Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Question to Bankers: What’s Up with Your PR?

I recently read an interesting article in Advertising Age about the marketing challenges facing financial services industry in the post-TARP world and how banks are responding.

Some customers are asking whether Citibank is a safe place for their savings,” writes reporter Beth Snyder Bulik. “So what is Citibank doing? Running ads in the Wall Street Journal about its microfinance capabilities in Texas and India.”

It’s just one example of the tone-deaf marketing messages coming from some banks that don’t answer worried customers’ real concerns … Is my money safe? Can I trust you? Will you be here tomorrow?

According to Ad Age, the top 10 banks and credit-card companies cut their ad budgets by a more than 25% in the fourth quarter of 2008 and nearly 40% December compared with those same periods in 2007. This represents a tremendous opportunity for banks and other financial services institutions to step into the void and claim it for their brand.

As our CEO, Ken Makovsky, wrote recently, public relations “is significantly less expensive than advertising and much more credible. We’re talking about a modest investment in time and money that delivers a major return on investment.”

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