Promsvyazbank Aims to Create the First Social Bank in Russia [Guest Post]

Let’s have a look at an innovative bank based in Russia, Promsvyazbank aka ‘PSBank’.  I’ve asked my friend Daniel Gusev – Head of Innovation to talk us through their social media journey and their focus on facebook and twitter.  Please note that it is Daniel’s second contribution on Visible Banking, I invite you to read his first guest post ‘Overview of Social Media and Banking in Russia & CIS‘.


Asian and Australian banks are more and more eager to engage with their markets on social media channels like facebook or twitter with the likes of CIMB in Malaysia, Standard Chartered in Singapore or Commonwealth Bank in Australia.

But the Asia Pacific (APAC) region is not the only area of the world where financial institutions try their best to embrace social media.  Earlier this year, Credit Agricole launched, the first ‘social bank’ / virtual branch fully engaged on facebook, twitter, blogging and 3D internet.

By experience, social media engagement in financial services is driven by four possible reasons: 1. PR crisis, 2. competition, 3. internally via an influential and knowledgeable advisor or stakeholder, 4. internally via a member of the Senior Management.

Creating a «social bank» in Russia
PSBank’s ambitious venture to create a truly social bank is a long story – but the first chapters of it are already breathtaking – so we are happy to note several milestones we had achieved this far:Social media marketing in Russia, as we see it – is a young – and voracious industry, first taken by Senior FS Executives (I invite you to checkour list of Senior Execs on twitter) as nonsense drivel, then turned into a front-seat mirror, bringing lavish budgets and self-prononuced gurus that guided the expenses.That befuddled and confused many enterprises that scorned at the previously free ride on viral waves of marketing – including PSBank, that only felt social media as an complementary mechanism to push its releases on products and APRs.
Dealing with the Usual Challenges in Financial Services
When the bank approached the social media realm was with many things, major of them being:
* Focus: most institutions just dont know what to expect from any social networking platform, its virility and voracity makes them a frightening endeavors for banks (that are unsocial by default). Hence, majority stumble or do not get the results they might have expected when looking at best brands communication, as they start with different words.
* Expectations: the expectations-delivery mismatch starts from focus misalignment – companies expect instant appraisal of their first steps and should they fail to make them in a confident manner – the fatal retort is not retribution, but ignorance and oblivion. Demands for quick growth might not be met and the social team may be left with no resouces for a «redo». Pages must captivate customers and entice them to stay, pleading on their relevency and proving of their logic in being present in the social media realm. That in turn requires different approach than that employed at companies primary communication channels.
* Costs: taking social media as something that should be quickly conquered, or taken aback by first errors, companies try to win back by spending lavish sums on promotion, SEO, direct ads, or hiring dedicated team to work with the new channel. It only leads to inflated expectations and makes the impact of company’s social visibility less impactful.
* Results (measurement systems): what execs look at firsthand is number of likes (subscribers), the problem is that the number may sustain a big churn rate and be compensated by constant direct ad marketing, or that those who’ve «liked» your page – are not engaging with you on the platform – and are only driven by occasional prize draws that everyone are so willing to do today.

In short, there is more than a simple presense on a platform like Facebookor Twitter, or else. It is the reverse innovation, where interactions formed through all these next-gen communication platforms, would impact the core communications of prime channels. There is no reason for a bank to make a shiny island on Facebook, once it cannot drive the same feelings towards other channels.

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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