The NAB Labs are More About Bootstrapping than Innovation or Crowdsourcing

In case you missed it, in November and December 2011, NAB conducted on its facebook page for students ‘NAB Student Collective‘ a project named ‘NAB Labs’.

As part of our Visible Banking Facebook Watch series (1,350+ pages and apps in 75 countries), my team tracks the most interesting initiatives on facebook from the financial services industry: those intitiatives could be wall updates, customized tabs or apps.  And depending on how valuable or insightful they are, we flag them on the Visible Banking twitter account (Visible_Banking), the Visible Banking page on facebook or the blog.

The project has a dedicated tab on the page, and relies on a simple mechanism based on page notes.


Last week, NAB promoted this initiative again on their wall.  The content is available, so the bank might as well drive traffic to those notes.

There is very little activity on those six notes.  We counted only 4 likes and one comment.  And this is the comment in question: “facebook is terrible for communication really. would much rather use phone/txt or email. Too much nonsense on here and people are infatuated with it, I mostly just use it for comps :)”.

My Take
In social media, simple doesn’t necessarily mean weak or pointless.  And sophisticated or sexy doesn’t guarantee your success either.

I enjoy witnessing social media activity ‘on a budget’.  It is critical you start building your presence on the most popular services and engaging those communities asap.  So you don’t have money?  Big deal.  You are not the only one, and it is not a problem.

Leverage your existing resources, design and implement your content strategy (focus on existing content first), aim to build a smaller community more relevant to your brand or your values, identify cheap / free ways or services which will enable you to create some buzz and interact with your members for close to nothing.

So here the NAB team found a better way to share the results of a somehow fairly standard series of Q&A sessions with students.  The impact of this initiative seems very low, probably due to several reasons:
1. The infographic pages are good, but there is no call to action / viral buttons, and I wonder how many facebook users would like to check the full report.
2. I would like to identify with the participating students.  Tell me more about them and show me their pictures directly on the ‘NAB Labs’ tab.
3. The notes contain too much text and they don’t urge you to read.
4. An improved content strategy (facebook wall posts and tweets) would drive far more traffic and increase the level of activity.
5. Last but not least, how valuable or entertaining is this initiative and this content for a student?

You can appreciate that those NAB Labs are not your usual labs focused on innovation and crowdsourcing, like the first direct Lab or Commonwealth Bank’s Ideabank.  

Join the Discussion (Here or on Facebook)
I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic and get your answers to the following question: So, what is your definition or your perception of the term ‘Labs’ for a brand?  How innovative and forward thinking should those labs be?

The top comments and their contributors will be highlighted on the Visible Banking platform (blog, facebook page, twitter account).

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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