BECU’s ugly room photo contest on Pinterest was part of a much bigger, broader three-month push by BECU promoting home equity loans and lines. Dubbed “Project Home,” BECU has offered rate specials, offered advice and articles on home renovations, attended the big local home/garden show, and conducted a series of home-themed challenges.
While Pinterest presents major challenges to financial marketers, BECU’s decision to utilize the photo-sharing social channel for its Project Home promotion makes sense. There are very few, very specific instances where Pinterest will fit neatly into the financial marketer’s toolbox, and a home equity promotion is one of them.
“We saw amazing results with engagement,” said Todd Pietzsch, Manager of Public Relations at BECU. “Over 7,500 clicks to the page, over 100 entries into the contest, and our Pinterest follower numbers increased 183%.”
“The objective of the contest was to reach members who may have a need for a home improvement project if not today than in the future making BECU top of mind,” explained Pietzsch in an interview with The Financial Brand.
What about ROI? How is BECU tracking results?
“We are tracking the members who clicked on the page to see how many end up getting a BECU loan,” Pietzsch added.
BECU currently has 551 followers on Pinterest, 457 of those through the Project Home promotion. They have a total of 32 “boards” on Pinterest, with 420 “pins” (photos),10 ‘Likes’ and they follow 163 people back. This makes BECU among the most active and most followed credit union in the banking industry.
BECU has created Pinterest boards for its CEO, its latest advertising campaign, financial education, things to save for, photos of Washington state (where they are based), and the Seattle Seahawks, among others.
A First For Financial Marketers on Pinterst
The “ugly room” photo contest idea is not new to the financial industry, nor the idea to integrate social channels in a home equity promotion. UMB ran its “My Ugly Room” home equity competition using social media components in 2006 — seven years ago, back when the term “social media” didn’t even really exist (it was called “Web 2.0”). While this might not be the first time a financial institution has ran an “ugly room” competition, it is the first time anyone has used Pinterest.
Home equity lending is one of those rare financial products that intersects with the Pinterest audience. Pinterest users are predominantly women, and home remodeling/interior decorating is one of their favorite subjects to “pin” (along with fashion, hairstyles, wedding themes and recipes). Home remodeling lends itself to Pinterest’s emphasis on images — photos of ugly rooms, desired fixtures and appliances, finished remodels. And for most Americans, they need to borrow money for their renovation projects. The milieu is unique.
Key Question: How would Pinterest’s mostly-female user base react to a similar promotion geared around auto loans (similar to what Carolina Postal Credit Union did back in 2007 with its “I Love MY Hoopty” campaign)?
The Winning Rooms Are Truly Hideous!
Here are some of the winners, selected by BECU’s judging panel. You can click through and look at the Pinterest boards these winners created for their unflattering rooms by clicking the link underneath each pair of photos in the caption.