td bank

On Monday, January 6th 2014, CBC News reported on a story about a couple in Kelowna, Canada who locked themselves into a car loan that included a 25% interest rate because of their financial situation. Of course, they were upset by the high interest rate and pointed the finger at TD Bank.

This post isn’t to start a conversation about the finance industry and interest rates. It’s to outline TD Bank’s (specifically their Canadian program) “smoke detractor” approach to social media and the way they have humanized their business.

Shortly after the CBC segment aired, @TD_Canada tweeted this:

Td bank

Then this…

I call it a “smoke detractor approach” because they smelt smoke and when there is smoke there’s a PR nightmare waiting to hurt your brand.

Rather than waiting for the social community to negatively tweet at them and manage the backlash they preemptively addressed the story. To further support their efforts, they added a link to a landing page where you could ask questions.

I loved this approach because they: acted fast, took action and offered a solution.

Furthermore, it’s my understanding that TD is contacting their financing partners to remind them of what their refinancing conditions are. This is another example of a company proactively taking action which helps protect their brand. I advocate that having an admired customer experience is a form of brand protection and growth.

In a world where seeing a company fail (see: United Break Guitars and Papa John’s Lady Chinky Eyes) is much more entertaining than seeing one succeed, we should all acknowledge the companies that “get” social media.

I find that most businesses lack character. The one’s that are the most admired have figured out a way to humanize their business. I think TD Bank has done an awesome job at this and they do it very subtly. Case in point, look at their Twitter avatar.

td bank 3

Rather than having the feeling that you’re speaking to a faceless Twitter handle, TD has profiled their social team and humanized their customer engagement.

It boils down to this. The companies that genuinely care about their customers and think long term will be the ones that win.

What other companies are knocking it out of the park with their social media strategy?