Archive for the ‘Tim Fowler’ Category.

RSA and Social Media: Nasza-Klasa in Poland

When I head out to conferences and seminars, the value for me often is not so much in the content of the event itself, but more with the surprising people you meet and their great stories and anecdotes about social media.

One such person that I met was Roberto Hortal Munoz, the eBusiness Director for RSA Emerging Markets.  He has a great interest in social media for financial services and over a brief lunchtime chat he told me about Poland’s first financial services social networking game, “National Driving Test”, that was created by  Link4 - part of the RSA group and the market leader for direct insurance in Poland.

RSA’s National Driving Test game was launched in February this year on Poland’s equivalent of Facebook, Nasza-Klasa. Nasza-Klasa has 14 million active members and 16 million online users.

The Driving Test  game works by asking players 10 questions about driving habits and their knowledge of  car insurance. Players are allocated a driver profile depending on the response to their question. The six different driver profiles are inspired by, and aligned to, RSA’s consumer segmentation. The driver profile badge is displayed on their page for all their friends to see:

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Depending on the player’s answers at the end of the game the player is then directed to relevant, targeted RSA insurance product information that relates to the answers they have given during the game.

So in a fun, engaging way the game serves to highlight the benefits of Link4′s driving insurance.  It’s obviously working as Link4′s  social driving game has achieved some great headline results, including 10,000  users requesting an insurance quote during the first seven days of going live.

You can read more about the campaign, as well as find more information about Roberto Hortal Munoz, on his blog at www.hortal.com.

Interested in social media case studies? Want to get practical advice about corporate social media use?

Why not attend the Corporate Social Media Summit Europe on 17th -18th November 2010 in London and get exclusive insights into how brands like Vodafone, Cadbury’s and Nokia are using social media for real business benefits.

Accenture’s report: High performance in insurance with social media.

Image courtesy of shutterstock

Image courtesy of shutterstock

As I have a keen interest in social media for financial services I’ve been looking at the Accenture’s paper on “Achieving high performance in insurance through social media”.

It’s a great statement of intent by one of the major international consultancies, and another example that social media is now being embraced by more traditional corporate and business markets.

Accenture’s paper examines the trends in social media and highlights that insurers seeking high performance  should consider using social media within their customer, channel and workforce strategies. The paper also describes an approach for insurers to utilise social media to input into strategies for marketing, sales, services and recruitment.

With regards to inbound marketing, the useful statistic cited is that marketers who incorporate social media into their inbound marketing mix tend to spend 60% less per lead on average compared to traditional marketing methods.

But why should insurers bother to take note of social media? Three main reasons are cited in the paper:

  1. Social media helps customers pick through the high volume of information available online because they trust “people like me”, ie, other customers, to give honest, accurate information.
  2. Social consumers use social networks as their core navigation and search tool rather than search engines or portals.
  3. Social media is being used more and more by businesses as part of their overall strategy.

As the paper points out, “social media increasingly determines who customers trust” and Accenture highlight the  importance of establishing “Listening Posts”, or what we term social media monitoring,  so that insurers are aware of the online conversations that are happening around them. The paper also discusses the best “social media management framework”, or  social media strategy, for success, which consists of process, people, policies, and metrics.

It’s a considered and articulate paper that is probably targeted at large insurance businesses that need external help to establish their social media enterprise framework. It is notably absent of case studies, and while there are some interesting statistics in this well-researched paper, I suspect that key decision-makers in this industry will continue to look for more detailed ROI data to justify their budget spend.

I also feel the paper doesn’t really address the “hub-and-spoke” social media model as a means of being proactive in social media (i.e. a central social ‘hub’ that is part of the insurers website while also engaging with the social ‘spokes’,  like Twitter forums and blogs, where the other relevant influential conversations are taking place) .

What is interesting is that Accenture’s paper is less bullish in addressing the many positive benefits of a proactive social media programme, and that is probably as it should be given that it reflects the risk-averse culture of a cautious industry that is coming to terms with open customer dialog.

Social lending: Zopa and new entrants in the financial services industry

Zopa.comWhen working with the big banks and insurance companies, as they embrace the potential of social media, their adoption of change can be fairly slow. The highly regulated (and risk averse) financial services industry often lacks the appetite to engage in online social conversations and (they could argue) “why do we need to?”. The answer is that, if you don’t, then you get left behind. There are competitors and some new entrants already building a successful social media presence.

