The Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) is launching a nationwide marketing and communications campaign to celebrate the nation's community banks.
The group, which represents nearly 5,000 community banks nationwide, has launched www.ilovemycommunitybank.com. The interactive Web site allows consumers to post comments, upload a photo and deliver video testimonials about their community banking experiences.
A special Twitter handle (@iLuvMyCB) was created to both promote and highlight the campaign's entries. Consumers who share their stories will have the opportunity to be featured in ICBA's national social media campaign, which promotes community banks across the U.S.
The objective of the campaign is to bring national grassroots awareness to the importance of community banks in the financial system and the special role they play in America's economic recovery and stability.
ICBA previously conducted very few consumer/small business targeted campaigns, instead preferring to support banks from the community level, says Chris Lorence, ICBA senior vice president/chief marketing officer.
This campaign is different because it gives community banks the opportunity to join together as a solid, successful segment of the banking industry and encourages their real-life customers to tell the world why they make a difference in each and every community they serve, Lorence tells Marketing Daily. "These aren't paid celebrities, scripted actors or dreamed-up Madison Ave marketing campaigns -- these are real people talking about their real life experiences," he says.
The campaign will also be leveraged during ICBA Community Banking Month, which is recognized every April to promote the benefits of choosing a local community bank and the personalized service they provide.
To encourage broad participation of community bank members, ICBA will supply turnkey marketing designs through several supporting ICBA state associations, who will disseminate the information and marketing collateral to their state member banks that wish to participate in the program.
One of the first consumer-oriented campaigns ICBA did was the release of an iPhone, Google Android, BlackBerry app called Community Bank Locator in June 2009. The smartphone app helped consumers find ICBA member banks in their area. About 18 months ago, ICBA deployed a Facebook advocacy page called MyCommunityMyBank. This effort helped rally over 15,000 consumers and small businesses to write to Congress on how important local Main Street banks were to their community.
"Community banks are by breed modest, humble and well integrated into their communities," Lorence says. "Like the post office, barber shop and hardware store, they are woven into the fabric of everyday life. Up until now, there has never been a national centralized public forum to give those who rely on community banks every day the opportunity to speak up and share why they think doing business locally is important and beneficial to the communities they live in."