Content strategist Jennie Kim lays out the three components of a winning content strategy and...
Reprogramming Financial Services Marketing
In the ever proliferating world of communication channels—the iPad being the latest entrant—it can be tempting to try and become an overnight ESPN. However, unlike their counterparts in, say, consumer goods, financial marketers must choose their formats carefully: Bud Lite or M&Ms can bounce around far more freely than banking or insurance products, especially when investment and livelihood decisions are concerned. So, while it’s true that “every channel plays a role,” as SmartMoney president-publisher Andrew Siebert says in Advertising Age’s special “Custom Guide 2010,” financial firms should allow business objectives to determine channel choices, and not the other way around.3
As network and cable executives design programming to hit the mark with a specific audience or demographic, meeting those business goals starts with creating a brand story engaging enough for customers to follow.
When Bank of America did not get the customer response it had hoped for from the online PDF versions of its annual report, it developed a content marketing strategy to completely re-invent the program. Replacing the PDFs with dynamic HTML and Flash presentations, Bank of America brought the print reports to life on a dedicated microsite with six engaging video segments that combined media assets including television spots, event B-roll and photography. For added context and impact, each segment expanded on a story or theme from the annual report; to maintain brand consistency and familiarity, the videos were voiced by the same talent as the bank’s television spots.4
According to Bank of America, the results were dynamic: “Internal audiences hailed the interactive Annual Report as a breakthrough. A user survey found that 90% ranked their site experience as excellent or good, and 88% found the information they sought online. A majority preferred the online version to the print one.”5
By thinking like music content pioneer MTV, European retail and commercial bank Dexia produced an exciting vision of new possibilities for financial marketers. In 2009, the bank, which mainly serves customers in France, Belgium and the Netherlands, created a separate banking entity, Axion, to exclusively serve customers from the ages of 12 to 25. Then, to promote its new sub-brand, Dexia streamed live rock concerts within the frames of banner ads on popular Gen-Y websites as part of a comprehensive media plan that included websites, fan blogs and social network pages.6