ABA Banking Journal - September/October 2016 - (Page 45)
Approach to Brand Advocacy
BY CHARLOTTE BIRCH
aving happy, engaged
employees is no longer
just good for business-
it is becoming a
According to the 2016 Edelman Trust
Barometer, social media is now the
second biggest source of news and
information (search engines rank first),
and a majority of the population trusts
a company's employees more than
its leaders as spokespeople for the
brand. Another recent survey found
that 50 percent of employees today
post messages, pictures or videos
about their employer on social media.
Taken together, these findings make
two things clear: Banks should have a
plan for turning their employees into
engaged advocates, and that plan
must include a social media strategy.
Avidia Bank did just that last year
when it created its "Avidia Smarties"
brand ambassadors program. The
$1.2 billion mutual based in Hudson,
Mass., knew it wanted to expand
its social media presence and also
involve its employees in building brand
awareness. The solution was found in
To learn more about the "Avidia Smarties"
program, attend Katelin Cwieka's
session at the ABA Bank Marketing
Conference, Sept. 25-27 in Nashville.
a core group of tech-savvy, "social"
employees who feel a great sense
of pride in their bank, says Katelin
Cwieka, marketing specialist at Avidia.
individual you know, and you see them
testing something out and get almost
an exclusive first look at it, then you
are likely to be more interested in it."
Avidia's elite team-now 10 employees
and growing-started by attending,
and tweeting/posting from local
events, holding Instagram contests
and drawing attention by wearing
bright orange "Avidia Smarties"
t-shirts. Today they do that and
more-including product promos and
"Smartie Swarms," a version of a flash
mob where they descend en masse on
a local business to bring it attention.
Avidia ensures compliance and quality
control by first requiring that Smarties
demonstrate their social media aptitude
when they apply for the program. Once
on board, all Smarties must attend
a series of training sessions by both
the bank and Hootsuite University,
watch a 10-minute video every month
and attend a once-a-year refresher
training session hosted by the bank.
In addition, the group meets monthly
to plan its outreach and strategy and
review analytics on their activity.
The group is particularly proud of the
assist they gave-just one month after
forming-to the launch of "Cardless
Cash," a new feature of the bank's
mobile app that lets customers
withdraw cash at an ATM using their
smartphone. Smarties built up interest
pre-launch using a #CardlessCash
hashtag and offered live demos and
Q-and-A sessions on Periscope and
Twitter. Their reward: broad coverage,
increased customer engagement and
a stat showing a 13 percent lift in
mobile app downloads, 8 percent of
which was attributable to social media.
Cwieka contrasts Avidia's promotion
of Cardless Cash with another bank's,
which seemed to begin and end with a
press release. "If you hear a message
from a brand, you may not really pay
attention to it. But if you hear it from an
One year after its inception, the
program, which now has 6,000
followers, has yielded both expected
and unexpected benefits. As customer
questions have arisen on social media,
for example, the Smarties-who come
from all corners of the bank-have
collaborated and learned how to
streamline their customer service.
And local businesses are now calling
the bank to ask them to send their
Smarties to grand openings and other
events for a publicity boost, Cweika
says. "We always joke that we're not at
Kardashian level yet but maybe we'll
reach that level of fame soon."
CHARLOTTE BIRCH is SVP for member
communications at ABA.
aba.com/BankingJournal | ABA BANKING JOURNAL
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ABA Banking Journal - September/October 2016
CECL FROM THE INSIDE: A CONVERSATION WITH FASB’S RUSSELL GOLDEN
WHERE ‘HABITS OF ECONOMY’ WERE SHAPED
CARD-LINKED REWARDS GIVE BANKS A COMPETITIVE EDGE
ABA COMPLIANCE CENTER INBOX
FROM THE STATES
CORPORATE SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
INDEX OF ADVERTISERS
ABA Banking Journal - September/October 2016
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