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“Touch the Ball”

November 3, 2010

Orange. Ball. Online.

First thought that pops in your head? 

Yes. That is exactly right.

Last weekend, I ran through Central Park to take advantage of the fall weather and foliage. But, rounding the first corner, bright orange banners dotted the streetscape and outshined the fall landscape. The banners are in place for the ING New York City Marathon on Nov. 7 and will function as orange beacons, guiding racers along the park route. More to my point, in seconds, I identified the ING DIRECT sponsorship.

ING DIRECT draws you in with its flashy orange advertising scheme and eccentric marketing slogans, like “Fees Wrecking Your Checking,” but once through the door, it welcomes you into a community of likeminded individuals: the savers’ community. Its simple, open, yet innovative platform creates the perfect environment to cultivate social media initiatives. It takes monotonous but important topics, like finance, saving and banking and builds a vibrant, spirited metropolis that everyone wants to be a part of.

“We the Savers”

“We the Savers,” is probably ING DIRECT’s most influential social media tool. A corporate blog created for the online community that promotes, well, a community that saves 😉 Now, doesn’t that appeal to you even without visiting the site?

The latest posts include topics like: “What does a “Saver” costume look like?” or “Sex, lies and bank accounts: What men & women REALLY think about mates and money.” or “Tackling Retirement, Piece by Piece.” A quick excerpt:

It’s National Save for Retirement Week, Savers. We don’t know if it’s quite as popular as Shark Week or Senior Week, but we sure hope Congress’ resolution to increase personal financial literacy and raise public awareness about saving for retirement catches on.

The blog tackles the challenging financial topics with relatable story angles that people want to read. Some recent entries posted 90 to 150 comments each. And that is only people who commented.

ING DIRECT mingles the virtual world with the physical world by way of café and coffee. Yes, the only building you do business in, outside your home, is a café (in select cities). ING DIRECT encourages customers to grab a latte, surf the Internet for free, network and attend free events hosted at the café throughout the year. And while surfing the Internet, sipping your coffee and networking with friends, you can even set up an appointment with an ING DIRECT representative.

@INGDIRECT – 14,235 followers as of 11/3/10

The orange ball tweets, too. Again, it uses a similar, down to earth approach with its messages: for example:

Here are some ways to overcome common money fears. Unfortunately it does nothing for overcoming the fear of spiders.

ING DIRECT Facebook Page – 26,617 fans as 11/3/10

From the financial perks of marriage to saving for retirement, each day ING DIRECT leads a conversation on Facebook about savings. It properly utilizes Facebook as a space to create and build relationships by stimulating discussions and exchanges within the community.

Now, we know ING DIRECT effectively uses the social media tools. But, why does it work? What is its secret?

ING DIRECT communicates with a consistent, clear and unassuming voice. It effectively facilitates genuine conversations by speaking honestly and respectfully and by conveying messages in a relatable and human way. It sounds simple, but it isn’t.

I encourage you to click-through its website, for instance, the Flickr site’s fun and engaging rhetoric captured my attention. The pictures let us peek into the “orange world,” by including snapshots like a marketing brainstorm session and a big orange shoe sculpture. But what’s most impressive and a key to its success is the subtle way ING DIRECT shares the experience with us, the customer, by placing commentary under the photos, essentially creating a conversation that compels people to scroll down the page.

Since ING DIRECT is a young company, it leverages this element over established businesses, who struggle to let go of ardent business practices and procedures. ING DIRECT embraces the evolving media landscape and is always adapting to meet those changes head-on.

Let’s just say, ING DIRECT knows how to offer an experience while other banks and companies still depend on the same monotonous, dull language.

I urge you to take a trip and “touch the ball,” you won’t be disappointed.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. November 4, 2010 4:59 pm

    this makes me want to become an ing saver too!

  2. Josh Hutchinson permalink
    November 3, 2010 8:56 pm

    I have been an “Orange Saver” since 2001. I couldn’t agree more. The down to earth advertising is what made me go to the website. Then it was the high interest rates no fees that kept me there.

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