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From The Hunger Games to Kaching: Facebook shows banks the money

From The Hunger Games to Kaching: Facebook shows banks the money

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

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This blog post was inspired by the runaway success of the social media campaign for The Hunger Games movie, in particular the campaign’s extensive use of Facebook:

Hollywood tends to be an early adopter when it comes to uptake of new technology. Other industries like banking are catching up.

For banks the possibilities are enormous. Facebook’s functionalities can provide banks with sophisticated analytics to allow them to cross-sell products and tailor targeted marketing messages. Just posted pics of your new baby girl? Might be time to reconsider your life insurance policy.

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s Kaching and Malaysian bank CIMB’s YOUth app both use Facebook.

CIMB’s YOUth app mines personal data on Facebook such as your profile information and email. It can also post to your wall and access posts in your news feed. Aimed at youths aged 13-25, the app encourages followers to invite friends to like it. In return, followers earn virtual money (FUNds) which they can use to ‘buy’ products – no real money is involved.

The Kaching Facebook application takes integration with Facebook a few steps further. This app allows the Commonwealth Bank’s customers to make payments to Facebook friends and third parties. The promotions for Kaching appeal to the youth segment’s lifestyles. For instance, if you’re out with a group of friends at a restaurant and need to split a bill, why not Kaching it?

For some people, these marketing tactics are not necessarily negative. In the end, banks might be doing you a favour by promoting more of the products that fit your individual needs, instead of sending irrelevant information that’s just noise.

On the other end of the deal, Facebook would also love to get its hands on your buying habits, so it can target its ads accordingly.

But Facebook is not for everyone. As one critic via LifeHacker succinctly (and cheekily) put it, Facebook updates on the chain of events caused by bank payments could read something like this:

“Fred has been paid”
“Broke cousin liked Fred being paid”
“Fred purchased embarrassing item at pharmacy”
“Fred got mugged and is now broke”

The success of first movers such as CIMB and the Commonwealth Bank are being closely watched by the rest of the industry. The term ‘first mover advantage‘ hides the challenges innovative businesses face. They will spend a lot of money setting up the right IT systems that satisfy banking regulations and address security concerns. They will probably make some costly mistakes. Then their competitors will spend less money copying them.

Hollywood has been the trendsetter. How are more conservative industries integrating into their marketing campaigns social media tactics that are more commonly found in the entertainment industry?

Caroline Regidor heads First Degree PR, www.firstdegreepr.com. For more information, you can view her Twitter at @firstdegreepr.

Image from HollywoodReporter.com


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