What Causes Profitability?

August 12, 2014
/   Spotlight

Digital Insight proves that digital bankers actually drive increase engagement and profitability with their financial institution.

Cause and Effect: If you build it, will they come?

July 23, 2014
/   Spotlight

Many financial institutions assume that digital banking is lucrative because the most valuable customers happen to bank online. While there is certainly a correlation between online bankers and higher profitability, quantitative evidence suggests that...

Intuit 2020 Report: The Future of Financial Services

April 11, 2011
/   Insights

Today, Intuit released the latest edition of the Intuit 2020 report, Intuit 2020 Report: The Future of Financial Services, which identifies and examines four key trend areas that will  transform the financial services industry...

Fast Facts: Student Loans

January 22, 2013
/   Insights

The Financial Services Roundtable recently released another iteration of its Fast Facts, reliable, bullet-point research about issues facing the financial services industry. Topics span TARP, Dodd-Frank, insurance, lending, retirement savings and more.  Below are some updated Fast...

The Top 10 Trends in the Digital Banking Industry

December 18, 2013
/   Spotlight

2014 is rapidly approaching and as the year wraps, the Digital Insight team has pulled together the top 10 trends in the digital banking industry based on data and trends from studying financial institutions....

Platform Shift in the Making

February 13, 2013
/   Insights

What does the banking industry as a whole have to do with Amazon, Microsoft and Apple? Just about nothing—and down the road, it may turn into a major problem (if it isn’t already). Consider...

Financial Literacy Month: How are you celebrating?

March 22, 2013
/   Insights

With April approaching, it’s almost time to kick off Financial Literacy Month! Strongly supported by the United States Congress and the Financial Literacy and Education Commission, Financial Literacy Month aims to promote the importance...

It’s often said that bankers are not necessarily ‘social’ by nature. This isn’t a bad thing per se—it just means banking is serious business, while socializing has the opposite connotation.

Seen through that prism, it’s a topsy-turvy world would there. The absolute, undeniable reality is that a lot of business is ‘social’ now, and the rest will get there soon enough.

As the American Banking Association has been emphasizing in numerous outreach initiatives, including webcasts, many banks have already developed and implemented social media strategies, primarily as an extension of their ongoing marketing and communications strategies. However, it remains an open question whether these tactics have been adopted industry-wide.

One potential obstacle seems to be too many professionals see social media mainly as a series of new channels to add to the existing arsenal. This is the best way, they believe, to accomplish what traditional advertising and other market-facing strategies are typically designed to achieve— strengthen the brand, grow the business, etc.

There are some critical differences, however. One may be that many social media engagements often exist independently of the organization’s typical arena. More consequently, the company always isn’t initiating or ending a conversation as much as it’s joining one. Remember, technology-aided word of mouth travels much faster and further than any other form of communication. Average consumer might be willing to look up a particular financial services provider or product on Google, but they’re more inclined to trust a friend on Facebook. This is why it sometimes pays not to join in the conversation, while at other times it’s absolutely imperative.

On a related front, most traditional marketing initiatives are almost exclusively the purview of marketing folks. Sure, all employees go through orientation and know roughly what to say about the company when asked, but that’s about it. The rest of the time, they’re doing their regular jobs.  In a ‘social business’ world, meanwhile, they have the opportunity to be advocates virtually all the time. On the flip side, a few poorly-worded Tweets could, if tied back to their employer, cost them their jobs and damage the brand.

There are many technologies and service providers available to expedite these process. But ultimately, it’s up to the banks, accounting firms and other financial services providers themselves to get moving on this. For example, they can implement technologies that facilitate easier communications between companies and employees—surely a scary prospect to many institutions concerned about compliance measures. They can appoint specific professionals at all levels to serve as advocates, each trained to create or locate and join in relevant conversations in numerous channels. Most of all they can, and should, develop a full-fledged social media strategy that’s endorsed supported monetarily and otherwise at the highest levels. Moving forward, that will mean carefully monitoring the effect of these initiatives in ways that are alien to traditional advertising and PR efforts.

Yes, business is social now, and that requires a radical change in thinking. Staying out of this swirling vortex of consumer buzz may be one option, at least for now. But in the long term, being anti-social will potentially have severe consequences.







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Marisa Mann

Marisa Mann brings over 15 years of experience in consulting and financial services industries to the Solstice team, working on large scale enterprise initiatives across many technologies, including specializing in the digital space – Internet and mobile. Mann is passionate about mobile and the endless possibilities for the enterprise, delivering business value through strong brand recognition and driving to excellence in the consumer experience. Prior to Solstice, Mann worked at JP Morgan Chase, Diamond Management and Technology Consultants, Washington Mutual, Inc, and Accenture.

Zachary Ehrlich

25-year-old writer, and as a native San Franciscan, I am unreasonably loyal to Bank of America, if only for their superhero-like origin story, involving the 1906 earthquake and Italian fruit vendors.

Brad Strothkamp


James W. Gabberty

Gabberty is a professor of information systems at Pace University in New York City. An alumnus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and New York University Polytechnic Institute, he has served as an expert witness in telecommunication and information security at the federal and state levels and holds numerous certifications from SANS & ISACA.