ING Direct reaches out with COO TweetUp

WILMINGTON, DE: ING Direct will host its first-ever TweetUp on July 21 at its New York "café," hosted by COO Jim Kelly, as an opportunity to connect with customers both online and off.

WILMINGTON, DE: ING Direct will host its first-ever TweetUp on July 21 at its New York “café,” hosted by COO Jim Kelly, as an opportunity to connect with customers both online and off.

Taking place between noon and 1pm, the event offers visitors the chance to ask about the bank and about saving money, a big part of the bank's messaging. It launched a "We, the Savers" marketing campaign  in November 2008. Questions will be accepted in person and via the Web.

Moreover, because ING Direct is largely an online business, it gives the organization a chance to talk directly with customers. Kelly said that more than 100 people have said they will attend the on-site event.

“Because we don't have customers coming into an office like a traditional bank, we don't have the chance to talk to customers all too often,” he told PRWeek. “I want to ask them some questions. My hope is they'll provide me with information I'll need to shape our business for the next couple of years.”

Over the years, a lot of the company's engagement with customers has migrated online, with Twitter, Facebook, blogs, and other social media replacing surveys and newsletters that were once mailed. However, the ING Direct Cafes, physical ING outposts located in a number of cities including Honolulu, Los Angeles, and Wilmington, DE, where the company is headquartered, have also been important to the company's outreach efforts.

“We're trying to take the idea of a two-way dialogue with customers and use the best tools at our disposal,” said Kelly. “The cafes have always been an integral part of our success. We want to give people a physical place to come, explore, listen, and see us.”

The company hasn't planned for a quantifiable way of measuring the success of the TweetUp, nor is it “shooting to sell product,” he said. Rather, the depth and breadth of the conversations will determine how well the event turns out.

“If we come out with some good ideas, with good feedback… if we're able to get a sense that customers are engaged, I'll be pretty happy,” he said. “I know they're not coming to buy. They've got something on their minds, and I want to talk about that openly.”

MWW Group is ING Direct's AOR, however, PR for this event was handled in-house. ING has worked with the firm for about 2 1/2 years.

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