Bank and credit union professionals are fond of talking about generating positive buzz for their brands on various social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram. While it is certainly important to have consumers talking about you (hopefully in good ways!) on social media, one cannot forget the importance of off-line word-of-mouth.

In the dark ages before the Internet and social media (the mid-1990s for younger readers), off-line word-of-mouth reigned supreme. Bank and credit union board members, presidents and marketing professionals regularly checked old-school tools like suggestion boxes and handwritten surveys. However, the advent of the Internet and social media platforms led many to believe the only important buzz to follow was online. A new report, however, discussed in a recent issue of Adweek brings to light the importance of maintaining positive word-of-mouth from your consumers and off-line conversations.

Here are some interesting statistics from the article:

  • Word-of-mouth conversations drive 13% of consumer sales
  • Off-line conversations drive twice the sales impact as online
  • The biggest statistical trend represents consumers talking off-line about what they see online

Bank and credit union professionals can take the following from the statistics:

  • You simply cannot afford to forget about the importance of your brand’s good reputation when discussed amongst consumers off-line.
  • While people may review your bank or credit union’s website and social media presence, their decision on whether or not to do business with you is primarily driven by conversations held off-line (i.e., peer reviews).
  • Maintaining a positive off-line brand presence is possible through regular employee consumer engagement training.

Online consumer discussions, reviews and posts will undoubtedly continue to grow as social media maintains its steady ascent. However, bank and credit union professionals must still keep a watchful eye on the importance of their brand when it is discussed off-line amongst consumers.