Like At Home, In-Branch Video Getting Interactive

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MILWAUKEE-Thanks in large part to advances in technology, the use of in-branch video monitors is becoming more informative and significantly more interactive in recent years.

Jim Fryk, VP of architecture for design/build firm La Macchia Group, based here, said the message on video screens is "more personalized" compared to a few years ago, when it likely was streaming video of CNN. "Those messages had nothing to do with the credit union," he noted. "But today, it can be personalized to have a lot more interest to the members. A second point to keep in mind is the messages that members are seeing today are a lot more interactive. Credit unions can direct the message where they want to go, such as promoting a car loan."

Fryk said a third evolution of in-branch media is using it as a teaching tool. Not only can it be informative, the interactive videos are designed to teach members about financial products, offerings and services available to them. "Instead of having to dig through a brochure, there is something they can pursue, and there are all sorts of avenues they can pursue."

"The interactive tool is geared very specifically to a targeted audience, either by age, socioeconomic status or other factors," said Ralph La Macchia, president. "Grocery stores scan their customers' loyalty cards, and they know what products people buy most often. The technology today can deliver specials on the video screen that can match those preferences when someone walks into the store."

According to La Macchia, tools have been developed that apply similar principles to financial service components. In some cases a series of monitors are placed in a CU's lobby that direct a viewer to ask for a particular member service representative by name to discuss a featured product. For example: there might be pictures of white sand and blue water with the notation, "Talk with Jane about saving for your next vacation," or perhaps video of a 1956 Chevy and a call to action, "See Jim to finance your dream car."

"It will allow a credit union to capture additional traffic and cross sell," La Macchia said. "It allows an opportunity for a credit union to partner with the member, rather than talking down to or at them. This is much different from showing the news and every once in a while showing a slide with rates."

One key element, La Macchia continued, is to avoid placing the video instrument between the employee and the member-instead, the video should attract the member to the employee. He described it as a "picture album" with the ability to reach out and touch the member. "These are stepping stones to achieve a bond," he said.

Interactive video messaging is not a canned product, Fryk explained. He said La Macchia Group has developed it in conjunction with clients to have very specific, personalized messages that are based on a demographic.

"In an environment where there are likely to be new home buyers, the message can be tailored to that audience," he offered. "Knowing what the demographics are, we have images on the monitor. Interactive video messaging is the generic term, but it ends up carrying a branded element of the credit union. We want members to be engaged."

Kim Guslick, manger of branded environments for La Macchia Group, said the goal of the interactive elements is to "get attention with media."

Agreed La Macchia: "The reality of interactive today is that is a portal to a relationship. The study of the market and understanding specifically what the desired results are allow the credit union to get there. Just shooting out a couple of slides isn't good enough any more. It needs a lot of attention and it is not cheap, but it brings a lot of ROI. It is another tool. It really depends on the client's appetite for sophistication."

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