Spreading the News

Article excerpt

Marketing Matters

Become the town crier and spread the word about your community service

Community bankers wear a lot of hats-- and not only at the bank. In addition to everyday bank operations, they are also very active in their communities. Bank president by day, girls soccer coach by night. Loan officer by day, boy's baseball coach by night.

What's surprising is the number of banks that don't promote what they're best known for-giving back to their community and excellent customer service.

This spring and summer community banks will take part in a number of service-oriented activities, such as sponsoring recreation programs for kids and senior citizens dinners to name a couple. Are you prepared to get the word out about how involved your bank is in your community?

Here are a few ideas to increase your bank's visibility in its community service works not only during Community Banking Month in April but year round, too.

* Create a community relations calendar. List all of the community activities your bank plans to participate in this year. Review each one carefully to determine which activity or sponsorship may be newsworthy. Then send a copy to your local media. All of your events may not interest your local press, but they interest your customers. In this case, consider using statement stuffers or another promotion to announce a particular event.

Befriend your local media. We all know how important relationship building is in banking. The same applies to the media. A good rapport with your local cable station or newspaper can help when you're promoting a special newsworthy event.

Contact your local editors or reporters and introduce yourself. Tell them about your bank and, specifically, the community efforts it has planned or underway. …