Heartland Bank Creates Videos In-house

By Walt Albro

Since December 2013, Heartland Bank in Geneva, Neb., has produced more than 30 do-it-yourself videos in-house.

The bank (assets: $402 million) uploads many of its videos on Facebook, which is a little different than many community banks.

“We use Facebook because it is the largest social media platform and is used the most by our customer base and target markets,” explains Jameon Rush, assistant vice president, marketing director. “It also features the most extensive and powerful ad targeting platform.”

Rush says that the bank has not found another platform that has the organic reach that Facebook can generate when a post or ad has high user engagement.

Video has grown more viable

Heartland, which has eight full-service locations and two loan production offices in South Central Nebraska, primarily offers agricultural loans, with secondary offerings in the areas of business loans, home mortgages, consumer banking, trusts and estates, investments and insurance

The bank decided to produce videos about two years ago. Rush has some experience with video production in college and decided to test how well video would be received by customers.

Over the past decade, video has quickly risen to become one of the most effective marketing channels, he notes. “It’s one of the most successful ways to convey a message or connect with an end user.” Plus, within the last few years, the technology has allowed users to more easily consume videos.

“Almost everyone has a smartphone now; Internet speeds have increased; Web standards have been established for videos; and the price for consumer-level video production has dropped considerably,” he says.

The first in-house video Rush produced was a holiday greeting to customers from the bank’s employees. “The only money we spent was purchasing the stock audio for background music.”

When the holiday greeting was well received, management concluded that video could be an impactful marketing medium. Rush was given the go-ahead to produce more. Rush contacted a local production company about pricing. “When I realized how expensive each video would be, I decided that we could instead use that money to purchase the equipment and produce videos in house—thus, getting a better ROI by being able to produce many more videos for the same price.”

Video categories

The bank creates videos in five categories: community, product promotion/demo, holiday greetings, internal training and sponsorships.

Community. These are the videos that are most frequently posted on Facebook. They are designed to highlight stories of interest concerning either customers, bank associates or the communities that the bank serves. “Often the bank’s name might not even be mentioned in the video if it doesn’t naturally fit with the video topic,” says Rush.

 

Product promotion/demo. These videos either highlight a product or service or explain with step-by-step directions how to use that product or service.

 

Holiday messages. These videos are intended to have a greater impact than either a card or an email.

 

Internal training. These highlight lesser-known products or services to bank associates. The bank typically tries to makes these humorous or entertaining to increase the likelihood that associates watch them and talk about them.

 

Sponsorships. These highlight the bank’s or a bank associate’s direct or financial involvement in an organization or event sponsorship.

Once produced, videos are either uploaded to the bank’s website, the bank’s YouTube channel and/or the bank’s Facebook page. Since a video might exist on several channels, the video’s performance is based on statistics from each individual channel and evaluated in light of the intended goal for each channel.

The primary distribution method for community videos is Facebook. Rush explains: “The auto-play feature Facebook implemented within the last couple of years, the sheer size of the audience, the decreased prominence of YouTube video links, and the ease of liking, sharing and commenting on videos are all factors have made it a more powerful and useful video platform.”

All videos are produced internally. Rush creates them himself, using two marketing interns for assistance when needed. For larger video productions, he sometimes hires videographers, aerial drone pilots and on-screen talent.

The video equipment used:

  • Primary cameras: Panasonic GH4 and GH3. Low-price point, interchangeable lenses, versatile for use in many different rig and stabilizing setups.
  • Secondary cameras: GoPro Hero3+ Black, Hero4 Silver, and Hero4 Session. Great for point-of-view shots, shots in extreme situations, time-lapse footage and wide-angle shots.
  • Video stabilizing equipment: tripod, monopod, should rig, hand-held-rig, glide cam, gimbal stabilizer, slider, and various POV mounts.
  • Lighting: Portable battery-powered LED light and larger studio-style soft box lights.
  • Video editing: 27-inch 5K iMac with Adobe Premiere.

Rush says that one advantage of producing in-house is that you can create 10 to 20 videos for what it would cost to out-source production for three to four videos. Also, the bank has greater control and flexibility with in-house production.

Banks that are considering in-house production can learn most of what they need to know online. “YouTube is an amazing resource for learning just about any video technique out there,” Rush says. There are thousands of short videos designed to teach beginning videographers the techniques and skills needed to produce professional quality videos.

To be successful, you have to be ready to always be learning and be willing to practice. “I am constantly learning new techniques, whether it’s out on location, through YouTube videos, or at a video production workshop,” says Rush.

The most important things are quality video (which is achieved through camera/lens selection, lighting setup, and video stabilization) and quality audio (achieved through good use of external MICs and high-quality music).

Walt Albro is the content editor for ABA Bank Marketing. Email: Walbro@aba.com.

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