By Walt Albro
Central National Bank, Waco, Texas, created its first video in 2012 as part of its annual Customer Appreciation Day. The short clip, which was posted on social media, proved to be an unexpected hit.
“Of all the social media posts we had done up until that point, that video received much more engagement—more likes, comments and shares,” says Bryan Fonville, assistant vice president of the bank, which has $750 million in assets and four locations in Central Texas.
Since that time, Central National Bank has expanded its use of video to the point that the videos have helped shape the institution’s brand voice. The bank’s distinctive humorous videos have created an audience not only in Texas but in other parts of the country as well.
“Because we’ve seen success with using humor, we now incorporate humor into our other communications, such as our change of address letters and our cash withdrawal envelopes,” Fonville notes.
The bank has seen people move their accounts (or contact the bank about loans) almost entirely because of the videos. “It seems a little crazy that something that has absolutely nothing to do with banking would factor into someone’s decision on where they open an account, but I think it goes back to people being able to identify with us,” says Fonville.
“If a prospective customer can feel as if they already know us before they ever step foot inside the lobby or pick up the phone, we feel as if that puts us in a pretty good position to win that relationship.”
The year after the initial video, Fonville had an idea of creating a humorous video about a bank holiday.
“When October rolled around, I told Joe Nesbitt, a president and commercial loan officer at the bank, that I had this crazy idea to film a video where we made fun of the fact that we would be closed on Columbus Day. Joe said, ‘Let’s do it. It’s not going to cost us anything to make, so if it doesn’t get approved, we’ll just have a fun video to laugh at amongst ourselves’.”
The response the bank received for the humorous video far surpassed what anyone at the bank could have imagined. The bank followed up with another humorous video on President’s Day. Today, the humorous videos have become a vital part of the bank’s digital marketing strategy. And, in many ways, they have come to define the bank.
The two most recent videos include a humorous look at the bank’s summer interns’ exit interviews and a video in which bank managers rank their employees—the latter being a parody of the college football playoff selection show that airs during the fall on ESPN.
“So, instead of just telling people that we were different, we wanted to show them,” says Fonville. “With our videos, we wanted to shatter the stuffy stereotype of bankers and show a more human side.
“And, our hope was that people would see us making fun of ourselves and think to themselves, ‘Those are the kinds of people I want to do business with’.”
Walt Albro recently retired as content editor at ABA Bank Marketing.