In this episode with Shannon Paul, VP of Brand Content and Social Media at Fifth Third Bank, you’ll learn about…
“There’s definitely some additional considerations we have working in a regulated industry. We have to know where the guard rails are and sometimes the guard rails move.”READ FULL TRANSCRIPT
Shannon, I’m so excited to finally have you on the Brand Lab Series™. We had the opportunity to collaborate for a nano second a lifetime ago in a past life at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.
You had a really impressive career across digital and social including when social just kind of exploded in the mid-early 2000s. You worked with the Detroit Red Wings, Blue Cross Blue Shield like I just mentioned. You’re currently Vice President of Fifth Third Bank, so you have a great handle on social. And one of the questions that I always get asked a lot, so I’d love to ask you is, what kind of makes a good social media follow?
I think it varies, right? You’ve got to know your audience and who you’re trying to talk to and attract, and it’s so different doing this for the Red Wings, obviously, which is such a passion brand with lots of very excited fans, ready to just eat up anything that you publish versus certainly at Blue Cross or here at Fifth Third. People expect different things from us, and we’ve gotta also put that through the lens of the brand and how do we wanna show up as a brand, but also what do people really wanna hear from us. So it’s a few things. It’s knowing your audience, it’s knowing who you are as a brand, and then being willing to try things. Maybe you were kind of on the fence about it, but you can put out a few things. And if they work, then you can kind of iterate as you go. So, it’s complicated. That’s my answer Brian.
Yeah. Well, it’s so funny because I have a team of people around me and then, we have a number of customers where they have teams around their brands. And I think everyone assumes because we as consumers, if we just have our personal consumer hats on, we’re so all over our smartphones that I think people think “Oh, social media managing content. Managing that, it must be so easy”, and I don’t think they realize the nuances that go into it when you’re now talking about it too, a little bit of the business lines. And kinda like we talked earlier, I think what’s interesting is back to your days with the Red Wings and then even when we first met a while back, social media was still just starting to grow and it’s certainly spread like wildfire. I think about how fast Instagram and how Instagram has in many ways leaped over Facebook, which wasn’t even around back when you were doing social with the Red Wings. What advice would you give for brands to create good content? I know you spoke earlier about really understanding the audience, but where does the content come into play as well?
Things have changed so much even just since I’ve been at Fifth Third, which is now almost seven years. It started off as more of a communication channel and depending on your brand and the size of the company, and if you’re a restaurant in a city, how you use social media is very different. So I would say it’s kind of like in the early days of having a website, right? You used to have one person who would manage your website, your email server, your telecom system, your printers and fax machines and all that stuff. And of course, those grew into specialties. And so I think with social media, we’re seeing very much the same thing. It’s grown up, so how we use it as a brand at Fifth Third is very different than how a smaller company would use it, or even a sports team. And that wasn’t true when I first started. It was pretty much, if you followed those same kind of best practices, you showed up in the space, you were responsive, you talked about things that were kind of central to your brand. It was much more, I think, common sense whereas there’s just an explosion of different tools and tactics and different ad types and advertising in general, or being able to target content to a specific group of people that doesn’t necessarily show up on your page.
‘Cause right now, really, it’s like I view myself as more managing a paid media strategy than I do a communications strategy. Although communications and content absolutely feeds that, but it’s like understanding who we’re trying to reach creating content for more than just a brand audience or people who follow us, but people that we’re actively trying to engage with who may or may not follow us. That’s a huge shift. And I know… The content piece itself, it’s more of understanding some of those niches and what you want content to do. So, we’re really big on not creating content for the sake of content but making sure that the content drives a certain action, or creates more engagement and helps to facilitate the relationship building and move people to some sort of desired action. So I think that’s what good content does. It’s a win-win.
