COVID-19 Content Best Practices: Banking

COVID-19 Content Best Practices: Banking

Like every other industry, the banking industry is figuring out how best to navigate the global COVID-19 pandemic. A customer’s relationship with their bank is especially personal — it is, after all, where they keep their money. And that intimacy presents unique challenges when it comes to communicating with them. The economic issues triggered by the spread of COVID-19 require banks to give careful thought to how they’re reaching out to customers and offering to help.

This week, we’re reviewing content produced by the banking industry to identify the work we think is most effectively connecting with customers. Our friends at Corporate Insight track communications, products, and the overall customer experience offered by leading companies in a variety of industries. The Imprint team has leveraged their research, along with our own, to evaluate COVID-19 communications in the banking industry against these four criteria:

  • Client-centricity: Are brands putting their audiences’ needs at the center of their content—or talking about themselves?
  • Tone: How are brands speaking to their audiences?
  • Formats: How are they packaging their content? Video, long form, visual storytelling?
  • Differentiation: Do brands’ communications stand out from competitors’?

Here’s what stood out to us this week. Click HERE for last week’s roundup of the insurance and annuities industry.

Deep resources from an industry leader

Bank of America’s COVID-19 website takes advantage of the bank’s institutional heft to deliver a wide variety of smart content that directly addresses clients’ most pressing issues and educates without overwhelming.

  • The site leads with a link to its Client Assistance Program, which was expanded in March to support consumer and small-business clients affected by the pandemic. The program gives customers a direct way to reach out for help dealing with issues such as payment deferrals and recouping late fees.
  • The CAP site immediately allays likely customer concerns, announcing front and center that payment deferral won’t trigger negative credit bureau reporting, and that the bank has paused foreclosure sales, evictions and repossessions.
  • Content is varied, and includes articles, video explainers and podcasts from Bank of America leaders.
  • The site goes beyond banking, linking to outside sources. For instance, parents homeschooling their kids can access lesson plans from Khan Academy.

Few banks have the resources to build such a comprehensive reservoir of content geared toward customers dealing with the financial fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic. But this is the type of crisis response one would expect from an industry heavyweight like Bank of America.

 

Coronavirus: Latest Updates from Bank of America (Bank of America)

We’re all in this together

It can be tough to make a meaningful connection with customers when communicating about dry topics like loan deferrals and interest rates. The best bank communications these days break through with a collaborative and empathetic approach.

Take Chase:

  • Chase’s COVID-19 website gets personal right from the start—and that’s good. CEO Thasunda Brown Duckett’s open letter begins, “As a mother, daughter and banking executive, COVID-19 has affected every part of my life.”
  • The effect isn’t cloying; it feels real and vulnerable, and sets the tone for the rest of Chase’s messaging.
  • The site’s other content sticks with that personal and human tone, even while delivering humdrum how-tos for tasks like mobile check deposits and handling billing disputes for cancelled travel.
Chase Coronavirus/COVID-19 Resources (Chase)

News you can really use

Clients don’t want to wade through pages of content to figure out how to defer a car payment or fight an overdraft fee. Ally Bank’s communications put the client’s needs first:

  • The bank’s online COVID-19 response delivers easy-to-find answers to clients’ urgent questions, like how to defer this month’s auto or mortgage payments.
  • Direct communications to clients via email offer short and clear explanations of new policies such as waiving overdraft fees.
Coronavirus Response (Ally Bank)

TD Bank executes a nifty client-centric content feat, delivering a thoughtful explainer about how the Fed’s recent rate cuts affect individual clients.

  • The tricky subject is handled in plain language.
  • The content is broken up in scannable chunks so readers can easily focus on what’s relevant to them, including topics such as credit card interest and student loan debt.
  • Bonus points for giving COVID-19 a supporting (rather than starring) role here: The piece pivots quickly from explaining the connection between the pandemic and the Fed’s rate cuts to what a 0% federal funds rate means to the average reader.
What the Federal Reserve Interest Rate Cuts Mean for You and Your Family (TD Bank)

Truist has the added complexity of communicating to two banks’ worth of clients. The company is the product of last year’s merger between BB&T and SunTrust, and its content needs to relay different information to each group of legacy clients. It pulls off this trick neatly, focusing its COVID-19 information on making sure each type of client gets to the right place. Well done for any company, but especially one that hasn’t yet hit its six-month birthday.

COVID-19 Help Center (Truist Bank)

 

Let us know what you think and please share pieces that you think apply best practices. You can email us at imprint@imprintcontent.com.

Here are links to the coronavirus microsites or information pages for each company featured above:

Chase

Ally

Truist

Bank of America

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