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Are Online Videos the Equivalent of a Corporate Selfie?

By Lawrence Pruss

Whether financial institutions can make use of online videos, and whether they should do so, are two very different questions.

We will address the “should,” at the end of this article, but certainly, online videos can serve as the business equivalent of a selfie. They are a way of connecting with customers and illustrating what an FI is: a group of humans with their own thoughts, passions and flaws.
When it comes to engaging audiences, retailers already know nothing beats a video. With its strong visuals combined with audio, it quickly grabs a person’s attention. They can also be extremely humanizing.
According to, YouTube gets 3 billion hits per day and over 48 hours of video are uploaded every second. Additionally, good branding campaigns are available on other popular sites like Vimeo and Vine.
Using online videos to educate and sell is one of the top tactics Forrester Research recently highlighted FIs could learn from their retail peers.
According to Forrester, as far back as 2011, nearly a third of 10 retailers surveyed found videos to be an effective marketing tactic on their websites.
Great retail examples exist from Dove (Real Beauty Sketches) and Budweiser (Puppy Love),, each driving over 50 million YouTube views and evoking human emotion.
According to Forrester, web visits where the prospect views a video yield conversion rates at more than twice the rate of visits where no video was viewed.
And, if your potential consumers/members are Millennials, then that’s all the more reason to get into video advertising. In a post by, 18- to 34-year-olds said they found online ads the most influential.
Though for some time people have been using the Internet and YouTube to make fun of financial institutions (Google “Damn It Feels Good to be Banker”). FIs have only recently caught on to the value of online videos.
For a video to be effective, it must be funny, entertaining and/or inspirational. Simply pushing products won’t cut it. Customers, especially Millennials, want honest, humanizing content.
While not common, there exist some very good examples of honest, humanizing and fun online video content coming from financial institutions:
Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) last year produced a number of movie-like trailers promoting its mortgage products and driving more than 1 million views.
TD Bank had one of its videos go viral, producing over 22 million views and highlighting TD thanking various customers.
DNB in Norway recently recruited Norway’s most famous choir, the Norwegian Broadcasting Boys Choir, to sing all of the messages for its automated, touch-tone telebank. For the entire Christmas season, every word on DNB’s phone banking system was sung by the choir. During December, the telebank was called more than 2 million times. For contrast, the entire population of Norway is only 4.9 million people.

American FIs, like Bank of America, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo, have also been developing clever videos focusing on financial education, community involvement, environment, business and providing advice.
Online video can be a great place to rerun popular TV spots or test media concepts before investing in more expensive TV media. Additionally, if a company has an entertaining story or a creative way of telling it; attention can be captured for longer than a traditional television advertisement might run.
So, to answer our original question: “Should” online videos be your institution’s version of a selfie?
Based on our research, yes!
Online videos are a cost effective way to communicate with your existing customers, members, and/or prospects. They should serve as “selfies” to represent who your company really is: human.
Just keep in mind; those online videos need to be funny, entertaining or inspirational. ■

Lawrence Pruss  is senior vice president for Strategic Resource Management Inc. He may be reached at (800) 748-2577 or For more information, visit

Posted on Monday, September 14, 2015 (Archive on Sunday, December 13, 2015)
Posted by Scott  Contributed by Scott


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