I think you’re spot on with that. And I think one of the other things that makes your job a little unique is as you are a Vice-President of Branded Content and Social at Fifth Third Bank, that is a financial services industry and with that comes a little bit more regulations than, say, again, going back to the Red Wings or a lot of different companies on social. So talk a little bit about how being in a financial services industry can impact social media or branded content strategy.
Something I’d like to remind myself and I remind our teams of and we talk about is like, everybody has rules. I mean, everybody. [chuckle] And whether that’s FTC, or if you’re publicly traded, there’s SEC, there’s always going to be some sort of rules around how you can interact with consumers. And so that’s my belief and in some ways, I really feel like it lends… Having some guard rails lends itself to a really fertile creative space. But at the same time, I think we operate very much like… We have to work a lot farther out. It’s very important that we plan. But even without the regulatory piece, I would still think that it’s important as a brand to plan, and especially because we have paid media teams, creative teams, content teams, reporting and analytics that all have to work together. There’s that African proverb “If you wanna go fast, go alone. If you wanna go far, go together”. And I think that in order to go far, it requires that you do a lot more up front planning in order to be able to kind of facilitate moving quickly when you need to. There’s definitely some additional considerations that we have working in a regulated industry.
We have to know where the guardrails are and sometimes, the guardrails move. We have to be somewhat fluid. I would oftentimes, back in years ago, we’d always just get asked, and I still get asked when I go to conferences and different events, from others that work in a regulated space. They’re like, “How do you even do this? How do you get permission to do it?” One of the things we work a lot with our teams in getting legal and compliance comfortable with maybe something that’s new or something that hasn’t been done before at the bank is… I usually tell people, “You need something that’s kinda half-baked to bring people along in that capacity.” People in legal and compliance roles are not really typically good creators. That’s not their role, but they’re great reactors. So you kind of have to give them something to react to. You have to say, “Here’s what we’re trying to do, here’s the goal of the campaign, here’s how we see that coming to life. What are your thoughts?” And then they can usually tell you they can react and kind of say, “Well, here’s something that’s concerning. Or if you do X, make sure you don’t do Y.”
Really just kind of getting that partnership at a place where it’s not too soon, where you’re not asking them to kind of react to some kind of pie in the sky or hypothetical situation, because I’ve found that people in those roles are wired to go to worst case scenario land very quickly. And so you don’t wanna do that, and you don’t wanna wait until you’re so far down the pipe that the cake is already baked, and you can’t really take out the eggs at that point. For example, if you’re tracking with all of my mixed metaphors I apologize, but it’s like getting something that’s kind of halfway there so that it’s not too late to kind of alter the recipe and get something that everybody is going to feel good about and easily get their approvals.
Personally I love the analogies because it’s something that everybody even myself who’s not the best baker can at least understand. And I actually think that’s super good advice because we have customers that are in a number of different industries including yours and including health care, which I know you also have experience in, and sometimes it can be hard when you think about those guard rails. And I loved your advise of kind of taking it in where it’s not right at the beginning, so it’s too conceptual but not so far along that you’re kind of stuck, or maybe you put a lot of effort into something that then you’re gonna have to dial back, and kinda balancing out the creator-reactor role. I think that’s super insightful because same time like you wanna do some things that create good content for your audience is, you wanna empower your team to try to take risks, not in the sense of the bad risk, but in the risk of trying to do some things differently. And I think if you go too far down the road, and they keep being told, ” No, no, no.” That can actually stymie creativity as well. So it sounds like you’ve figured out a good balance there.
Yeah, and I try to also keep in mind… I know a lot of times when you’re in the role of a marketer you feel… There’s a tendency to kinda feel handcuffed when you’re being told no all the time to your point, but it’s really important that… I have a ton of respect for people in those roles. I could not do their job. I’m glad they’re there to do their job, and we just have different roles, and sometimes there’s a little bit of natural tension that exists, just the nature of our roles, but I have a ton of respect for what they do, and at the end of the day, they want… We all work for the same company, they typically wanna see us do great work too. They want us to feel good about the creative we’re producing, and it’s just kind of understanding that it’s a bit of a dance and you wanna give them what they need to effectively do their job and get the kind of guard rails in places where you can kind of understand, “Okay, here’s how we’re gonna make this work for everyone.”
