Video Marketing in Banking: Lights, Camera… Corporate Selfie

Consumers want honest, humanizing content from their financial institutions. Video marketing offers a way to connect with customers and members that provides them with access to the people and personalities that drive a corporate identity. A marketer would be remiss to overlook this increasingly popular tool.

Video marketing has become the de facto tool for promoting corporate images. This reflects a larger marketing phenomenon that has made video the up and coming tool of choice for marketers in our social media driven, always connected society.

The increasingly important role of video originates, in part, with the human’s reliance on sight and the manner in which the human body is optimized to processed visual information. The human eye shifts focus three times every second and process images in approximately 13 milliseconds. Our brains give preference to visual information – 83% of the information the brain gathers comes via the optic nerves. Still, even with our dominant reliance on visuals, and the ongoing rise of video as a marketing tool, many financial institutions question if they could (or should) use it.

Corporate Selfie

Think of video as a financial institution’s equivalent to a selfie. Video offers a way to connect with customers and members, providing access to the people and personalities behind a corporate identity. Video also allows institutions to uncover the human element in their operations and, in the name of authenticity, lets the target audience see individual’s unique thoughts, passions and even flaws. This differentiation is exactly what community and multi-billion institutions have been challenged to articulate clearly since the financial crisis impacted trust and the customer experience went digital.

There’s no doubt about the size of the appetite consumers have for video: YouTube reports billions of hits per day, covering hundreds of millions hours of videos. Sites such as Vimeo and Vine offer thriving corporate branding campaigns. It is the newest way to break through the clutter and establish the voice that best suits the brand being promoted.

Lessons From Other Industries

We can learn a lot about using video for education and sales from the retail industry. There is a reason the Super Bowl LI commercial placements cost north of $5 million. Visuals sell because sight is the primary sense through which humans understand the world.

Many of the Super Bowl LI ads did not overtly promote the companies who paid millions to produce and place them. For example, the 84 Lumber commercial which Fox only ran a portion of during the game, later crashed the company’s servers as millions logged on to see it. Dove’s real beauty sketches and Budweiser’s Puppy Love each drove 50 million YouTube views.

The Power of the Small Screen

Hubspot reports that adding video to a landing page can increase conversion rates by 80%. And, a video in an email leads to a 200-300% increase in click-through rates. The report goes on to share that video ads can increase brand association by 139% – this sounds like every bank marketer’s dream. Financial institutions targeting millennials can certainly benefit from videos, but the trend has spread through all generations. Almost one-third of the people online use YouTube.

For a video to be effective, it must be funny, entertaining and/or inspirational. Simply pushing products or having a voice over expound on the virtues of an organization won’t cut it. Consumers want honest, humanizing content. While banks and credit unions have yet to perfect this, there are some very good examples of honest, humanizing and fun online video content coming from financial institutions.

This is a video that represents a group rather than a single institution. Using a very minimalist approach (two actors and a white backdrop) it humanizes the organizational values credit unions typically stress when marketing against banks. With more than 125,000 views, it appears to be a success.

National Australia Bank’s campaign of praising honesty went viral when the bank posted ‘Candid Camera’ style footage featuring people who found a pair of sunglasses in a shopping mall. Those who returned the sunglasses were rewarded with a giant screen featuring their pictures and thanking them for their honesty. NAB was successful in conveying the message of honesty in a funny way, associating the attribute with its brand.

Banks and credit unions should also consider online videos as a great medium to rerun popular TV spots or test media concepts before investing in more expensive TV media. Additionally, if a company has an entertaining story or a creative way of telling it, attention can be captured for longer than a traditional television advertisement might run.

Common Wealth Credit Union in Alberta, Canada provides a great example of this approach. It enrolled a young spokesperson to engage the 17-25 year old demographic and produced a simple, low cost and highly effective mini-series highlighting the differences between credit unions and banks. The three part series, which was approximately five minutes long and watched by more than 230,000 people, has become an advertising cult classic, and often referenced as an example of how to reach millennials.

The selfie has become a cultural obsession, and there’s no reason financial institutions cannot benefit from having their own version. Online video is a cost effective way to communicate with multiple audiences and serves to represent the unique identity of who a financial institution really is.

The medium can be integral in the sales process as well as for consumer literacy and education. Just keep in mind, successful videos are funny, entertaining or inspirational and remember whatever the tone, stay true to the brand attributes that set your institution apart.

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