Consumer Usage of Personal Checks
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report
CEO

Consumer Usage of Personal Checks

While popular opinion would indicate that the paper check is dying a slow death, consumer behavior seems to dictate otherwise.

Paul Holmes

While popular opinion would indicate that the paper check is dying a slow death, consumer behavior seems to dictate otherwise. In an era where electronic payments and debit cards are ever-present, Americans continue to love their checks.
 
OBJECTIVE
 
Following a year-long quiet period during its spin-off of eFunds Corporation, Deluxe Corporation needed to re-spark public interest in its product. It needed to show investors, employees and customers that the check still holds the top slot when compared to other types of payment methods available. As The World’s Largest Check PrinterÒ, Deluxe needed to illustrate that consumers continue to use checks for holiday purchases and gift giving. We felt the best way to begin the process would be to craft a simple, focused pitch during the busiest shopping time of the year.
 
In addition, this type of lifestyle story can prove to be extremely valuable for a company with a long-standing history. It achieves the objective of being interesting while also illustrating that Deluxe Corporation will continue to be a viable company in the new century.
 
RESEARCH
 
Weber Shandwick Worldwide partnered with SWR Worldwide, an in-house research firm, to conduct a nationwide poll of adults to determine usage of personal checks during the holiday season. The survey asked four multiple-choice questions that measured: the number of checks consumers planned to use for holiday purchases; where individuals planned to write checks; type of payment method (check, debit card, credit card, or cash) used for various price ranges; and why they use checks for holiday purchases.
 
The survey was conducted Dec. 4, 2000 by SWR. A total of 1,006 adults in the United States who are 18 years of age and older were interviewed by telephone.
 
PLANNING – STRATEGY AND EXECUTION
 
To publicize the fact that the personal check is alive and well, Weber Shandwick released the poll findings via a press release and graphic. The information was distributed to media via PR Newswire and emailed to targeted publications and outlets.
 
The results were released December 18 – the busiest shopping week of the year prior to the Christmas holiday.
 
EVALUATION OF RESULTS
 
Print media and radio coverage were secured in the Twin Cities metro area. Most notably, a piece was printed on the front page of the business section of the St. Paul Pioneer Press, the second largest daily in the area.
 
Demonstrate excellence in branding/reputation management by showing how the PR program advanced the client’s business objectives.
 
Strategic Thinking – Why did you do what you did?
  • Decided to work on this project to dispel the myth that the personal check is alive and well – in this age of ecommerce and online shopping, consumers continue to use checks for purchases; specifically at holiday time
  • Following a year-long company-initiated quite period, this is was to be the initial project to re-introduce Deluxe as a viable company in the new century – long-standing history, prints one of every two checks, etc.
  • simple, focused pitch for the holiday season
 
Creativity – How was it new, different, exciting?
  • Conducted a national poll

       Fun, light lifestyle stories that mention Deluxe can be as valuable as serious business stories about the company

  • Deluxe’s target audience is the consumer. Consumers read lifestyle stories
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