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VB Wrap up – EFMA’s Social Media Event – ABN AMRO, Banco Sabadell, Fidor, Fortis, Rabobank

EFMA-SocialMedia-Paris-19March2009It was my fourth EFMA event.
John Kirkbright, invited me to speak at “Social media revolution and impact on financial services“, the conference he organized for the EFMA in Paris on 19th March 2009.

The event had speaker panels and interactive sessions to facilitate exchanges of information and ideas between a strictly limited audience of senior European banking executives.

Participants and Speakers from over 10 countries
It was an informative, insightful, day on social media in banking and financial services. Shame the current challenging times made it difficult for bankers to travel and attend the conference.

Nevertheless, we were around 30 people in total, speakers included, from the following companies: ABN AMRO, e-laCaixa, capco, ASN Bank, Bank Hapoalim, Banco Sabadell, Banque Cantonale Vaudoise – BCV, Cardif, Cercle des Investisseurs Prives, CheBanca!, fidor ag, Fortis Bank, GIE BNP, Paribas Assurance, Google, Gras Savoye, LCL, Mapa UK, Orange Business Services, Quintess, Rabobank, Raiffeisen Bank (Serbia), Raiffeisen International Bank, Serveis Informatics La Caixa, The Networking Company, Visible Media Ltd.

It was great to catch up with Catherine Ossemerct (congratulations Catherine for the good news!), Pol Navarro (glad we had the chance to have dinner together), Joep Paemen (thanks Joep for recommending me),Mark Pavan, and the EFMA team.

I was delighted to sit next to Jean-Michel Billaut for most of the day, meet with Daan Josephus Jitta at last and meet with one of my readers from Spain, Xavier Bermudez (thanks Xavier for your kind words on Visible Banking).

Wrap up – People First!
Please find below my initial comments on the day and most of the presentations.

More or less all the speakers insisted on the importance of educating people (internally and externally), being transparent, and starting to experiment now.

But if you ask me, I have heard the word “scared” too many time when they were referring to responding to user-generated-content. Also, I was hoping more speakers would underline the importance of monitoring online discussions.

Thumbs up
* Catherine who fought until the end for her award winning initiative in the social network space and who reminded the importance of having an Executive sponsor and involving the Business,
* Pol who demonstrated the higher ROI for social media marketing campaigns due to some excellent profiling hence better targeting,
* Daan who plans to fully maximize their investment in social networking and use their platform internally too,
* Matthias who aims to reward his users for their contribution like very few company ever did before, and
* Casper from Rabobank who came up with a methodology to measure social media, and emphasized the importance to monitor online discussions.

Presentations
* Fidor – ‘Retail Banking 2.0’: I really enjoyed Matthias presentation. I found it inspiring and refreshing too. Matthias came to present the new social media initiative they launched a week ago to better connect with the market and engage with their clients: Fidor Community Banking. Their tagline: “we are strong together!”.

They also provide an online tool for Personal Financial Management,gemege.de, and an idea generation platform to invite people to contribute to the design of fidor’s new products (and be rewarded for their contribution).
More next week in my video interview with Matthias.

* ABN AMRO – ‘Experimenting with social media: vision, learnings and insights’: I contacted Daan on Linkedin last year to invite him to speak at one of our internal innovation dinners at Lloyds TSB.
Daan presented three social media initiatives he helped ABN AMRO launch in the last couple of years to: capture customer feedback – blackboard -, support the SME market with an online community – flametree -, and provide an entertaining experience on second life.

By the way, Daan’s team will launch flametree phase 2 next week. The interface will be totally different, stay tuned!

I loved this quote from Daan’s presentation, ‘Being transparent requires more guts than talking about transparency.’
More next week in my video interview with Daan.

* Rabobank – ‘Virtual communities and the Rabobank: evolution, not revolution!’: it is obvious Casper is passionate about social media and he spent a lot of time experimenting online. Even though I would tweak it a bit, I enjoy Casper’s methodology to classify virtual communities and assess the level and type of engagement from the bank.

Rabobank is one of the most active European financial institutions in social media: not only they have a dedicated ‘webcare team’ to monitor online discussions and respond, but their direct banks in Belgium, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand implemented blogging, customer reviews, and podcasts.
I invite you to watch the video interview I shot in Singapore last year with Casper’s colleague, Edwin Van Raalte, Senior Manager Business Development.

Last year, Rabobank launched RaboSport an online tv channel dedicated to the sporting teams and events they sponsor like “le tour de France”. Unlike Nykredit and Jyske Bank which also allocated a sizable budget to launch their own TV channels, Rabobank also have a YouTube channel with the same video hosted on the popular service.
I asked a question to Casper about their presence on YouTube, and I enjoyed his answer: ‘we created the YouTube channel because the videos ended up on Youtube anyway!’

* Fortis Bank – ‘Engaging the European Entrepreneur’: it was great to catch up with Catherine. She launched Join2Grow.biz, the first ever online community for European Entrepreneur launched by a major bank back in February 2007 (in just 6 months). Fortis won 6 award and experienced an excellent, global,
press coverage in 2007.

I was disappointed to find out in February that Fortis Bank decided to stop this innovative social media experiment. On the other hand, I wasn’t too surprised because the current situation is pretty tough for the Belgium bank and the Executive sponsor has moved on.

I invite you to watch my video interview with Catherine (London, September 2007), and read my reviews of Join2Grow.biz phase 1 and 2.

I agree with Catherine on budget and timeline: it takes time to build a trusted online community and you need a minimum of three years to draw the appropriate conclusions.

* Banco Sabadell – ‘How the social media is impacting marketing communication and the next marketing wave’: Pol and I share a similar passion for social media. We are both active users of social media sites like facebook, linkedin or twitter. I invite you to check Pol’s presentation on slideshare. Pol insisted on the importance of being transparent, honest, and managing your community.

He also introduced the audience to Banco Sabadell’s mashup with google calendar, their page on facebook, their YouTube channel and their Twitter feed. ‘Loyalty = Economy of emotion’.
More next week in my video interview with Pol.

Interview
During the 1-day event, I managed to interview three of the key speakers and one of the most famous French bloggers.
Please note that the interview with Jean-Michel is only my second interview in French (the first one was with Pierre Chappaz, Kelkoo’s Founder, shot in Switzerland back in November 2007)

Daan Josephus Jitta, SVP – Direct Channels & Innovation at ABN AMRO
* Pol Navarro, Head of Channels & Innovation at Banco Sabadell
Matthias Koener, Founder & CEO of Fidor AG
Jean-Michel Billaut, Blogger & Technologist at the Networking Company

Photo coverage

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