What if your members turned on the TV… and there you were? What if it wasn’t a commercial break, but they learn about your bank or credit union while consuming content they actually love?
Think this is an impossible dream for anyone that’s not a big brand with an even bigger budget?
Welcome to the new way of marketing – infiltrating the media, and even the entertainment industry for reaching your goals … and reaching consumers who are too jaded to even notice, or care about, your marketing messaging.
No one is interested in watching commercials. In fact, there’s a great spoof video at https://www.wearepiro.com/story-1 (view the second video on – the first is an example of how Chipotle infiltrated the media and got their message out through entertainment without advertising – more on that shortly).
So what’s a small brand with a small budget supposed to do to bypass the filters of today’s jaded consumers?
First, let’s acknowledge the problem. It’s not that your marketing isn’t good. It’s that we’ve made peace with the fact that it’s unrealistic to hope for anything more than a 2% response rate. Even from your own customers or members.
Here’s what you can do, though, even without much of a budget, if you’re ready to roll up your sleeves and work hard.
Ideas for Making it Happen:
- HARO. Are you familiar with HARO? An acronym for Help a Report Out, HARO was founded by Peter Shankman, who then sold the company to Vocus, Inc. The concept is a win-win all around. Reporters and journalists, even bloggers and other writers, often on deadlines, are looking for source information, and for experts they can quote. As an executive at a financial institution, YOU can be that expert.
Check it out at HelpaReporter.com, and sign up to get their daily emails featuring reporters who are looking for experts. Used by media giants, such as The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Reuters and more, this is a fabulous way to get started and it costs … nothing.
- Sponsorships, grants and corporate giving programs. This one isn’t free, but you’re probably already doing it … without maximizing the results. Any time your credit union or bank sponsors a community event or anything else, any time you provide a grant or are involved in a corporate giving program, there’s the opportunity to ask a simple question: What can we get in return?
Companies are happy to feature their sponsors in print, digital and audiovisual media. Come prepared with what you’d like, and be ready to write the article or produce the video yourself. All you’re asking for is airtime … and the implied third-party endorsement that comes with it.
- Do Your Homework. This is a time commitment, but once you establish relationships, it’ll serve you well. Take an hour or two during each of the next few days to research and reach out to bloggers or influencers who cover finance that your members are exposed to. Offer them unique story angles … all featuring your financial institution, of course, but be sure there’s so much value TO THEM that they just see the media exposure they’re giving you as a side thing.
You provide value by giving them ready-to-go articles (just make sure they’re not too promotional. Remember, these media outlets don’t exist to give you free coverage), ideas for articles, unique angles, photo opportunities and educationa l– preferably entertaining – videos.
- Scout Social Media. Get access to the press, or individual reports through Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. Get the scoop on their interests and what beats they cover. This way, when you reach out to them, you can make your pitch super personal.
- Create your own media. This is easier than you think. With your own blog, or a social media account people want to follow, the trick is including memes and videos that people love and want to share with others. Once you have a following, YOU become the authority.
- Start a podcast. It can include your own thoughts, those of your members/customers, staff at your FI, or even random interviews. Come up with a unique angle (interview kids about what they think a word like “investment portfolio” or “frozen assets” means) and put the time into making it happen.
- Write a book. Producing a book has never been easier. Today, you can record yourself talking (do a full brain dump on a topic that’s close to your heart), transcribe your words, and edit. Publishing is easy and inexpensive today, and it doesn’t need to be the length of a Harry Potter installment.
- Produce a movie or a TV series. OK, I saved the best for last. Producing a movie is not a quick and easy project, though I wish it was. Having said that, I can tell you that the time and effort invested may (or, to be fair, may not) pay off big time. Yes, it’s a risk. But if you have the energy to take it on, this may literally change the way people see the world. Movies are a powerful communication device.
Here’s two examples.
- Let’s go back to Chipotle. See the first video at https://www.wearepiro.com/story-1. This is a short series that brought to light the health issues we’d rather not think about.
- As an industry, credit unions may be America’s best-kept secret. One way to counteract that is with a movie featuring a credit union as the hero. Recently released as a family-friendly feature-length film, “Sally Floss, Digital Detective” can be viewed at Amazon Prime, Tubi, etc. Credit unions also use the movie to teach financial wellness at SallyFloss.com.
Chipotle did it. CUcontent did it. And while this is the most costly option of all, it can be very, very powerful. It also doesn’t need to be a full-length feature film.
What message do you want to get across to your members/customers? Consider a story, maybe a documentary, that can make it happen.
Stop marketing yourself. There are so many options for infiltrating the media if you focus on it and invest in what really works, rather than a “branding message” that today’s jaded consumers are happy to tune out.