I just have a ton of respect for what our partners in those functions do, and I think if you can approach the conversation from there versus being cynical or, “They’re just gonna tell me no.” That goes a long way too. We’re all just trying to do good work at the end of the day.
For sure. And I think obviously going back to some of the things you’ve talked about just here in the last couple of minutes is understanding your audience, creating good content that’s gonna help serve your community. And I think one of the things that’s really interesting in doing a little bit of research on Fifth Third Bank, it’s been around for a hundred and sixty years, I knew it had been around a long time, but that’s very long. Very impressive, but I think a really great fact is it became the first financial institution in the US to establish a charitable foundation. And I know from some of the things you’ve been doing just here in Chicago, community involvement is really important to Fifth Third. So talk a little bit about why that means so much to your brand.
That is something that definitely runs deep inside this organization. I think there’s always just kind of been this recognition like, banks exist to make other people successful, other companies, other people, their communities. Having strong communities is a win-win when you’re a bank. It’s just part of who we are, that’s why we exist, we exist to help people who are our customers at both a consumer level a business level to be successful. And everybody who lives and works at this company also lives and works in the same communities. We’re all happier if our communities are doing well, if we’re supporting small business growth, if we are helping out people who are in need. There are thriving arts organizations, all of that just lends itself to being able to live a good life. I’ve always loved that about working here. It’s really encouraged that we all volunteer and do our part to support different community organizations. I certainly feel like it’s something that makes Fifth Third a really good place to work.
It’s definitely something where it’s tangible and you don’t just talk the talk, but you walk the walk. And I was just recently at an event here in Chicago with former Mayor Rahm Emmanuel, and he specifically cited Fifth Third among several companies that have just made a huge commitment to the local community here in Chicago. There’s a lot to be said for that long-standing tradition. So kudos to Fifth Third for that. And along the same lines of Chicago, I know we joked for a minute before we started recording, I’m officially now full disclaimer a Fifth Third customer for years. I had done a lot of business banking with MB Financial here in Chicago which you guys have just acquired, and the bank continues to grow beyond just that acquisition. But can you talk a little bit about in your role does… Some of the expansion, how does that impact your content social strategy whether it’s acquiring another bank, whether it’s expanding into new market places? I’m sure that presents some interesting opportunities and maybe some challenges.
Yeah, opinion of one here of course, obviously going through some sort of an acquisition or we’re merging is a huge undertaking in terms of just the sheer number of people and processes and systems, and everything involved. So of course… I feel like it almost touches a little bit of everybody’s day-to-day. There’s a couple of ways my team was impacted on the content side. Obviously MB was doing a great job of content marketing, and so it was really more just kind of bringing some of the work they were doing into the fold with our processes. So we’ve had really great partnerships over there and that part I feel like was easy. [chuckle]
Some of the other, just kind of blocking and tackling items that you may or may not think about in that situation was merging Facebook pages, how to transition Twitter handles over when you’ve acquired a company. And so, putting announcements on their pages, redirecting them to Fifth Third. We’ve certainly sent a lot of communication to customers, and hopefully they’ve all gotten the memo, but you never know if somebody’s gonna go out looking for the brand in social media going, “What happened?” So we’ve gotta think about transitioning all those pages over. My team also here manages community management, so all of the monitoring of the social accounts, all the inbound messages that we receive through Facebook Messenger, in social media. We had to be very prepared and it was something that actually went very smoothly on our end, but I think we were over prepared to be able to handle looking at some of the monitoring and making sure that if anything was coming through, we had a direct path to escalation to be able to get people into customer service channels.
