Capturing The Captive Audience: Coastal Creates 'CoastMedia' For Branch Messages

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CU: Coastal FCU

Category: Digital Video Marketing

With the development of its own in-house digital video solutions, Coastal FCU believes it has maximized its marketing potential within its branches.

The $1.5-billion CU created CoastMedia using Microsoft's Visual Studio. It is in full operation in 13 Coastal FCU locations, with more planned by year's end.

"CoastMedia offers three independent channels running unique content at each deployment," said David P. Faleski, VP of Marketing at CFCU. "We currently use Channel 2 to convey rates and product ads and Channel 3 for directions on how to use the Personal Teller unit." Channel 1 is being reserved for future use as an internal employee communications tool.

"Each self-generated channel is capable of being updated in real-time and has an output of either VGA or composite video," he explained. "All three channels are modulated into cable channels and coupled with Direct TV. This offers incredible versatility in placing content throughout a branch or even behind the scenes."

Faleski said the creation of CoastMedia stemmed from frustration that other methods of communicating to members in the branches weren't necessarily working.

"In years past, the approach was fairly simple," he said. "Bomb 'em with everything we've got in the form of posters, tent cards, standee graphics and buttons on the tellers and hope that a brochure sticks to their heel on the way out."

The realization was that all this effort was "nothing more than white noise." "Our golden nugget of information was simply being homogenized into the rest of the estimated 3,000 marketing messages each of us is inundated with every day," Faleski said. "So, while we were efficient, the effectiveness was questionable."

As a credit union that prides itself as a technology leader-it was the 13th to offer home banking-CFCU officials wanted to remain on the cutting edge. Digital video technology was a logical next step. When it was first discussed, options included hiring outside vendors that had turnkey solutions ready to go.

But, "Despite their considerable prices, early iterations of such systems lacked elegance," he said, adding that the interfaces were clumsy and complicated. "So, while the magic of video had been placed at our fingertips, our need for efficiency and effectiveness was not yet realized."

Faleski, who has both an interface design and web background, said he worked closely with the engineer who built the system. "It must have gone through a dozen revisions before the final version was introduced," he said, adding that since the launch, it's running smoothly.

One of CoastMedia's most significant advantages is that the management console interface is simple, friendly and intuitive, he said. "It fully supports drag and drop functionality and features on-the-fly previewing. Just point and click and you can import files locally or over the network, create and edit playlists and generate and launch playlist schedules."

The schedule feature allows distribution to be done individually or in groups and allows for rate and daily time frame scheduling. A more recent addition is the ticker function that allows for scrolling text on any of the three channels and the ability to change font types, sizes and colors.

CoastMedia is operated from three workstations within CFCU's marketing department, giving each qualified use the ability to remotely review, change or update content at any deployment site. "Future consideration has been given to granting access...to additional staff members to foster even greater individual customization at the branch level," Faleski said. In addition, he would like to see more full motion video. As it stands, the system relies mostly on flash pictures.

Faleski gave an example of how it all comes together:

"At any given moment, Coastal can have a custom message running at our administrative headquarters welcoming visiting dignitaries from another credit union, while at another branch...members are invited to a special financial seminar later that week," he explained. "And, in Sanford, an underserved community, a special in-branch only certificate rate bonus is offered."

During the 4th of July, all CoastMedia locations shared in a "Declare Your Independence from Banks!" campaign.

Some branch locations offer member viewing via 40-inch LCD screens while others use 17 inch LCD monitors. "We usually double or triple them up horizontally or vertically," he said, explaining that the smaller screens kept at eye level have a nice impact and are much less expensive than the large screens ($300 each vs. $3,500 or more for the larger screens.)

While there is a tracking system to measure impact of the digital video system, Faleski said the feedback has been positive. As an added benefit, it eliminates the branch clutter that comes with traditional poster/brochure campaigns, he said.

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