Connections, Content & Camaraderie

By Mark Reynolds

What we won by participating in the ABA Foundation’s Lights! Camera! Save! video contest.

We didn’t know it at the time, but when our social media marketing specialist, Justin Jack, came to us with the idea that Extraco should participate in the ABA Foundation’s Lights! Camera! Save! video contest, it would be one of our best customer and employee experiences in 2015.

Through our participation, we created connections with our local middle and high school students. We shared relevant and branded content with our social media followers. And we fostered camaraderie among our employees, customers, and communities by coming together to help fund the college dreams of our lucky winners.


So, once we decided to participate we had to figure out how to connect with our main audience—students and schools. Luckily, the ABA Foundation makes that really easy for participating banks. They have pre-designed school and student flyers, press releases, and a great website, so completing these items was our first step.

Now that we had some of our content, we did what all good marketers do: we created a marketing campaign. Our campaign included targeted emails to schools and customers, participation incentives via additional scholarship money, and a social media campaign and voting contest to determine the winning video to represent Extraco at the national level.

Our campaign was successful in helping us create connections with our students and community. We had seven students from seven different schools throughout our footprint submit videos for consideration, which we thought was a great turn-out for our first year. Additionally, our social media posts had over 50,000 organic impressions—it was some of our most shared content during the months we ran the campaign. And, we received over 12,000 votes on our four semi-finalists’ videos to help us determine our national video entry.


Since we’re talking about social media, let’s talk a little about the content we shared. Like most community banks, or maybe most banks in general, our most popular social media content is when we share community oriented pieces. At Extraco, part of our mission is to “touch lives,” so sharing stories of how our employees and others affect our communities for the better is part of our branding efforts. That being said, we weren’t prepared for how much our followers would connect with the content we shared on the contest. This was our best social media campaign, beating out the response to a campaign we ran in 2014 about a vehicle donation we made to a person working to change their life, with support from a local non-profit entity.


I think the voting contest is where the camaraderie really kicked in. We created content that the students could share on their social media pages to ask for votes, and we shared the videos as well via social media, email and with all our employees. It was great watching the votes continue to grow over the weeks. Once we had the votes in, we announced the winner at a special party for the students, their families and their school administrators. At the party, we gave out the participation incentives: $500 cash prize for each semi-finalist. Our national entry was Nathan Mitchell’s video, Nathan Mitchell’s Money Management Short”, which used a whiteboard to illustrate the possibilities when one chooses to save money vs. spending it today.

Of course, it’s no secret that Nathan won the national prize. He received a cash prize of $5,000 from the ABA as well as an additional $2,000 from Extraco. In addition, his school, Rapoport Academy, received a scholarship for Nathan’s teacher to attend Jump$tart’s National Educator Conference in Dallas, Texas this fall. Overall, I think his video resonated with so many because it was a very easy way to understand the benefits that come from setting goals and saving money.

But if you want to know the best part about our participation and why I think Extraco was the real winner? For starters, we’re still connecting with Nathan as he recently wrote and produced a video for our HR team. We look forward to even more great content from Nathan to share this year. Plus, I expect we’ll see videos from last year’s participants plus some from their younger brothers and sisters as well as new students. Finally, we’ll continue to build on the camaraderie generated from last year.

By participating in events like the ABA Foundation’s Lights! Camera! Save! video contest, we’re helping to make a local high-schooler’s college dreams come true. As a community banker and local citizen, there’s not a better feeling than that.

Mark Reynolds is northern region president at Extraco Banks.