What made people on this list so influential is how they’re adopting to the new rules of marketing and PR. You may have heard us use that phrase on this blog before. If you’re new to these rules, we recommend reading the book by David Meerman Scott, “New Rules of Marketing and PR”. The basic premise is that the old way of relying on big media to deliver your story and advertisements is no longer a functional model. While this may sound horrible to the traditional marketer, in reality it’s a huge opportunity for every business, especially small businesses, to grow exponentially by letting go and diving head first into the new world. Some are using elements of content marketing, an essential ingredient to the new rules.
These banks and credit unions are showing signs that they’re either moving in the direction of the new rules or in some cases, making it a top priority. But they’re clearely ahead of the curve in the financial industry.
We most likely missed a handful of people that should be recognized. But the beauty of blogs and social media in general is the ability to voice your opinion so we encourage you to leave comments about institutions you feel deserve recognition.
This list is in no particular order.
First Mariner Bank – From social media staples such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Flickr to their eNewsletter, this bank is clearly putting social media and content marketing at the top of their priorities.
AnchorBank – They’ve been twittering for awhile but just recently they launched their Facebook page. What’s unique about their messages both on Twitter and Facebook is that they are moving away from your typical customer service messages – branch closings, openings, parties, etc. They have a lot of great online content that’s educational in nature to help their followers / clients to better understand their financial options and they do a great job of merchandising this information out through these new cost-effective online channels. (DISCLAIMER: A Truebridge client)
Umpqua Bank – They have created a great local community vibe with their online campaigns. They also help people to better understand ways to save money with their Save Hard Spend Smart landing page. They built up a strong following on Twitter and they don’t just talk about Umpqua services, they talk about local secrets and where you can find good deals. Chances are the places they’re steering you are their own clients. This goes a long way with existing as well as potential clients.
Addison Avenue Federal Credit Union – They’ve solved the content problem by opening up group forums on their site. The last one I checked out had the title “Do you really need to be debt-free?” and it had about twelve comments from the community. They also leverage Twitter and Facebook to deploy messages that can lead to their group forums or also to landing pages such as http://www.bankintervention.com/. And finally, they have a blog that’s focused on the younger generation called The Addison Cafe.
Affinity Federal Credit Union – They don’t use Twitter or Facebook. But, in our opinion, if you display good content as a top priority on your website like Affinity does, then you’re on the right track. One of their top four navigation bars is for “Advice & Planning”. This section is full of great content where members can find answers to all their financial needs before taking the plunge to talk about Affinity’s offerings. (DISCLAIMER: A Truebridge client)
Nicolet National Bank – There aren’t too many banks that have created blogs but out of the ones I’ve seen, Nicolet has done an exceptional job at developing compelling content for their clients in what they call The Vault. As of this post they appear to just be harnessing the power of RSS feeds but I’m sure that Twitter and Facebook are not far behind in their initiatives.
Bank of America – Mostly known for using new online tools like Twitter for customer service, BofA has also developed some unique online campaigns. One example is Morris on Campus. It provides tips on things from dorm room tips, food tips and class room tips. They created a college handbook that you can download for free. The campaign was focused on getting kids to sign up for the CampusEdge Checking and Stuff Happens cards that gives you a one-time bank fee refund.
Wells Fargo – Like BofA, Wells Fargo is well known for using Twitter for providing customer service. But they’re also on top of delivering compelling content through their blogs. This time last year they created the Wells Fargo – Wachovia blog to keep customers up to date on the latest merger activities. But since then they’ve added a few more blogs:
- Guided by History: Talks about the banks history and how it relates to the present and the possible future.
- Student LoanDown: Focused on the college student and the loan process.
- Stagecoach Island: A youthful game where kids can interact with each other. The blog is the main component to the site.
- Commercial Electronic Office: This is what they call their CEO portal. You must be a commercial client and need a password and username to access.
Jesse Torres / Pan American Bank – This is mostly for Jesse and not so much the bank – yet at least. As of this post their website was under construction. To learn more about the bank you can visit their Facebook page or follow them on Twitter.
Jesse recently became the president of this small community bank in Southern California, but Jesse has had his hands in the banking industry for quite some time. This past year he wrote The Community Banker’s Guide to Social Network Marketing. Some of you may know that recently Pan American Bank launched a blog. They sent out a press release announcing the blog and many banking industry professionals, including Truebridge, noticed ads from Google on the site. Some ads even steered you to other banks, such as Bank of America! As of this post these ads were still in place. I still don’t quite understand the rational behind this. Jesse responded rather quickly to all the chatter online, which goes to show you he understands how the new online world works. And while I still don’t understand the Google ads, his blog is rather unique. Reading the articles you don’t get a sense that you’re reading a banker per se. And I think that’s the point they’re trying to make. Their goal is to stop acting like a bank, as one recent post proclaims. And I think the true meaning of this new kind of marketing is all about transparency and having open dialogs with your clients. It’s also about giving away information that prior to the age of Google you would have wanted to reserve for in person dialogs. While I may not agree 100% with some of Jesse’s techniques, he is clearly an innovator and someone to keep an eye on as the new landscape of bank marketing takes shape in 2010.
This list wouldn’t have been possible without the direct help of Jeffrey Pilcher of The Financial Brand (@thefinancialbrand) as well as the other 143 and growing associates, colleagues, banks, credit unions, consultants, marketing professionals, etc. that we follow on Twitter. Join us on Twitter or LinkedIn. We’ll see you in 2010!