So, it was one of those situations where all hands were on deck, certainly for the transition which is in many ways it’s still happening especially with a lot of the MB employees who are now Fifth Third employees. But it’s been a long time since this company has gone through an acquisition of that size. So, you know it was really all hands on deck and something I was kind of excited to work through because I was like, “Oh, I’ve never done this before.” And so how does that impact our team? And it’s always fun to kind of think through some new challenges.
Well, and as you joked about an opinion of one, I’ll give an opinion of one as a MB customer who’s going through that transition right now, and so far it has been smooth sailing. And it’s funny because I drive… I live in the West Loop neighborhood of the city, and all of a sudden like, “boom” overnight there’s Fifth Third signs up at the local branches. And it got me thinking of every single detail, and I can’t even fathom that’s involved. And even as someone who’s in marketing and has a team that runs social, it hadn’t even occurred to me like yeah, “How would you merge properties on… ” I have trouble if I get locked out of my Twitter account, like, “How do I reset this?” “Oh, that’s an old email that is on the contact form. How am I gonna reset this?” Yeah, I can’t imagine everything that would go into that in the era of digital, but it’s nice to see. And as you said, it was a bit of a challenge and a first time for you. But it’s something that I’m sure was probably a great opportunity to learn and collaborate together. So hats off to you guys for that.
Yeah, thank you. And thank you for saying that. I know there were so many people just working diligently and really dedicating a lot of their time to this project for a long time, and many still are. Like I said, there’s… There are people in our HR organization who are still working, building that connective tissue and trying to think about the impact of culture and all that good stuff, and it’s just a huge undertaking. It’s so good to hear that your experience as a customer was really smooth. Yeah. Thank you for that.
Yeah. Well, I know we talked a little bit about just all the… And you just mentioned the culture side too, but all the technology and all the digital and everything that kinda went into this transition, and it was all hands on deck. And I think it’s… In some ways it’s interesting too because here you have had this remarkable career over just the last decade alone that kinda coincides with this huge growth of social. And back to those early years, I’m sure social media was far different. Like today, it’s a 24-7 culture, which I think is good and bad. And I think sometimes it creates a lot of white noise, and I think it’s even a little bit worse when, whether it’s a business or it’s a personal, we’re in a really politically volatile time as well. I feel like there’s so much clutter and white noise on social media. So how are you guys able to break through in content that is both engaging in real time?
Yeah. There’s definitely a lot of noise. [chuckle] So some of that is just kind of understanding where opportunities are. We try to be as opportunistic as we can in terms of understanding where the algorithms have a preference in terms of ad formats. So, if we have to post a teaser to an article on our website, we’re thinking about all the learnings that we have in terms of what’s gonna be the most effective in driving the most traffic with this audience, or creating things that they’re going to actually be interested in and engaged with when they get on the site. Some of that is just keeping in close connection with our Facebook reps and Twitter reps and understanding where the algorithms are preferencing. For example, do we need incorporate movement into a post that is linking to an article? Is an instant experience going to be a better pull through?
So, it’s sometimes just our vertical… There’s a lot. You mentioned the adoption curve for Instagram earlier. Well, if you look at stories in particular, it’s like a hockey stick, so fast this happened. So, we try to keep on top of all the trends and just understanding what the platforms are gonna actually prefer in their algorithm. So I feel like it’s always a checklist of things that we have to work against, and we can’t just pat ourselves on the back when we’re really good at two or three of them. If it requires all eight steps in order for us to make great content, we do all eight. Just because there’s a change or something that’s happening, we have to adapt quickly to think about how to incorporate that into our… Like I mentioned earlier, our very lengthy planning process, because as much as real-time is important.
