An interview with Chris Lorence, ICBA’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer.
Phone: (800) 422-8439
Chris Lorence is responsible for continuously fortifying ICBA’s brand and refining the association’s voice to stay consistently relevant with members and policymakers. Leading a team of marketing and communications experts, he is an outside-the-box thinker who believes strongly in the mission of the organization and the importance of community banks.
“Our members are thought leaders and visionaries who are the backbone of every community,” he says. “It’s my job to make sure their united voices deliver impact with policymakers and that their individual contributions to the industry are shared to maximize their influence on the industry.”
ICBA Social Media Monitor is a free member benefit that allows community banks to monitor up to five chosen keywords, phrases or brands within the realm of social media. Social Media Monitor helps community banks listen for both good and bad feedback, which might be posted in social media. Signing up is easy for any member bank through the website www.icba.org/webmonitor.
Go Local Initiative
The Go Local initiative was launched in October 2012. Since its inception, the program has continued to grow in popularity and geographic reach, spreading awareness about the importance of people shopping, dining and banking locally.
For more information, visit www.icba.org/golocal.
Community Banking Month
April is ICBA Community Banking Month. Community banks can participate in several ways. Some community banks designate a day or a week to highlight the volunteer activities of the bank employees. Other banks use the month to dedicate more resources to the community through volunteer work or hosting customer-recognition events.
IB: What marketing and communication resources does ICBA have for community banks?
Lorence: ICBA takes pride in providing its members with marketing and communications resources that they can use directly or use as a basis to make their own to help get the word out to the local media and to their target audience. We offer ad templates, talking points, localized press releases, social media guidance and even provide consultation with member banks interested in discussing their marketing programs.
ICBA’s annual celebration of Community Banking Month in April and the year-round Go Local initiative provide members with various materials to customize to help tell their bank’s story. Those materials include press releases, op-ed columns, marketing campaign ideas and logos.
IB: Where can member community banks find details about marketing and communication resources available to them?
Lorence: Our member resources are available on ICBA’s website at www.icba.org/members. There you will find links to public relations campaigns, advertising ideas and templates, our customer survey solution, financial literacy materials and much, much more. We communicate the availability of community bank campaigns and promotional materials throughout the year in our ICBA NewsWatch Today daily e-newsletter as well as our weekly Member Access e-newsletter.
Many ICBA-created awareness promotions like the marketing we did in Washington, D.C., this past April in celebration of Community Bank Month are also available to members to use in their local markets. The ads, radio scripts and talking points are aimed to remind policymakers and legislators that community banks are the lifeblood of the local economy. The resources are completely customizable and provided free of charge to members.
IB: Tell us more about the Go Local initiative and its offshoot, Go Local Wednesday. How can members participate?
Lorence: The Go Local initiative was launched in October 2012. Since its inception, the program continues to grow in popularity and geographic reach, spreading awareness about the importance of people shopping, dining and banking locally.
Go Local Wednesday is an expansion of ICBA’s broader Go Local initiative. Every third Wednesday of the month, community bankers and consumers nationwide, along with ICBA employees, are encouraged to shop at locally owned and operated businesses and restaurants. To show support for entrepreneurs and small businesses all year, community bankers are encouraged to share their experiences via the #GoLocal hashtag.
IB: How can members take advantage of Community Banking Month?
Lorence: Community Banking Month is a great event for community banks nationwide to raise awareness of the importance and unique nature of community banks. Many community banks designate a day or a week during April to highlight the volunteer activities of their employees. Others use the occasion to dedicate more resources to the community through volunteer work or hosting customer-recognition events.
ICBA promotes the event via social media and press coverage so that community banks across the country have the opportunity to tie into the messaging. We also provide press materials and marketing recommendations for members.
IB: How can a member interact with ICBA through its social media channels?
Lorence: The best part of social media is that it’s free and easy, and you don’t actually have to be an expert to join in the conversation. Whether you just “listen” or generate content from your own point of view, social media is an excellent way for community banks to engage with their community. All of ICBA’s social media outlets are promoted and accessible from the ICBA.org website.
More details are located on the specialty site www.icba.org/socialmedia.