Wells Fargo unveils microsite showing community impact

Wells Fargo moved into the branded content space on Tuesday, launching the Wells Fargo Stories site that shows off the work the bank does in communities across the US.

SAN FRANCISCO: Wells Fargo has launched an online magazine called Wells Fargo Stories, aimed at customers and the communities it serves. 

The tablet-friendly microsite launched on Tuesday. It is open to contributions from all Wells Fargo staffers, and the site is managed by the company’s SVP and head of internal communications and new media, Arati Randolph, and her team.

The microsite shows how Wells Fargo has helped customers and communities, as well as how team members live the company’s values. For example, an Iowa employee sprang into action when he saw a car stalled on train tracks, pushing the automobile out of the way of a speeding train and saving an elderly couple.

"All of the content is about our customers, communities, and team members, and we tell stories through a mix of video, editorial, photography, and infographics," said Randolph. "[The microsite] encompasses a responsive design, so it shows up really nicely on tablets and mobile devices."

Wells Fargo is promoting the site through media relations, various social media channels, and links from the main company portal. Randolph’s team will work to boost awareness of the microsite throughout the year.

The target audience includes journalists, Wells Fargo staffers, and members of the general public.

"The site will evolve; we are absolutely going to encourage and listen to feedback and take it from there," Randolph added.

The online magazine is expanding Wells Fargo’s ability to create engagement through social media, and helping it tap into its power as a publisher, said Oscar Suris, Wells Fargo’s EVP and head of corporate communications.

"We call this shift moving from practicing PR to P+R, or publishing plus relations," he explained. "It is not just about media relations anymore, or internal comms alone, or PR exec comms; we really now have the chance to take the content we create every day and earn and share it through all these environments that social media affords us."

Wells Fargo Stories is part of a strategy to amplify company storytelling by publishing more original content that can be easily shared via social media with family, friends, and followers, Suris added. The site is a piece of a larger external "storytelling ecosystem" that includes the Wells Fargo website, seven company blogs, and a presence on a growing number of social media platforms, including the branded Twitter handles of 99 corporate communications staffers.

"We also want to show another face of what big banks are all about," Suris said. "It’s no secret we have been under reputation duress as a group, but we have great people with great stories who do amazing things with customers and the communities we do business in."

In January, Wells Fargo reported that its net income was up 10% to $5.6 billion in the fourth quarter of 2013 compared with the year prior. Revenue dropped 5.4%.

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