The Human Touch: A Lesson From Banks on How to Make Your Brand More Personable

Published by Engagement Labs on November 12, 2015

Feeling like a number is the worst. One of the most frustrating customer experiences is receiving the same generic support that was provided to customer one through one thousand. No one wants to feel as though their business isn’t truly valued, yet somehow many leave brand interactions feeling this way.

So, as a brand, how do you prevent this? You gain the trust of your consumers and one major way to do so is by humanizing your brand.

First thing’s first, consumers dislike the following:

  • Typical branding
  • Automated messages
  • Lack of personalization

These are all big no-no’s when it comes to gaining your audience’s trust as they’ll feel like they’re dealing with a robot rather than an actual human. This is where social media channels come into play, to provide brands with the opportunity to personify themselves.

Last week Engagement Labs released our top rankings of retail banks in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, and one common theme we noted was that the top-ranking banks focused on being human. This week we take a deeper look into these top retail banks, to share with you the best tactics used to be personable online:

1. Friendly Encouragement

Think of your relationship with your followers as a real one. The best types of relationships are when both parties support one another and work together to achieve their goals. As a brand, you want to support your follower in every way possible so that they feel safe in your hands.

Finances are overwhelming and can become a personal topic for many, something banks have picked up on over the years. Banks want you to continue to trust them with your personal finances, so this is why many of them are turning online to provide the encouragement you need to handle your finances responsibly.

Looking at SunTrust Banks, who placed first on Facebook for top U.S. retail banks, the brand consistently provides encouragement using their #MondayMotivation campaign. Posting visual examples of consumers in regular day-to-day scenarios or working towards their financial goals paired with the accompanying hashtag, followers develop a sense of support from the bank on a weekly basis to achieve their financial goals.

Another form of encouragement by SunTrust is their use of user-generated content, specifically financial success stories straight from their followers. Getting customers to create blog posts related to specific financial scenarios, the brand goes above and beyond by providing relatable stories that foster connections with their followers.

Focusing on encouraging their followers through their content, the bank sheds its corporate reputation and appears more as a support system you can trust and turn to for help.

2. A Helping Hand

Creating the in-person branch experience for your online social media following is key to humanizing your brand. Consumers are shifting more and more to social media to have their questions answered. Turning to social media and having an employee speak directly back establishes your followers’ trust in you.

TD Canada Trust is an excellent example of this concept as the brand excels at responding to clients directly. Not only do they address both positive and negative comments and inquiries, they ensure that each of their comments is signed-off with an administrator name.

Whether it’s Facebook or Twitter, the follower who’s being addressed knows who is responding. Not only does this provide a sense of accountability on the brand’s part, but it appears as a more genuine effort on behalf of the brand to be there for the customer. As a follower, we’re talking to a real person and not just being fed an automated response.

3. We’re One of You

Relatability is key if you’re looking to be human with your brand. Brands that stay top-of-mind for followers are those who post content that resonates with them; followers want to feel like they’re interacting with someone that understands them. Sharing common interests with your following takes away the idea that a follower is dealing with a business, but rather a team of individuals.

Banamex, the top Mexican retail bank on Facebook, is an example of a bank who humanized their brand by attaching themselves to local areas of interest. Posting content on Facebook related to the national football team (a huge common interest in the nation) personified the brand by positioning them as another Facebook friend who’s supporting their favorite team.

On top of that, Banamex also teamed up with a local theatre to provide opportunities for local talent to participate in their stage productions. The inclusion of local arts in their online marketing efforts, as well as the opportunity to participate in the production, showcases the brand’s ties to local culture and its involvement in the community.

The Finishing Human Touches

Many retail banks may have focused on humanizing their brands due to their association with corporate culture, but all brands should start to hone in on this idea. If you want your followers to trust you, show them they’re not receiving the same spiel that every other follower receives. Leverage your channels to be authentic and you’ll see followers connect with you more and more. At the end of the day, just be human.

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About eValue™:

The eValue™ score measures the effectiveness of a brand’s overall social media performance on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram and provides a score from 0 – 100. It’s the aggregate of the three subscores including Engagement, Impact, and Responsiveness that work together to create one top-level KPI. Our subscores are calculated by using hundreds of submetrics which are then benchmarked against a hand-picked database of 100,000 verified brand accounts on each channel.

Engagement: Measures the level of interaction generated by your content and how well your community reacts to it.

Impact: Measures how many unique users have potentially been exposed to a piece of content posted by the channel’s admin through organic, viral and paid reach.

Responsiveness: Measures the rate, speed and quality of your responses to fans.