As an example of a new entrant, in the banking sector, I’ve been following Zopa for some time. It started in the United Kingdom, and promotes itself as the first marketplace for social lending. This means that members of the Zopa community lend and borrow money with each other, sidestepping traditional banks. The premise is that both lenders and borrowers get better rates, because Social Lending is more efficient than traditional banks, which, with large overheads, must take bigger margins on the money that passes through them.

Zopa CommunityWith over 400,000 members, Zopa appears to have hit upon a successful formula, and one that is now being copied in other countries, such as Prosper in the US, Smava in Germany and Boober in the Netherlands

And because it has empowered their online community, it becomes natural for it to add the social media features that further enhance its proposition, such as frequent blogs and online conversations between its members.

Time will tell whether this business model will be successful and sustainable. But it demonstrates that a new entrant into the marketplace such as Zopa can shake-up an otherwise cautious banking industry, and maybe move them faster towards embracing social media. It’s going to happen – it’s simply a question of when.

Read all our posts about social media for financial services

Facebook, privacy and social media for financial services

How do I delete my Facebook accountI have just typed “How do I” in Google today, and the fourth suggestion that it proposes is “…delete my Facebook account.”

There’s clearly some discontent out there. What’s the cause of these rumblings? Well, it was reported last week that there has been a significant review of security policy at Facebook HQ. Facebook user profiles are publicly accessible by default, and it seems that a growing number of commentators such as Jason Calacanis, chief executive of the question-and-answer website Malaho, are calling for a boycott of what is now a “not trustworthy” site.

And yet, this is against the backdrop that Facebook will shortly announce over 500 million users, and that’s 40% of everybody on the internet.

So, the dichotomy for businesses that have online security as a top priority, such as in the financial services or pharmaceutical industries for example, is how they should engage in social media when Facebook, the most popular of social media tools, is so open. And this question is always most loudly voiced in the Boardroom of the banks and insurers, where the decision-makers for a social media strategy will be immediate detractors because they consider the simple equation is “Social Media = Facebook”, and they can see no further!

The important resolve at the Boardroom must be that the social media strategies for banks and insurance companies should not focus upon social media tools. Instead, the message for the Boardroom is that the best uses of social media will demonstrate that it can yield amazing results without compromising security or the confidence of your customers. And to achieve this it can be better to think of more creative ways to engage people. We’ll be looking at some of these in the coming weeks.

Read all our posts about social media for financial services

Using social media in financial services - be focused but creative in how you engage

Paint Palette...
Image by HafsaN00 via Flickr

It sometimes feels as though parts of the financial services industry are in the grip of a social media frenzy, with a keen anxiety to “do something”. We’ve written before about why tactics such as “We want a Facebook page” are not a social media strategy and will not, in themselves produce long-term engagement and benefits for the brand. Sometimes Facebook as a presence is right for your brand and what you are trying to achieve, but there are some great examples of financial services organisations being more creative in their use of social media.

One such example comes from the US and is AXA’s My Retirement Shop. Rather than just trying to engage customers in their brand or products they are offering a real service. They are meeting their own business objectives, engaging a defined audience and also providing them with a service and an enhanced brand experience over and above their existing transactional relationship. It is one of many ways that financial services firms can make themselves relevant and also engaging. For many consumers insurance is not an engaging topic, but by adding this additional service to them it can become so.

We see many examples like this, particularly coming out of financial services firms in the US and increasing adoption of them in the UK and Europe. Brands moving from just using social media to engage customers in the brand, to providing a real service and value to them. Of course for many brands, a combination of both as part of a coherent and ongoing social media strategy would be the best option.

Developing these solutions comes best from a thorough review of why a financial services organisation is using social media in the first place. At FreshNetworks we work with clients, though our social media workshops, to identify the overall business aims that social media can help with and the best audiences for the business to target. Then we figure out what will bind the audience as a community and hence encourage them to participate.

It’s not necessarily all about Facebook. And it’s not necessarily all about engaging with your actual product or service. When you are using social media to engage customers make sure you focus on your business aims and target audience, and then be creative about the tactics you use.