It’s not always important, so it’s more important that we plan and we get to the place where it’s like 96%, 98% of the stuff that we’re doing is in the plan and we can really be very thoughtful about all of the creative itself that’s in feed versus where we’re driving to and what we want that next action to be. It’s gonna be all of the above. So it’s the constant care and feeding, constant working with our creative teams to say, “Here’s the feedback that we got directly from Facebook or from Twitter, and how do we incorporate this or how do we make sure that we’re applying these best practices?” and we include those in our briefs, so when we’re actually developing the content, we make sure that we’re adhering to some of those best practices and getting the most recent feedback from the platforms or the performance into the brief. So it’s just a lot. It’s a beast that we have to keep on top of.
I appreciate your candor there, though because I think one of the underlying things throughout your answer is that it takes planning, it takes practice, it takes more planning, because I think real-time social is kind of like viral on video, right? I think everyone thinks that they’re going to create a video and it’s gonna go viral and that’s gonna take care of all their marketing.
Do they still think that? Have we not been telling them for a long time?
Yeah, well, it’s funny. You still see some… And ironically, they’re often promoted posts and social but how to create viral videos. And I can’t tell you how many times, over the years, we’ve had new business meetings with prospects where they’ll be like… Well, we really wanna bring you in for a video creative assignment we want you to create a video that’s gonna go viral and I’ll be like… I think if we’re trying to set it out that way, we’re more likely to fail, because there is no magic formula for what that’s gonna do. What’s more important is, do we understand our audience, are we prepared, are we being strategic, are we being consistent? And that over the long game, kinda like your African proverb of running is going to pay far more dividends than hoping that you’re just gonna time it right. It’s like trying to time the stock market, if that were easy to do there’d be a lot more wealth in the world than there is. So I just think it’s really important as you talked about, it’s about planning and planning and planning.
Yes, yeah, and not getting married to any specific execution, because… So there’s so much evolution, that happens in these platforms. You can’t get… Well, link ads were the best format for this type of objective last year or the year before, but maybe it’s not this year. And we have to constantly be willing to evolve how we’re doing things, but there’s definitely some things that you can do. I think what… Sometimes when people say they want something to go viral, what they’re really asking for is to get something that’s gonna generate some earned media and word of mouth and that’s a real objective. We can all work toward that and we understand what levers and to your point, a lot of times those “viral videos” have paid media behind them and you can see that and you know that as a marketer, but sometimes explaining that to someone who’s maybe less social media savvy or familiar with in-feed placements they might not really understand that. I don’t know that your average consumer often understands that there’s paid media behind a lot of the things that they see in their feed, and I think that the industry has a lot of work to do in terms of just transparency and making that more readily understandable to consumers. So it’s a beast, it’s constantly evolving, and you wanna make sure that the goals, objectives are aligned with something that’s based in reality. It’s always a good thing.
Right. Well, it is funny because everyone is walking around with a smartphone today. So by nature at some point, a vast percentage of those individuals have some form of social media on those phones. And I think, again, the end consumer, or the end individual or Brian, the person, not Brian, the business guy, those are sometimes two different animals. And I think sometimes people just assume that things are… I know a lot of people were asking questions. I was speaking at an AMA event about… This was just a couple of years back when people were talking about… Wait, what’s going on with some of this political talk about ads and targeting across Facebook and other mediums and I said, “What is it That you think that we do in marketing? We try to identify people that might want to consume and identify our content. We try to test messages, we try to see if those messages work if they do we continue to invest in them, we try to build audience we try to shape opinion, that’s what you do in marketing and sometimes people do put money behind it, but I think the best kind of media to your comment earlier, is that you can get earned.
I think the best marketing all these years later and you said it is the word of mouth, if you can get people saying how great your brand is, if I tell my peers and colleagues, how like thus far, knocking on the wood of my desk, the transition that there’s been great. And in fact, the technology seems like a good enhancement from what I was used to for MB. So that’s word of mouth marketing.
