What Eminem and a Bank Have in Common

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Even a bank can inspire a rap song and some dance moves.

About two months ago, Texas-based First Victoria National Bank started to film its branch customers who expressed admiration for the bank's services and upload those organic testimonial videos to its YouTube channel. The videos to date include, among other things, a few dance moves, a rap song and kind words from some of the bank's longstanding customers.

"The idea here is, how do you get consumers involved in the brand at the deepest level?" Kenneth Olan, senior executive vice president and chief retail and marketing officer at First Victoria Bank, tells BTN. "We now have our own customer becoming an evangelist for the ultimate engagement."

Though some of the videos only have a few views, the series as a whole has generated more than 5,000 views. One of the most clicked videos documents a young girl singing about the bank. She's had more than 2,000 views.

To celebrate those customers participating in its YouTube video series, Olan says the bank plans to host its own version of the Oscars by year's end and give out awards for video categories such as "best message" and "most enthusiastic." He plans to celebrate with a live event, depending on where all the video finalists live. At the very least, he says the bank, which boasts more than 30 branches throughout Texas, will hold a phone conference to recognize its YouTube winners.

The effort is pointing to a new wrinkle in how banks are engaging customers with their brands thanks to sites like YouTube.

Mercantile Bank of Michigan has used photo booth technology to share images of its customers through its social channels and even posted some of those images to a billboard, for example. Meanwhile, Wisconsin-based North Shore Bank was soliciting a casting call in October for customers to appear in its ads.

Banks nationwide, meanwhile, have relied on more formal video testimonials to a greater degree in the small business and commercial areas, points out Jim Marous, senior vice president of corporate development at New Control, a direct and digital marketing agency firm, and author of the Bank Marketing Strategy blog.

"These testimonials tend to be professionally produced, available to business bankers, customers and prospects and reinforce the overall business development efforts," said Marous in an email interview with BTN. "While these videos in the past were only available within the bank firewalls, more banks are posting these testimonials on services like YouTube and Vimeo to allow for wider distribution."

He cited five examples of small business video content: KeyBank, a Nevada State Bank series of small business testimonials, Leader Bank, a series from Citibank, and a vendor that sells to banks published a video this week on small business content marketing./P>

In creating digital content, banks continue to struggle to find the elusive ROI. To that end, Marous said banks must leverage social media sites to expose their videos to a wider audience. "Without promotion, it is difficult to maximize the value of the efforts. With a more fully integrated social media strategy, measurement of results is made easier," he said.

Beyond digital bank branding efforts, bank branches have strived for years to find better ways to connect with their customers. Simon Angove and Martha Powers, execs from Verint Enterprise Intelligence Solutions, point out a few examples, including: boasting warm greeting standards in the way in which staff welcomes branch customers, sponsoring family movie nights and sending customers quick surveys about their bank experience to their mobile phones right after they leave the branch.

The point of all such efforts is to listen to customers — wherever they are. There's a "tremendous appetite to listen across all of these channels and to understand the [customers'] journeys across the channels," says Angove.

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Comments (1)
A novel marketing strategy.
Posted by krishnamachari sampath kumar | Tuesday, November 20 2012 at 8:52AM ET
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