Saturday, 23 September 2017

Information and commentary for the small business banking industry

Content that breaks the fourth wall

Ferris made it famous

Remember the John Hughes classic, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? If it was a bit before your time – well, you still have to see it! – but perhaps a more modern example is Frank from House of Cards. What these protagonists do is known as ‘breaking the fourth wall’ – when the character talks directly to the audience instead of existing in a purely 3-dimensional state.

And you know what that does? It makes the audience connect with the character. Why do you think Ferris Bueller’s become everyone’s most lovable rogue? Or how Frank Underwood can do the things he does and we still think he’s funny? It’s because they’re talking directly TO us, and that forges a connection. It’s like being let in on a secret. Sometimes we even find ourselves talking back.

When it comes to your customers, they’re really looking to connect with their bank on a personal level. They need to know you’re taking a genuine interest in them, so you want to tailor your content so that it reaches them as individuals.

The fourth wall – how to break it and why

The great thing about breaking the fourth wall is that you have more opportunities to inject some irreverence into your content. Dealing with finances, talking with a bank manager, understanding how to use financial tools – customers can find that kind of thing a bit daunting.

Here’s how breaking the fourth wall can not only get your message across, but actually make it fun for your audience:

  • Make the most of humour – if your content gets a laugh, your audience engages with it faster and it sticks in their memory longer. Take this video for example – you won’t forget the name of this bank in a hurry!
  • Storytelling – we’ve just been talking about House of Cards, right? Well, here’s the actor who plays Frank Underwood, Kevin Spacey, on the importance of storytelling in content marketing. And actually, he says it much better than I can. Just watch the video.
  • Use videos – they’re really the best way to break the fourth wall and forge a connection with your audience. If you’ve got something new to demonstrate, consider presenting it on video and hiring professionals to get the job done.
  • Get the higher-ups involved – try to get some of the bank’s big-wigs to spend some time interacting with customers. Whether it’s via video or sitting them down in the call center for an hour or so, your customers are going to feel a much stronger connection with the bank if they’re interacting directly with the bosses.

Put yourself in the customer experience

What you’re looking to do is create content that means customers don’t have to imagine you sitting in your office or on the phone – you’re there with them. Whether you’re showcasing a new financial tool, marketing new small business packages or plugging an upcoming event, try to put yourself in your customer’s shoes and think about how you’d like to be engaged.

Breaking the fourth wall means that when it comes to content, the world’s your oyster.

The question isn’t WHAT are we going to do, the question is what AREN’T we going to do.
– Ferris Bueller

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