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Online video can be a ways to reach out in a rural market.

JAN KNOCK

Vice President Marketing

Iowa State Savings Bank

Creston, Iowa

Assets: $180 million; three locations

In a rural community, there traditionally have not been many media outlets to disseminate the bank's message. Thus today, the small-town bank's Web site has taken on importance--and the inclusion of online video has proved to be an effective new communications channel.

Since farmers live in remote areas, it is often more convenient to them to use online banking. "Rural Iowans have come to accept online banking as a vital part of their lives" says Knock. Iowa State Savings has offered the service for a number of years and the customer adaptation rate is above the national average.

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Although the institution cut back its marketing budget last year--reducing the number of print ads and eliminating outdoor advertising altogether--Iowa State continued to upgrade and add new features to its Web site. The institution added online video about 18 months ago. Having seen what some financial institutions had done in terms of teaching financial literacy to children, Knock decided to generate an online video on the topic. At the same time, she added a video clip of the bank president reassuring customers about the bank's financial condition--since at the time there were widespread fears among consumers about the safety of banks in general.

The institution lacked the budget to produce a slick, scripted video. Instead, it opted for the simplest format that could be created for a reasonable cost. The financial literacy video featured on-camera interviews with young customers. The president's presentation was a "talking head" format.

"The videos work for us because they honestly reflect what we deliver to our customers every day," says Knock.

Since the videos went online, the Web site has experienced more hits, so Knock thinks the strategy is valid. She plans to continue creating at least one new video every six months or so. One advantage of the medium is that a video with timely information can be created and posted fairly quickly, she says. If there were a tornado, for example, the bank could quickly produce a video that could tell people how to go about getting financial help.

The institution wants high-quality video that does not appear amateurish. On the other hand, it doesn't want to appear artificially polished. "It looks relaxed because that is the way we are," says Knock. "The look is intentional."

Knock thinks that any bank can produce a suitable video at a cost that is not excessive. In fact, most could shoot the video themselves or do it with modest assistance from an agency. "The biggest challenge we had was the sound. To get high-quality sound, you really need to use a sound technician," she observes.

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Title Annotation:Iowa State Savings Bank
Publication:ABA Bank Marketing
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2010
Words:457
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