them are in touch with the economics and finance and all of them has to tell a story. And it was an amazing experience, I love it.

Shaheen Samavati 4:37
There you go. And now you’re working a lot with entrepreneurs. So what are the kinds of stories you’re telling these days and how is Finnovista using content.

Elena Solera 4:45
So, for us content is the cornerstone of our strategy. So anytime that we are facing inactivity in Finnovista, the approach that we are following is to do an action. This action can be an event, it can be an acceleration program, it can be a research project. The first thing that we think about is what’s the story that we want to tell to our community, to our audiences? And answers questions like what are the problems that the community has right now, and how we can help them to solve these problems. So with all this information, with all this type of brainstorming work, we create a document that is a storytelling document. And this is going to be the basics, where we are going to build on top of it all the communication elements of our strategy. So to create an email marketing campaign, to create the social media impacts, to create the design materials for this campaign, we are going to have a look at the storytelling of this initiative, understand what we are trying to achieve, and then create the materials.

Shaheen Samavati 6:08
Okay, and so what kind of channels are you publishing content on?

Elena Solera 6:12
So right now we have email marketing activities. We have presence on social media networks, like for example, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram, of course. We also deliver video and we have a very strong relationship with media especially in Mexico and Latin American countries. And one of the most relevant parts of our communication activities, because we are a facilitator and we work a lot with the community are our partner networks. So we are in touch with many organizations in different countries that work together with entrepreneurs and any time that we are creating a new initiative, we get in touch with them. We explain to them what we are trying to deliver to their community and we ask for their support. We deliver to them like communication materials to support us in the communication. And actually, we have very good responses from them.

Shaheen Samavati 7:20
Okay. Very cool. And who is the audience that you’re targeting? Are you writing for the entrepreneurs, for the corporates? Or do you do you target different types of content for each audience? What’s your main kind of objective with the content?

Elena Solera 7:33
So we are a community facilitator. Our main audiences are innovators. We call them that way to include all the people that are in touch with innovation or are working on innovation these days, and especially the sub segments that we have our entrepreneurs and startups, corporates, and all these institutions that are working on innovation, like co-workings, innovation hubs, accelerators and other types of institutions.

Shaheen Samavati 8:07
I noticed you do most of your content both in Spanish and English, even though your target is in Latin America and Spain, why do you think it’s important to also do English content?

Elena Solera 8:17
Well, so one of the things that is important for us is that one of the main countries in Latin America in terms of technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship is Brazil. So actually, although we don’t have any Portuguese speaking people in the communication team right now, we deliver all the content in English to arrive at this market as well. And also because there is a part of the activities that we develop that takes place in Miami and this is a bilingual community. So we deliver the communication in two languages to be able to have a better push in this community.

Shaheen Samavati 8:57
So I imagine some of the people that you’re targeting right international people who maybe don’t understand Spanish as well as English.

Elena Solera 9:05
Yeah, actually, this is very interesting for us. So for example, for the acceleration on the scale program, we are targeting companies that are in Latin America, but also we’re targeting companies that have an interest in Latin America. So for example, if there is a fitness company that will like to expand their operations to Mexico, we would like to invite them to take part in their programs that we are organizing. That’s why we are delivering the communications in the two languages.

Shaheen Samavati 9:34
Yeah it makes a lot of sense. And I guess a lot of the companies and platforms, their audiences are in English, so they need to have international teams, and all of that. So you were mentioning that your focus in the organization is really doing events and programs for FinTech startups and corporates. I was curious how you’re being impacted right now, now that we can’t do physical events.

Elena Solera 10:00
Yeah, so actually, this is a very relevant question because it’s something that we have to face on a daily basis. So, we have very relevant events that take place in Mexico and Miami and we had to decide to add that to the communication that we were doing those those events during the year. So for example, as you know, doing the communication for one event, is something that you don’t improvise. You prepare it months in advance. And there was a moment that we knew that our audience was very sensitive to go into an event, there’s like a physical barrier. And because they cannot move from one place and also there was a lot of uncertainty about the work we would be doing in the in the following months. So, we never had like a pure commercial strategy in terms of communication with regards to events. We always mix content and a commercial point of view for all the campaign’s that we have. But we decided to put aside all the type of commercial communication for those events. So instead of saying to the audience – register to these events, what we did is have interviews with people that we used to have in events, preparing content related to it, and only mentioning that if we had the opportunity to meet them in the following months, we will do so. But what we did is moving from a pure commercial and content strategy to a fully content strategy. And that worked for us very well. And afterwards we moved to a virtual environment. So what we are doing is having virtual events with our audience and trying to have the experience that we have in the physical events in the virtual environment. So promoting networking activities, promoting this kind of lesser environment, or it can have humoristic sessions with the audience. So, for us, all the things is related to the experience, having a very good experience in events although they are virtual ones.

