The Only Bank Consumers Will Ever Love
Charting the future of public relations
Holmes Report
CEO

The Only Bank Consumers Will Ever Love

Just one year ago, everbank.com – an unknown, upstart, and late entrant into the online banking marketplace – set out to launch its brand, products and services.

Paul Holmes

 

Just one year ago, everbank.com – an unknown, upstart, and late entrant into the online banking marketplace – set out to launch its brand, products and services.  With a primary, and heartfelt, message that everbank was on a mission to dramatically change for the better the way America banks, the company undertook an integrated, multi-faceted and "soup-to-nuts" marketing campaign demonstrating the tangible proof points behind the promise.  In doing so, everbank not only earned accolades from consumers, media, strategic partners and influencers, but dramatically exceeded customer acquisition goals by achieving $200MM in customer deposits by year's end – an almost unrivaled industry achievement.

CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES 

  • Limited budget
  • Noise in the marketplace
  • Confusion/resistance among consumers to online banking
  • everbank’s late entry into the market and increasing competition
  • Consumer benefits are powerful, but few differentiating or inherent consumer news angles    
  • everbank is a banking, not a technology story; banking is a low interest media category
  • No consumer ad campaign to leverage
  • Media’s healthy skepticism, “wait and see” attitude about Internet banking

RESEARCH

At the end of 1998 there were 6.6 million Internet banking households; by 2003 it is predicted to skyrocket to 32 million. Additionally, according to Online Banking Report, in April of 1995 there were only about 300,000 online banking users in the US; by 1999, users had grown 30-fold.  OBR further projected 25 million households will use online banking for bill payment by the end of 2001and 26 million will use online banking exclusively by the end of 2003.  Multiple industry sources report that while over 40% of the nation's banks have already adopted some form of direct banking, the main benefit promoted is convenience.  Finally, according to a 1999 study by Jupiter Communications, fully 38% of Internet equipped households are expected to use integrated financial services within 3 years.

PLANNING

Primary Audiences

  • Industry influencers – those who impact consumer perceptions  and decisions about online banking and financial services
  • everbank “friends and family” – existing and potential partners, affiliates, supporters, employees  
  • General consumers; targeted high net worth individuals

Objectives

  • Successfully introduce everbank – its brand, products and services to key audiences:
  • Create awareness of everbank
  • Position everbank as a key entrant in the online banking marketplace
  • Help stimulate trial and usage to meet customer acquisition goals ($150MM by year-end)
  • Define, differentiate and extend the unique brand position and personality of everbank

Strategies

  • Demonstrate the breakthrough approaches and industry leadership
  • Leverage/develop relationships with industry analysts to build endorsement and industry acceptance
  • Use media relations as a primary springboard to position everbank (given limited marketing dollars)
  • Leverage a major news announcement and “point in time” to launch the company and its offering
  • Attract third party media endorsement/credibility and build the everbank presence
  • Put a friendly, accessible and authentic face on everbank; overcome stereotypic “banker” perceptions
  • Compare and contrast the everbank offering with monolithic banking imagery and lack of service
  • Demonstrate momentum via announcements of strategic partnerships/service extensions
  • Post-launch, underscore the speed with which everbank achieves industry milestones and successes  

Strategic Message Summary  

  • everbank’s mission is to dramatically change for the better the way America banks
  • everbanking let’s customers save money, save time and cut bill paying to minutes a month
  • everbanking is easy and efficient – customer’s can bank online, by phone or mail
  • everbank has no bricks and mortar – savings are passed on to consumers
  • everbank offers customers a new value and consumer-driven choice in an online bank
  • With everbank, customers and their needs come first (e.g. 24/7, 365 Live Customer Care, 100% Satisfaction Guarantee, Yield Pledge, 100% Web Safe Guarantee)
  • everbank is a single place for all personal financial transactions and decisions

IMPLEMENTATION

Positioning and Message Mapping/Delivery: Developed comprehensive positioning and competitive analysis and accompanying matrix of customized corporate, financial and consumer messages; multiple innovative delivery systems for same (e-mail, direct mail, media outreach, analyst briefings and communiqués).  Coined tag:  everbank – the only bank consumers will ever love  

Media Relations Strategy/Approaches: Developed media relations strategy and lists  

Media Training:  Executed media training and strategic message delivery work session for President & CEO focused on managing the media’s impact on key stakeholder perceptions.

Core Materials: Researched and developed core materials consisting of media releases, backgrounders, a creative glossary of terms, fact sheets; also e-mail and direct mail pieces and introductory communiqués; created media and direct to consumer outreach lists; created mass postcard teaser for all audiences

Influencer Strategy, Materials and Outreach:  Researched and developed analyst and industry influentials target list (e.g. Jupiter Communications, Forrester Research, Bankrate Monitor, Online Banking Report, Gomez Advisors, etc.), detailed strategy for 1:1 briefings, customized laptop presentation and leave-behind materials

Launch: A focused and fully integrated communications effort: teaser mailer, news conference, radio media tour, 1:1 select media interviews, photo opportunity, national press kit drop, 1:1 customized media outreach, direct-to-customer acquisition outreach (e-mail and traditional)

Sustaining Outreach: Multifaceted outreach designed to maintain leadership and momentum:

Awards – developed matrix outlining award opportunities; created ongoing dialogue with traditional/online outlets and influencers to insure inclusion in ratings and award designations

Speaking Venues – identified speaking venues and high-visibility interview opportunities for CEO  (e.g. keynoter/speaker at The Money Show, 9th Financial Technology Expo, Tech Leader Summit)

Steady Stream of News  – developed media outreach schedule of news and feature releases (e.g. consumers and cyberbanking, online security, college finances for freshman)   

Momentum-Building Announcements/Mailings -- to demonstrate the rapid pace at which everbank was gaining acceptance, developed an ongoing series of announcements and direct mailings (e.g. $50MM/$100MM/$150MM in deposits; partnerships and service extensions (e-Business, everTrade Advisors Online Investment Services, World Currency Accounts, etc.)

Opportunistic Media Relations – capitalized on topics in the news (e.g. positioning everbank’s World Currency Accounts as investment opportunity in the context of U.S. dollar drop/Euro rebound resulting in coverage in newspapers across the country and major news weeklies such as TIME magazine, Newsweek, etc.)

MEASUREMENT & EVALUATION

More than 1,500 media placements; 82 million impressions in the US and abroad with 2 or more key messages delivered in more than 93% of the placements.

Awards/surveys outreach resulted in everbank's being named among: "Top 10 Online Banks in the Nation" by Gomez Advisors (and first new online bank to ever debut in the top ten); “Best of the Web 2000” by Online Banking Report, “Best of the Web” by Forbes Magazine and Time Digital.  These ratings are among the most coveted and most pivotal endorsements in the industry.

Stimulated trial and usage to achieve aggressive milestones: $50MM in customer deposits in just 4 months, $100MM in just 6 months and $250MM just one year after public launch

Numerous stories by syndicated financial writers including Robert G. Heady and Humberto Cruz, as well wire stories by writers from the Wall Street Journal and NY Newsday have resulted in stories in print outlets across the US and abroad.

High profile coverage in The Economist, Business Week, TIME magazine, The Industry Standard, Red Herring, The Wall Street Journal
Lifestyle-oriented profiles of the CEO in Money Magazine CNNfn's Digital Jam and multiple regional TV 

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