I went a bit crackers last month with marketing people whingeing about ‘regulations’ and ‘unprovable R.O.I.’. Do you blame me? Those are among the dreariest excuses for not engaging and building your brand using modern digital communications.
I’m okay now (*breathes*). In fact I’m so much more than okay because I’ve been looking at some intriguing case studies in financial services. The internet is full of them and they’re right up there with re-runs of TOWIE for ideal iPad-based entertainment on the commute.
At MRM, we have five rules to get your brand building right on social and digital and most of the activity I’ve been looking at fits these rules well. So without further ado…
Rule #1: use themes in your digital comms that are already strongly associated with your brand and working well
- Nucleus, the adviser wrap platform, built the Star Wars-themed game, Wrap Wars. It encouraged advisers to “Join The Rebellion”, demonstrating the collaborative nature of the platform and the disruptive space it occupies in the universe…of, erm, financial services. There was a “Which Star Wars Character Are You?” game on the website and lots of chances to win Star Wars lego. Importantly, there was no sales patter about the platform (so little to worry about regarding compliance. Yet, it converted 4,000 leads into 200+ prospects, which – in turn – led to 20 sales meetings booked with target IFA firms – all for just over 5k.
- Or how about Allianz Global Investors, whose tech-savvy boffins built two risk-themed games to promote their position as leaders in understanding and managing risk? One was called The Risk Factor which was a light-hearted game promoted on Twitter to rank the risks associated with a number of light-hearted senarios. The second – called the Market Master – was a model portfolio game where advisers could manage an investment portfolio through a series of events. The latter led to 10,555 Twitter engagements and 5,220 visits to their SmartRisk website, which aims to promote their risk-rated funds. They also had a 40% increase in follower numbers, largely – one would suspect – from IFAs.
Rule #2: talk about what interests your clients beyond financial products and services
- During the RHS Chelsea Flower Show, Brewin Dolphin researched 100 office workers in London who were both active on social media and self-declared gardening enthusiasts and sent them Brewin branded desktop gardens (like this and this) and encouraged them to share photos on social media.
- Another business that understands the cross-over between their clients and the UK’s gardening enthusiasts is M&G, which has used the Chelsea Flower Show several years in a row to launch its Little Garden Awards. The company has its own Facebook page dedicated to gardening.
Rule #3: social media is for listening as well as talking
- Schroders built a chat forum called Pulse with the express purpose of researching the views of target clients in a much deeper way than any survey could manage. It facilitated conversations with and between 40 consumers over 10 days and participants were recruited on the proviso that they were available to visit the forum and respond to pre-determined tasks and questions on a daily basis. By engaging with their audience in a real-time environment, Schroders said it gained “unparalleled insight into their decision-making, their perceptions of the company’s brand and the investment journey as a whole.” Managers added that the exercise was more enjoyable and valuable than “a box ticking exercise” for all involved.
- A cheeky aside: ask me how I can help you research the social media environment around your business.
Rule #4: understand the medium
- Hats off to Schroders again, who recognised over a year ago that their videos were being watched on the go more than at desks. So they’ve started a series called 60 second videos (recent example here). In this series, key spokespeople speak for a minute on a subject of relevance to their market, like Scottish independence, or self-driving cars. The style of these interviews not only conveys a sense of immediacy but understands the way people consume modern media in short spurts.
Rule #5: work out how the whole thing will be governed internally
- Many companies automatically assign social media to the marketing department. We believe that, since it has applications in customer services, PR, investor relations, HR and more, a wider approach is needed. This could mean having a head of digital who manages the functions in each of these departments, potentially with staff. Or you could go further, forming a social media committee, which is what Santander and several other firms have done. Whatever you do, it needs thought beyond single departments.
It might be too early for you to contemplate any of this stuff. So, next week, I’m going to be taking you through what you could do (almost) immediately to massively improve your company’s social media communications.
(Full disclosure: Brewin and Nucleus are clients of MRM.)