Who said a bank couldn’t have fans? Of course there is a twist here… We are talking more about sports fans than banks aficionados.
As you probably know, Saxobank has been sponsoring a cycling team for quite some time. This year the team will compete once more in the extremely popular Tour de France. Nevertheless, it may well be the last Tour for the Saxobank team as the bank announced in February 2010 they would put and end to their sponsorship.
Last year, the bank launched a dedicated facebook group, Team Saxo Bank, (group?), and a youtube channel with 29 videos. There is no dedicated twitter account, which I believe is not a bad move. It enables the bank to show a different side and use a friendlier tone of voice on their main twitter account (@saxobank), and drive the number of followers up. One might argue that may impact “the quality” of the bank’s follower base.
Earlier this year, they launched a dedicated blog / microsite to give more visibility to their team, Taking the Lead.
They surely found some inspiration from Rabobank’s popular “Web TV 2.0” (Rabosport.nl) and twitter account (@rabowielrennen, with over 3,6800 followers which makes the Top 20 on my Visible Banking Twitter Watch) where the dutch bank urges its cyclists to share their thoughts and insights via blogs and video blogs & interviews.
The idea is to urge the Saxo Team fans to register and upload their loving pictures and videos to the micro-site. It is a good way to create content at a minimal cost, and create more buzz online.
About the competition
I invite you to check the rules of the contestdirectly on the site. Basically, the contest:
* runs between between May 1st and July 3rd.
* involves different levels of engagement: from just registering as a fan, to upload content to the site
* participants will receive more, bigger, prizes depending on the success of the initiative (# fans)
A Few Observations
Here are my initial thoughts:
+ organizing a contest to identify and involve fans months before the competition, and months after
+ the hashtag on twitter, #SaxoFan
+ number and size of prizes based on success
– microsite which is very “web 1.0” without any sharing features but tell a friend & become a fan (web form) page
– content capture mechanism: why wouldn’t they urge fans to upload their pictures on flickr and videos on youtube, tag those pieces of content with a specific category, then send the organizers a url?
Popular social media sites such as flickr, youtube or facebook offer their members the opportunity to share content and vote. Which translates into more buzz and word of mouth
– reward and prizes: fancy getting your hands on “a cool inflatable #SafoFan victory hand”? 😉 Don’t worry, there are still 24,187 hands left. You can also become one of the lucky daily winners of “a cool Team Saxo Bank 2010 jersey” just by posting your photo or video…
– winner selection process: … but I am not sure what the selection criteria are. Have the fans vote and choose their favourite pieces of content!
Companies are starting to realize there is a tremendous value building a commmunity and engaging with its members throughout the year, not just during a four-week event such as the Tour de France, but also before and after.
More and more financial institutions are starting to understand the power of the internet and are looking to leverage online interactions and social media, mainly to maximize their marketing / brand investments such as sport sponsorship. My concern is about the level of influence web / PR agencies have, versus the quality of the social media initiatives they design and launch. Banks usually experience a low level of interaction and engagement, which could lead them to think social media is not for them… What a mistake and wasted opportunity.
There is a value gathering email addresses and creating communities. The key question is how can you leverage those unique relationships to make a positive impact on your business. How will Saxobank use that database of contacts? How many cycling fans can they realistically convert into customers? I wonder how many people would click on the SB Education link at the top of the screen, how many would show some interest for their TradeMentor programme?
My main questions to Saxobank: how do you plan to manage this community after stopping your sponsoring? Somehow, I doubt the community would want to be merely sold financial services…
Kudos to the Saxobank team for linking the number and size of prizes to the number of fans and the success of the initiative. This is clever, and I suggest you put more focus on this characteristic of your contest. I would totally (ab)use (of) it to drive word of mouth.