Country Club Bank’s podcast, Banking on KC, shares highlights of its greater Kansas City, Mo., community, including insights from many of the community bank’s business customers and local leaders.
By Rebecca Lubecki
Name: Country Club Bank
Assets: $1.5 billion
Location: Kansas City, Mo.
For those unfamiliar with the banking industry, it can be easy to view banks as only being concerned about their bottom line. Country Club Bank in Kansas City, Mo., was looking for a way to humanize its brand and emphasize its deep ties to its greater Kansas City community. That led the $1.5 billion-asset community bank to develop the Banking on KC podcast in October 2019.
“We looked at it as, ‘How can we really position ourselves in the market to have the ability to connect and as facilitators of growth, to show that we’re an integral part of Kansas City?’” says Marla Youk, senior vice president and director of marketing at Country Club Bank.
All Banking on KC episodes and other content are produced by Country Club Bank’s marketing department, but they partner with a vendor for production. They also have a contract with Kelly Scanlon, known as one of Kansas City’s “champion entrepreneurs,” to host the podcast and interview guests.
“It’s a fun partnership at that point, if you will. But we can say we curated this. We developed it, it’s completely ours. We produce all of it, and we’re very proud of that fact,” Youk says.
Banking on KC, produced in a studio located at Country Club Bank’s headquarters, releases a new episode each week and features conversations with innovators and community leaders. Scanlon and guests talk about shaping the business, cultural and economic landscape of Kansas City.
The average number of minutes of each episode of the Banking on KC podcast
“We’re a part of the fabric that makes this place Kansas City, and Banking on KC is one way we can accomplish this in a very approachable way that helps further elevate the awareness of our brand,” Youk says.
“We’re a part of the fabric that makes this place Kansas City, and Banking on KC is one way we can accomplish this in a very approachable way.”
—Marla Youk, Country Club Bank
Podcast guests have included Kansas City business leaders from all types of industries, such as the owner of a neighborhood coffee shop, the publisher of the city’s metro magazine, a bookstore proprietor, a real estate group owner and even Quinton Lucas, the mayor of Kansas City. The episode featuring Lucas nearly tripled the community bank’s downloads that week.
“It’s fascinating to see the diversity in the stories that are out there,” Youk says. “The variety of success stories and how it happens for one person varies in how it compares to another. They evolve in so many different ways, and it’s really interesting to see each individual path to success and what that looks like.”
Not all guest speakers of Banking on KC are customers of Country Club Bank, but many are customers.
“We certainly look for the story, and we have a lot of clients that have that, so it’s one way for us to help bring awareness to them and the great things they are doing in Kansas City,” Youk says.
Learning to podcast
They don’t teach podcasting in banking school. The Country Club Bank team had to do its homework to produce Banking on KC.
The community bank started with a lot of research into other local podcasts that performed well. However, the marketing team was confident in its vision from the beginning. They wanted to tell a weekly story about someone in the community who really made it, whether that was a business leader or elected official.
Youk says producing the podcast is complex. “You don’t want to publish it and leave it. You promote it and see it through. Also, you want to be analytical. How are the numbers performing? Where do we see the most interest going? Do we want to continue going that direction?” she adds. “There are a lot of different options. None of them are right or wrong, you just have to analyze it, evaluate and decide.”
Youk says the marketing team made minor tweaks along the way, as they wrapped up season one and started a second. She credits some of that to a great working relationship with their vendors and a strong vision from the start.
Reaping the rewards
Country Club Bank measures the podcast’s success in many ways. For the bank’s marketing team, it’s more than the number of people tuning in. Youk and her team have noticed that one byproduct of the podcast is the increased pride it has generated from their associates, especially the younger audience. For them, the podcast demonstrates that the community bank’s leadership is open to fresh, new ideas.
“We had a recent hire, and one of the reasons they selected Country Club Bank … was our podcast,” Youk says. “They thought, ‘Wow, this is a bank where they’re trying new stuff; they are being cutting edge.’”
For Country Club Bank, producing the Banking on KC podcast is about embracing the community part of being a community bank and the responsibility that comes with supporting local businesses and neighbors. Youk says it also helps position the bank in an innovative way.
“[The podcast] shows our commitment to Kansas City,” she says. “It illustrates how important it is to us to be fully engaged in an integral way, and building up and growing Kansas City, which is a really great place to live right now.”
Rebecca Lubecki is associate editor of Independent Banker.