Streamlining Strategic Communications at a Major National Bank

Challenge

The Complexity of Strategic Media Measurement

After the global financial crisis and numerous data breaches and scandals over the last decade, top banking and financial institutions have placed a growing emphasis on public perception and maintaining robust communications with increasingly wary customers and shareholders. With branches and locations both globally and across America, large banks must stay in front of news in individual regions and on top of issues like customer experience and perception, corporate compliance and responsibility, cybersecurity, and community relations.

A major national bank was struggling with the complexity and sheer volume of coverage they were receiving. They were attempting to track 7 reputational drivers, 8 corporate messages, 37 competitors (including 10 national and 27 regional banks), and 82 spokespeople, regional presidents, and executives. The bank also operates in many regional metro areas across the United States and their Communications team is responsible for media analysis both nationally and regionally. As a data-driven business highly invested in keeping tabs on what publications and which influencers discuss their brand and their competitors, they needed to find a media intelligence solution that could handle a high level of complexity and deliver accurate, reliable insights.

A new Communications leader joined the firm with a keen understanding of the value of media measurement and benchmarking results. He realized the need for a comprehensive solution that could break down national and regional coverage as well as track key industry topics like cybersecurity, a growing threat in the banking and financial industry. The bank focuses on tracking reputational drivers and company goals to better understand how they can improve and where they are doing well. Reputational drivers, often surrounding broader themes and not directly mentioned in the text of articles, are easily identified by human analysts. As they work on gap plans to push and refine their messaging, particularly in weaker performing areas, PublicRelay helps them answer questions like “Are we improving coverage? And if so, is it positive?” and “Is our share of voice increasing?”. By taking a more strategic approach to media measurement, the team has insights that they can act on and not just report on.

Solution

Tracking Coverage in Near Real-Time

A website crash in the heat of the summer caused a considerable scare as scores of irate customers turned to social media to express their frustrations with the bank. In order to stay abreast of mounting negative coverage, the bank received hourly updates detailing who was saying what and quickly directing their Communications team to the customers and influencers they needed to immediately engage with. The analysis of social media included hundreds of tweets without the bank’s identifying Twitter handle. This ability to track untagged tweets allowed for a much more comprehensive understanding of social media coverage in real time. Their customer service team was empowered to promptly reach out to hard-to-identify customers and offer much-needed assistance and updates.

The bank also receives near real-time coverage for important events like economic forecast reports and major philanthropic events. Daily reports on events of this scale help them to understand how and where they are getting picked up in the media, especially with initiatives that are launching nationwide. Prompt media analysis on these occasions, particularly when there’s a steady stream and high volume of articles, allows the bank to stay well-informed of the bigger picture but also swiftly pivot and plan. Daily morning clip reports, defined by a complex, subjective changing set of rules, allow their Communications leader to come prepared for meetings with the C-suite. Irrelevant mentions are also weeded out to eliminate noise and clutter, allowing for the most suitable stories to receive a deep-dive analysis. The bank reaps the benefits of actionable insights on outcome-based metrics like message pickup and share of voice against peers and brand drivers.

The team also measures the impact of social media on their traditional coverage using PublicRelay’s Trending Score. Trending Scores are assigned to articles receiving shares on social media and indicate whether the sharing volume, channel relevance and significance are above or below their average. These trends help the team become more predictive over time as they are able to see how certain themes or concepts are shared on various channels.

Result

Setting Benchmarks and Steering Business Decisions

Through dashboards, daily clip reports, and quarterly reports, the national bank identifies and tracks three major gap plans (cybersecurity, CSR, and community education) bolstered with a concrete measure of how each is performing. Key messages like brand quality and customer perception are tracked separately from corporate messages like inclusivity, so they can easily parse out how each is performing individually and not just as a collective whole.

This data is incorporated into narrative-based insights that go straight to their board and CEO. Actionable data—such as widespread positive coverage on company statements regarding natural disasters and the resulting impact on job performance and recovery time—allows their team to understand the results of their efforts and reinforce strong, effective communications strategies.

Before implementing a comprehensive media intelligence solution, the bank could only look back at their output. Now the team understands precisely where their effort needs to focus—on effective and proactive gap messaging plans. With historical benchmarks now set in place for a diverse set of reputational drivers and key messages, the bank can now measure how its communications efforts are performing over time and not just at a moment in time.