Shaheen Samavati 12:47
Okay. And so to understand, I guess your business model isn’t actually like selling the events. It’s more like connecting the startups with the corporates. Is that right?

Elena Solera 12:56
So for us the most relevent thing is connecting with the startups and connecting with entrepreneurs.

Shaheen Samavati 13:04
So it’s not like detrimental if you can’t do it in an event. You have other ways you can connect with the startups, basically that’s what you’re finding is ways to do that online.

Elena Solera 13:13
Yes, we are kind of facilitator. What we’re looking at in the end is transforming the finance and insurance sector. So we believe that if we get in touch with different people, and we help them to get into touch with other notes or with other doubts in the community, they are going to be able to create more sales and to create disruptive solutions in the industry.

Shaheen Samavati 13:45
Okay. Do you have any names of companies that we might know who have come out of the program.

Elena Solera 13:54
Well, one of the programs that we have from – the final Demo Day of this program took place in the end of May. So actually it was like, several weeks ago. So in the startup bootcamp program, we have a portfolio of 45 startups that took part, of different cycles of programming and different years. And some of them are Prestanómico, Sonect , Alfi, Ualet. So many different companies, Prometeo as well. Many different companies that are well known in the Latin American countries. And on the corporate side, we collaborate with banks like for example, HSBC, Scotia Bank, BBVA, Santander, Banco Azteca and other different companies.

Shaheen Samavati 14:56
I see, very interesting. I wanted to ask you also, what the transition has been like for you because you went from journalism to working in corporate marketing and then now working in a smaller team in this kind of organization. What was attractive about this new job and how have you been adapting?

Elena Solera 15:17
Yeah, so actually when you are working in a very big company, you have the opportunity to work at one project at a time. And it was my case for the time that I was working in big companies, and those projects normally are really long. So they can be like ten months, they can be a year long. And actually some of the projects that I’d been working on had been three years or longer. So when I’m working at Finnovista, I have the opportunity to work in on four or five projects at a time. And it really gives you the opportunity to enrich your career. It gives you the opportunity to gain a lot of experience in communication and marketing, so actually, I’m having a lot of fun. I have a lot of different opportunities to get into touch with different people, and I’m really happy about it. I’m really happy about it.

Shaheen Samavati 16:17
So what would you say has been your biggest challenge or what you’ve had to learn the most about in the new role?

Elena Solera 16:23
So right now, and also at the beginning of the role, one of the biggest challenges is teleworking. So many of the activities that we developed at Finnovista takes place in Mexico, so we have to work a lot of remote work. But it’s finally something that you have to get used to so it’s a challenge at the beginning but at the end, it’s not so so hard. And maybe it was one of the things that was a challenge. But at the same time having the opportunity to work very closely with people that are living in different countries gives you the opportunity to know a lot about their culture, know a lot about the type of problems or pain points they have and also you have the opportunity to work with them closely. So for me, now when I visit Mexico, I don’t feel like a tourist, although I can be. I feel like I can understand the country much better than I did before.

Shaheen Samavati 17:40
Thats very cool. It’s a great opportunity. So well let’s move to your recommendations. Could you tell me an influencer in your country who you’d recommend? You’re in Spain by the way, I don’t know if we mentioned that yet.

Elena Solera 17:57
So well, one of the influencers that I like is Vilma Nuñez. So I like to read her blog posts. If I had the opportunity to listen to her in a conference, I would choose to do it. And I like her view of communications. I like how she understands marketing and communication activities. Also some of the books that I like the most in communications, there is one that is basic for me and it’s very related, not to finance strictly but to a way of thinking in numbers. That is Web Analytics 2.0 by Avinash Kaushik. The book I think is like 10 years old or something like that, and I still use it. It has many, many recommendations about how to monitor your activities. And another book that I like a lot is #Socialholic. I know it’s in Spanish. I don’t know if it has been translated to English. It was written by two brothers, Juan Polo and Fernando Polo, they are the owners of a Spanish agency that is called Good Rebels. And it’s a kind of manual for social media activity. But what I like about this book is that its more than a guidance for social media activity, its guidance for building a community. And I think it’s more much more important to build a community than to manage social media from a technical point of view.

