What Can Banks Learn From Call of Duty?


1-22-14-sutherland.pngAs banks begin to look outside their industry for innovation, the gaming industry has interesting ideas that could apply to banking. For both industries, it’s important to create a personalized experience where customers can help themselves. The gaming industry, specifically Activision Publishing Inc.’s Black Ops/Call of Duty, continues to expand on its use of digital and social media communication. Call of Duty/Black Ops uses social media in a holistic way through teasers, communications, monitoring, responding, and even mobile advertising with viral sharing. It has paid off for Activision. In November 2012, Activision’s Black Ops II set an all-time gaming record of $500 million in sales in one day. The success has been partially attributed to an ad with partners MEC and Millennial Media, which enabled the use of a mobile device’s built-in camera along with social media access. The “Call of Duty: Enlist” ad asked gamers to become a black ops agent with Millennial Media’s photo shoot media feature embedded in the ad.  Viewers of the ad could simply take a photograph of themselves using their phone, click a button to insert their face inside a Black Ops character, and share the photo on Facebook with all of their friends. 

This approach is fun, encourages interaction, makes it personal and inspires viral sharing on social media. Follow this link to see how easy it is.

You may think: So what? The average gamer is a 16-year-old kid, right? Wrong! According to the Entertainment Software Association (esa):

  • 51 percent of households own a dedicated game console
  • The average game player is 30 years old with 36 percent of gamers being older than 36
  • Women 18 years and older represent 31 percent of the gaming market
  • 50 percent have full-time jobs
  • 12 percent work or study part-time
  • 7 percent are homemakers

Not only does the gaming industry use social media for effective communication, gaming is a social environment with many gamers interacting in online communities. The gaming industry is growing rapidly on mobile devices and through social media sites such as Facebook. The banking industry can learn from Activision and accelerate its usage of social media.

Social Media is a Channel that Demands More Focus in Banking

There is an enormous perception gap between what consumers rank as their reasons for following companies on social media and why businesses believe consumers follow them, according to an IBM Study, From Social Media to Social CRM. Create messages that resonate with the hierarchy of why consumers are following you.

Consumers number one reason to follow a company is obtaining discounts closely followed by making purchases —tailor your messages with this in mind.

Businesses think consumers “want to learn about new products” but they are wrong—reduce the focus in social media on product knowledge.

Seventeen percent of consumers researching financial services in social media convert to making a purchase, more than any other source of information gathering, according to a Gallup Financial Industry report. Developing a strong social media strategy will accelerate growth.

What Makes a Truly Effective Social Media Model?

According to a Sutherland Global Services white paper, Thinking Social Insights, companies need social outreach specialists that will respond beyond the organization’s owned and controlled forums. They need social media analytics for brand tracking and sentiment analysis, to hear the voice of the customer, for feedback management, for comparison with competitors and for reputation management. Companies should have social media support fully integrated into a customer relationship management program. They should have automated distribution of all social media and drive customer service to social media outlets.

Tim Rondeau, the senior director of customer care at Activision, was quoted on the web site for Salesforce, the data marketing company, explaining that Activision can interact with customers in ways that work for them. “… In addition to taking phone calls, it’s important to expand our communication with our gamers on Facebook and Twitter.” It sounds like a quote for any and every bank; simply swap the word customers with gamers.