Commonwealth Bank of Australia Drives Traffic to its Branches via Facebook


Yesterday, Commonwealth Bank of Australia officially ‘opened’ its Time Vault contest on facebook.  As mentioned in my post, I was curious to find out more on the mechanics of the contest: how the bank would capture the answers, refrain people from leaking the info online, but still create some online buzz and drive online conversations outside facebook (I was especially keen on twitter).

It was good to find out this morning about another key component of the contest: CBA’s own branch network.  Indeed, you had to visit a branch to get hold of today’s answer.  This move is exciting.  Really.  But it presents a number of challenges too…

My Take
This is another great experiment launched by Commonwealth Bank under the leadership of Andy Lark – Chief Marketing and Online Officer of the Australian bank.It was promising to find this morning a fair amount of coverage and promotion of ‘Time Vault‘ straight onto’s homepage.  It is of paramount importance to promote your social media intiatives on your own assets (digital and traditional) without spending any marketing dollars.If you are a regular reader of my blog, you will already know I am a big fan of ‘bridging the gap’ between social media and the real world.  The financial services industry hasn’t started yet to empower its advisors at the branch and give them the tools to connect and engage digitally with their local communities in a meaningful way.  I’ve always claimed that the opportunity in the B2B space (small businesses) or B2B2C space (independent agents. IFAs) is much bigger than in B2C, and I’m pretty sure American Express won’t disagree with me. ;)But if leveraging social media at the branch offers virtually an enormous potential, the are many challenges to overcome first such as the penetration of social media in the community, the time and resources available at the branch, the level of understanding of social media, content moderation…  And this would only work providing you display the content produced locally at the branch.  But this is for another blog post and a dedicated report.Here, we are not talking about social media at the branch, but driving traffic to the branch from a facebook contest.  Again, I love the concept.  But I’m not so sure about successfully managing the delivery and customer expectations.Please find below just a few of your key challenges:
* Training: the branch staff has to be trained and ready to face more people -most of those additional people coming essentially for the contest and not to be sold any financial product-,
* Queues: customers will potentially face longer queues,
* Inbound Calls: people will start calling your call centers or worse, the branch directly, to get an answer,
* Disappointment: you might alienate all the wanna be contestants who are not able to visit a branch today…

I’m back in London, otherwise I would check myself: I’m curious to see how much promotion the bank organized at their branches.  For instance, the bank tellers and advisors could systematically at the end of their conversations mention the contest, give the answer and urge people to participate…

If anyone in Oz has any pictures of how the contest look like at one of CBA’s branches, I invite you to share!

CBA-Twitter-TimeVaultFrom a social media activity and buzz stand point, I’m not too sure how successful this campaign will be based on what looks like an absence of plug into twitter.

I couldn’t find much activity around #TimeVault.  Even CommBank and NetBank, CBA’s two main twitter accounts, remained quiet except for a few tweets in the last week or so…

But the contest is just beginning, and there is still opportunity to improve.

From CBA’s Facebook Wall
Most of those challenges are reflected in the conversations on CBA’s facebook wall which are overall very postive.
I browsed through the comments on this wall post from CBA.

Challenge of Visiting a Branch During Working Hours
* Sigh, might be stuck at home due to exams. 🙁
* Aw damn. Wish I knew about this before I went into town

Finding the Answer Online
* Mine didnt know either.. google did though.. 😛
* Those who cant visit a branch can still find the answer on the commonwealth website…so i did…no fingers crossed. 🙂

Higher Volume of Calls at the Branches
* OUR NEAREST Branch is 77 kms away lol
* Gee it’s a bit rough when you can’t make it there 🙁 anyone know if it’s online? maybe i should ring the local branch or is that being cheeky?
* Well i rang my local branch and the woman told me she didnt know =(
* I rang and he said the other women there were giving him grief about giving me the answer.. but he did it anyway.. 🙂 nice of him..
* I wonder if you call up the bank staff and ask these questions what would they say? It’s a general enquiry after all 

Overall Impact on the Branch Staff
* I kinda feel sorry for your branch staff. People are going to stampede in each day, ask them for the answer, and leave. :S

And last, but not least, it seems like some customers are more motivated than the others: “Ok, i am leaving my house to drive to Commonwealth Bank to ask the question then home again. just so I can enter the competition 🙂“.



What do you think?

Written by Christophe Langlois

Based in London for almost a decade, Christophe is an entertaining fintech marketing keynote speaker and a trusted advisor to the global financial services industry on the topics of digital marketing, innovation and B2B social media.

Christophe has contributed to over 140 events in 18 countries.

Currently, Christophe is advising a number of fintech startups on marketing and growth hacking and he is the Chief Marketing Officer of The Fintech Power 50, an exclusive annual programme helping fintech scale-ups to accelerate their growth globally.

Christophe's views on are his own.

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