Shaheen Samavati 19:52
And I guess that’s really important in your sector where it’s all about community, right?

Elena Solera 19:56
Really important, really important. So I say that one of the main strengths is the community.

Shaheen Samavati 20:03
Yes. And then your favorite app, at the moment at least.

Elena Solera 20:08
So I’m not a yogi. My favorite app, what I like about it is that the user experience mainly, is Down Dog. I tried it and I know if there ever is a moment that I do yoga on a daily basis, it would be because of this app because it’s very, very good. And so you have the opportunity to choose what type of yoga you would like to practice. You can choose the intensity and also you can modify if you will like to have a long relaxing period at the end of it, a short one, the type of music that you have, so it’s perfect. If you’re interested in trying yoga or you are a practitioner already its very good. If I had to create an app that is related to a different thing, I would choose this one to get inspiration.

Shaheen Samavati 21:07
I guess you got to use it a bit during the quarantine period.

Elena Solera 21:11
Yes, actually, they have a very good marketing strategy. Well marketing strategy and also a kind of goodwill action at the same time. It was given for free the app to everyone that wanted to test it. And afterwards, they move to the freemium scheme that they have always had. But you had the opportunity to test it for free during the pandemic.

Shaheen Samavati 21:38
I see and get used to all the great pro features. Well, so yeah, well to finish up the interview, do you have any parting advice for other marketers? Maybe especially those who might work with Latin America?

Elena Solera 22:01
Well, I had the opportunity to work a lot with entrepreneurs and all the methodologies that are related to innovation, and I have to confess that something that has helped me a lot during last years is the entrepreneurial mindset. So whenever I have to face a communication activity right now, what I think is, what’s the problem and what are the solutions. And for me to create a very captivating campaign, this is key. So having an entrepreneurial mindset, that will be a piece of advice for me. Another one will be using plans and using templates. So I have created my own data marketing and communication templates. And I try to use it with every activity that I have to face. I have found out that it saves a lot of time for me. So that’s something that I would have appreciated to have known at the beginning.

Shaheen Samavati 23:12
I noticed that Vilma Nuñez actually has a lot of great templates on her website and can be a good resource.

Elena Solera 23:18
Yeah, yes, yes. And also another thing that is very important for me , so for example, when I arrived to Finnovista, one of the challenges that I had was delivering communication materials with very high quality. And for me, a way to ensure that we have a very high quality in the communication material materials is loving the language. And, for example, when I speak with some people that think that because I’ve been reading for a long time, I don’t use a dictionary anymore. And that’s not true, whenever you have to work with that language, you have to be learning about the language on a daily basis. So, improving your language is something that is really important to have very high quality materials. And especially for me in terms of English, I am not a native speaker and I have a lot to learn yet. And also something that is really important in terms of quality, for me, is having the type of processes that you can find in a newspaper or in the media. So all the things that we publish have been reviewed by another person in the team. So you have like an additional process that is similar to the one that you have in the newspaper. You create the communication material and it can be an article, it can be editorial calendar, it can be an email marketing campaign and then you pass it to another colleague, and this person reviews it. And it’s something that is working for us. It’s helped us to improve the communication a lot. And finally, and this is something that I will have liked to know before – networking is important, and you have to dedicate time to networking. And when I say time, I think that you have to dedicate at least 5% of your time to networking and meeting other colleagues, and getting in touch with different people in different regions. I think it’s really the key to move forward in your career.

Shaheen Samavati 25:51
To keep learning from other people’s experience. Yeah, absolutely. Well, thank you so much for sharing your experience with us and the whole Content Mix community really appreciate it.

Elena Solera 26:02
Thank you.

Shaheen Samavati 26:03
Yeah, and thanks everybody for listening in. For more perspectives on the content marketing industry in Europe, check out And keep tuning in to the podcast where we’ll be publishing interviews like this one every weekday. See you next time.

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