I’m here in NYC, one of the financial nerve centers in the world, attending Forrester’s Finance Forum. With loyalty to brands decreasing over time, companies need to figure out how to reach customers where they are, where many, are discussing their financial past, present and future online.
During today’s panel and speaker discussions, I heard a lot of trepidation, fear, and uncertainty from many of the brands. Most are answering the first two of the five questions (“what” and “why”) I use to gauge company sophistication. Some mentioned they want to toe-dip and get out if it didn’t work well, others mentioned they were monitoring, and some feel threatened by the peer to peer models that cut out the middle man.
The finance industry has a unique challenge, hindered by government regulations and often a conservative culture, they have a real challenge embracing the online conversation that’s already happening between customers.
Criteria: Although there are many finance startups and consumer review sites, this list is really about the financial institutions, large brands, and banks that are adopting social media to reach customers.
The first and greatest case study to date is of what Wells Fargo has done with their multiple blogs, starting with the Guided by History blog, Later, they launched the Student LoanDown blog, and a virtual world called Stagesoach Island Community that lets members learn and experience financial management.
This company has done quite a bit with blogs, virtual worlds, Facebook campaigns, and social media programs and campaigns. During tax time, there was a significant upswing of activity from Facebook applications, and they engaged in online dialog in Twitter by first monitoring keywords and directly responding to members.
Online communities are nothing new to Intuit, this customer-focused brand let’s customers self-support each other, as well as communicate to them using blogs. Quickbooks (financial software) has extensive growth for SMBs who want to connect to each other.
This credit card company used Facebook to find out about what customers desired, laying the foundation for delivering a customer-focused product
Ernst & Young
This large accounting services and consulting firm is anxious to reach new hires fresh out of college, by creating a sponsored Facebook group, they have online dialogs with graduating students starting the interview process online. Smart way for each party to learn for each other.
Royal Bank of Canada
Launched this ongoing blog called the Innovator Blog, which goes back to October 2006. Link via Trevor Cook. Also, they’ve a Facebook page, (link from iljazz)
Trevor Cook has more details, listing that ING has an Asia / Pacific blog, My Cup of Cha, a microfinance blog, and a Chinese blog. They’ve also created a microsite called I need to go, that has a spreadable widget.
Using map mashups and podcasts, Fidelity is reaching to it’s customers using new channels. (from Benjamin Ensor, Forrester)
Springboardforum – From Genworth – you need to get an account to see it (free) “Genworth has partnered with Dow Jones, Time Inc., Bloomberg and Source Media to provide you with tools & resources that may support your business”(tip from Jay Bryant)
This online community from HSBC Business Network is for SMB and entrepreneurs (tip from Jay Bryant)
Online community for Alberta’s Generation Y provides a lifestyle platform for youth to self express and support called Young & Free.
This lifestyle portal provides helpful content for Discover customers, called Discover Edge, it delivers expert best practices for money management. It’s difficult to see if this has social features.
This website called OpenForum provides a dialog for customers, Chris Brogan has the details.
This social network for small businesses, called Slingshot, allows people to connect to each other, promote their services, in this ‘yellow pages’ type of marketplace.
Canada’s Largest Credit Union, Vancity, launches blog
This blog, called Change Everything, is intended to spread feel good messages and videos to attract Vancity’s community, and interesting project.
MyVault by Scotia Bank
This ‘dashboard’ style interactive application allows members to manage their money, gather feeds, and communicate with community members via forums, called MyVault.
IT Counts by the Institute of Chartered Accountants
This community site ION, yields blogs by thought leaders on the topic of technology, sponsored by Microsoft.
Young & Free Alberta (Groundswell Award Winner, 2008)
The program launched in October 2007 with a two-month search and competition to find a dedicated Young & Free Alberta Spokesperson. The winner, Larissa Walkiw, became a paid employee of the credit union, working full time with the job description: talk, type and tell good stories. For her nine-month term, Larissa was essentially a full time blogger for the credit union. Learn about the award.
Charles Schwab (Groundswell Award Winner, 2007)
“In January 2007, Charles Schwab worked with Communispace to launch their “Money and More” private online community made up of 350 25-to-40 year old Generation X non-Schwab clients. Based on insights from the community, Schwab lowered account minimums to $1,000, introduced Schwab’s high-yield Investor checking account with a high yield, and developing an online landing page specifically for the Gen X target. Schwab has added 32% more Gen Xers YTD when compared to similar timeframes last year.” —see the award page
Who else? Leave a comment, of if you’re shy, send me an email. I’ll keep this updated until I can’t scale further