Yep. That’s always a great objective to have, especially I think at the brand level, I think there’s some differences. I feel like I’m very fortunate, I can really work on really fun and creative projects that do get people talking about our brand. And then there’s also a lot of just the blocking and tackling of Demand Generation, and paid search and some of those things where the objectives are more focused on acquisition in some ways, they’re more tangible. We rely on a lot of different metrics to look at things at a brand level, but it all matters and you can often look and see places where when the brand marketing is doing really well that improves the performance of the demand generation, the rising tide lifts all boats kind of scenario. I just love marketing Brian, I love this stuff. I feel like I can bore you all day with it.
No. In fact, I don’t always take notes during these, but I’ve been jotting down, what I think I love the most is one. You’ve had a couple of really big aha moments, and I think a couple of really key pieces of advice for audience, but I think the thing, I might like more is you’ve got some wickedly smart analogies that are still from you, the next time I’m in a meeting, so I can sound a little smarter.
Oh thank you, you’re very kind.
Well, just to kind of switch gears on a more serious topic, I know you talked a lot about how preparation is important with socials and marketing in general and we talked a little bit about real-time as well but unfortunately you were also in a unique position back in September of last year, where real-time tragedy struck Cincinnati and specifically fifth third. That’s something I don’t think anybody no matter how much you prepare could really understand. And handle, so how did you go about dealing with this tragedy across social media? Did you kinda shut everything down, like What happened there?
Yeah, for those of you who don’t know, there was an active shooter in the lobby of our building last September and there were three people who were killed and others who were injured severely and so it was pretty frightening. Myself I was down in the lobby, about 10 minutes before that started and it was a very tough thing to go through, that morning in particular everything happened so quickly, you gotta think from the time the person started shooting to the time that our first responders had him down, it was about five minutes and I’m up about 20 floors above. And so it was very confusing while it was happening. We saw were the streets were shut down around the building. I was learning what was happening really. I was looking at Twitter, just like everybody else was, because obviously, there were internal announcements on things that were happening, but I wanted to see what the news was saying, as everybody else did, initially, we shut down responding, we worked to get an official statement out as we were being evacuated, that was obviously a very scary time.
And it was very surreal. I don’t think it really hit me what happened, and how lucky we all were until the day after it hit me. It was a very emotional thing to go through. There was kind of a memorial service downtown here that I came and attended as did many other people who work here, in the community. I was really touched by all the people in the community who showed up for everybody who was here, but as a communicator, being responsible for the social media presence of the bank, I was actually very struck by how many people were posting very positive reaffirming things for us, people that were using our hashtags and say that their thoughts and prayers were with us that they were thinking about everybody who was here that day, and that was really touching what I think we did a great job. And this is not necessarily something specific that we did, because we didn’t really respond to a lot of the things that were specific to the shooting. When it was service-related we continued to help our customers and a lot of our customers are we operate in 10 different states, our customers in Florida may not have gotten the memo that tragedy struck our headquarters that day, so we wanted to still be able to help the customers get them escalated into a call center and all that good stuff, so we were still doing that, but we weren’t really responding to things that we’re shooting related.
What I think this organization, what our collective team did a great job at was reclaiming our space after that happened, so our lobby was shut down for a couple of weeks after the shooting, because there was broken glass, there was obviously a lot to clean up. And you certainly don’t wanna have your employees walking through a crime scene. But what we did a beautiful job with is our team kind of rallied together to think about how do we do this. Somebody in our creative team came up with this beautiful design, where they took the Fifth Third shield and had all of these hand prints in side of it with the heart inside and we started calling ourselves fifth third strong. We made bracelets for the employees that said it the fifth third strong. And when we welcome people back into the lobby, we actually had all these great big canvases that were pulled where everybody could dip their hands and paint and put their hand print up and it was one of those things that it was like it was a way that I think, helped everybody to collectively come together and heal from that. And by doing something where that involves your senses, it really helped us make the space our own, because every day we have to walk through a space where something really terrible happen to people we work with.
