Q2 2013 blue trophy

The “Best Content” series brings you a handful of the most thought-provoking and informative articles, reports and webinars related to financial services branding and marketing published over the last quarter, broken down into bite-size pieces for your convenience.

How Customers Interact With Their Banks
Gallup recently came out with a research report examining which channels customers use and for what banking tasks, specifically how channel mix impacts the health of each customer’s relationship with their bank. Interestingly, the study also explored the consequences of channel mismatch – when the channels a customer prefers to use for a given transaction differs from the channels they actually use to complete their business with the bank. The key takeaway: when customers can’t use the channel they prefer, they are much less satisfied with their overall banking experience, and often less engaged. Read more about the report.

Financial Marketers React to Social Media Regulations
Earlier this year, The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) released proposed guidance on policies concerning social media usage by banks, savings associations and credit unions. Recently, the FFIEC asked financial marketers for feedback on the sweeping new social media regulations they proposed. Out of some 14,000± banks and credit unions in the U.S., they only heard from about 60 of them. The Financial Brand reviewed all the letters submitted to the FFIEC, and found the feedback falls into some common themes. Here’s what financial marketers had to say — raw, uncensored criticism. Read article.

An Innovative Example of Native Advertising for Financial Services Brands
Last month, GE Capital announced the launch of an innovative new advertising campaign with Slate.com, featuring a six-month roadshow across the US targeted at middle-market CEOs.  The campaign, which features daily blog posts, video and commentary from the roadshow on a special website that is being promoted on Slate.com, is an interesting example of the possibilities of native advertising for financial services brands. Native advertising is a digital ad method in which brands provide valuable content in the context of the user’s experience on a specific platform, the goal being to seamlessly blend in without disrupting the user experience and, therefore, increase the likelihood users will click on it. Think of it as a much more customized, less intrusive form of the advertorial. Ian Forrest, VP of Global Marketing at GE Capital, said the new roadshow is aimed to provide a “holistic, 360-degree view of the middle-market opportunity,” and also to “touch customers, prospective customers, employees and policy makers, to start a dialogue and discussion.” Read more about the campaign.

Sustainability In Financial Services Is Not About Being Green
In this post from the Harvard Business Review, HBS professors, Robert G. Eccles and George Serfeim, argue that rather than “focusing on energy and water in their sustainability reporting,” financial institutions should provide stakeholders with transparent information about their true source of sustainability: their social and governance performance, and how it relates to financial performance. What do Eccles and Serfeim classify as social and governance performance? In the post, they mention everything from talent recruitment, employee compensation, customer security and privacy and responsible products to management of the legal and regulatory environment, systemic risk management and managing conflicts. Wherever your company falls in this spectrum, Eccles and Serfeim make an interesting argument. Read post. 

50 Essential SEO Terms Financial Marketers Should Know
As customers conduct more and more of their research online during the buying process, it’s critical your products and services are being found where they are looking. Search engine optimization (SEO) – the art and science of being found online – plays a critical role in this. The Financial Brand recently came out with a helpful list of terms every financial marketer should know about SEO. From keyword density to title tag, this list provides you with the right vocabulary to get started. See list.