Social media has the ability to humanize a brand like few channels can. UMB Bank, a leading financial services provider for both individuals and corporations headquartered in Kansas City, Mo., was looking for a more human approach to grow its personality through its Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts.
UMB has a vision to create an unparalleled customer experience, and a mission to know its customers and anticipate their needs. To capitalize on social media as an opportunity to communicate directly with these customers, the company enlisted DEG’s help to strengthen its presence in the social space.
DEG’s utilization of a social voice guide started with a long-time client and has transformed into a proposal to begin every new client social engagement. The guide is as much a benefit to DEG as it is to the client. Whether DEG or the client is producing the content, the voice guide serves as a framework for anyone creating social content on behalf of the client. This ensures everyone is speaking the same way in order to produce more strategic content. DEG approached UMB with the voice guide concept, which was the perfect vehicle to reach UMB’s goal of becoming a more conversational and approachable brand.
The creation of UMB’s voice guide was highly collaborative, as UMB is the unique case of being the only client where both DEG and the client produce content together. DEG began the process by presenting examples from competitors and initiating brand exercises to determine where, on the spectrum between corporate and conversational, UMB wanted to exist. The exercises also help to develop guidelines regarding topics, such as what can and cannot be discusses on social media. For the approved topics, DEG set to find out how the topics should be approached to best resonate with the target audience.
The majority of the social voice guide format remains consistent from client to client, telling the company’s story, voice, tone, personality, audience, channels in which the company is engaging, content themes, content purpose, and how it responds to criticism. Being a financial institution, content themes were of particular importance, and UMB’s interactive marketing and public relations team worked to ensure content followed appropriate industry regulations.
The shift in brand voice allowed UMB to stand out in the marketplace, as well as receive recognition from local organizations. Along with areas of its content receiving PRISM Awards from the Public Relations Society of America Kansas City, the Social Media Club of Kansas City selected UMB’s Social Voice Guide as the 2015 winner of its AMPS Gold Award for Cross-Channel Integrated Campaign.
“At UMB, we know that we have brand guidelines that help us when it comes to who we are and what we strive to project to our customers and clients,” said Marc Vasquez, Interactive Marketing Manager at UMB. “From a social media standpoint, we needed to create an addition to those guidelines to help us channel a consistent voice. With DEG’s help, the UMB Social Voice Guide was created. As a result, we’ve had increased success interacting online on our mission to deliver the unparalleled customer experience.”
Through the partnership with DEG, UMB had a coherent, steady, and award-winning voice that serves as the foundation of its social presence.