And it could have been any one of us and our family were all concerned. And I had friends and people texting me from all over the world that morning, to make sure I was okay. And somehow I think by doing that and kind of reclaiming the space even the Cincinnati Bangles, came down and put… They had a message board outside our building, where people could post messages to our employees and the Cincinnati Bangles came down and signed it the whole community really came to rally around us, and that’s the story I wanna remember, not the senseless violence that took place that morning. I just wanna remember how the community came out and really wrapped their arms around us.
Well, I appreciate you being candid, what I know is probably a challenging subject, and a unique subject considering your role with the bank as well, so I appreciate that, as we kind of wrap up, I was trying to get us back on a little bit of a lighter node you’ve had, as we’ve talked about throughout the conversation, like you’ve just done some really remarkable things, across a couple of different industries and you certainly had a huge impact on the financial services with fifth third. When you think about digital and the way technology continues to go, what excites you the most about the future? There’s so many buzz words around digital transformation and all of that, but what excites you about how digital can you two impact marketers or your industry in the future?
It’s not necessarily something that excites me, but I think something where I think brands can play a role is just when you look at how people are using social media and everything people are really lonely. When you look at some of the research that’s out there, they say that loneliness is at an all time high, and while that’s a very sad thing, I think about how people are so connected and yet we still really strive for connection. We’re communicating all the time but maybe we’re not connecting, maybe that’s a better way to state that, as a brand. You can think about yourself as a… How do we bring more connection between people inside the bank and outside the bank and how do we use technology to make sure that we’re actually creating real connection communicating maybe to one another and not listening? And so that’s where I think anything that brings about real connection in terms of either generating emotion, making sure that I feel seen, heard, understood, and if our brand is an opportunity to affirm that for people, that’s where I think there’s a lot of opportunity for how we need to think about doing business, how we need to think about connecting or providing a service to people. And that’s a real esoteric kind of thing, to say I realize, but when the rubber hits the road, if you’re thinking about that more practical terms it’s just how do we make sure that we’re connecting in a way that goes over and above the transaction?
That’s the stuff that gets me excited. Things that are gonna generate any motion things that are going to show not tell what we want people to think of how we demonstrate who we are as a brand, the kinds of things that we do. We had this great campaign earlier this year, it started in December where a young woman who lives in Chicago, we paid off her student loans and she had over $150,000 in student loans. We did that in partnership with some earned media and our PR team was… She had a great story, she’s a single mother, she’s living in the south side of Chicago, trying to lift herself and her son out of poverty. She’s a nurse, she was just this amazing person and we heard her story and we were like, “Let’s just pay off her student loans and we were able to connect that story and that pay off to a sweepstakes where anybody who is an active user of our momentum app which is basically you could round up all of your purchases with a fifth third debit card to pay down your student loan debt, which is a huge issue in this country. We had a sweepstakes where if you were an active user of the app for the sweepstakes period, you could automatically be entered to win $39,000 to pay off your student loans.
And by the way, $39,000 is the new average amount of debt that a new grad has. So when we’re thinking about those things, how do we generate when you’re talking about earned media and word of mouth earlier, it’s like, Let’s do something wonderful, let’s change someone’s life, and that’s one way to do it. And so that’s the stuff that gets me really excited.
That’s terrific and it just gets back to that perfect blend of using social for community good, using social to solve a problem. And then it’s obviously so true to your a brand that’s been around for 160 years, and has over 70 years of the charitable foundation and just being a really good community steward. So I’m so glad I could finally get you on the Brand Lab Series, Shannon. And I knew it’d be a great conversation. You have a wealth of experience, knowledge as well as I now know analogies, which I love and I will steal.
Oh thank you.
And I know we’re joking earlier to 5th 3rd has one of the best websites if you can’t remember, 53.com talk about great great branding, and we were joking about how hard it would probably be to get a website like that in today’s age. I’m so thrilled that you could be on today, I appreciate all your advice and candor, with our audience, I know they’ll appreciate it and thank you so much, Shannon.
Thanks for having me.
Tags: B2B, B2C, Financial Services, Brand and Marketing
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