As COVID-19 prevention measures are quickly sweeping and impacting the country, banks and credit unions are in a key community role to help communicate and support financial stability. Please join Social Assurance as we tackle some of your top industry questions on navigating coronavirus communications and how to be social at a distance.
During this webinar, we will touch on:
- Structuring your messaging
- Supporting business and retail customers
- Helping your employees communicate
- Monitoring for misinformation
Ben Pankonin 0:06
Well, good morning. Welcome to a social insurance webinar. We are talking about being social at a distance. All of the things that have changed in the last week, what a week or a year it felt like the last week has been. I’ve been painting and you can see my webcam. This is the first time I’ve ever brought this webinar series into my house but I kind of want to introduce you to to my world as things have changed. You know, my wife works from home a lot of days anyway. And today’s no different. Here we are. I’ve got a dog at my feet. Hopefully he doesn’t bark, but maybe I’ll introduce him to you later. And I am joined remotely with Danielle cheney. Hi Danielle.
Dani Chaney 0:58
Hello, how’s it going?
Ben Pankonin 1:00
Well, I think we’re, we’re all trying to adjust. We’re all kind of, you know, we used to do this webinar together in a studio. And, you know, we transitioned to remote this past Wednesday afternoon. And the world feels a lot different
Dani Chaney 1:19
than it does. You’re right. It’s, I think, a first for a lot of our banks and credit unions to be working from home consistently and sort of just trying to understand how to communicate and keep their customers informed.
Ben Pankonin 1:33
Yeah, so today, you know, we’re going to be talking a lot about the messaging aspects of what to do in a crisis. Danny, six months ago, I looked through the slides the other day, we talked about planning for a crisis. But now here
Dani Chaney 1:51
We are here. Yes. We chatted a lot about how it’s good to have a plan in place but you don’t plan for a pandemic like So this is definitely a thing we’re excited to talk about today.
Ben Pankonin 2:04
You know, I’ve reached out to a number of my friends who are in PR. And we’ve talked and brainstormed about different aspects and different ideas. And a lot of the things that we have in our playbook are different, like there’s a lot of things we prepared for that, quite honestly are different. And so we’re going to try to rewrite the playbook. Things are changing quickly. Whether you know, you’re watching the news, or you’re talking around the bank or trying to figure out programs, everything’s changing really quickly. So as of right now, we’re going to try to give you the best advice we can. So one of the things that do you and I kind of shared at the office, this was about three weeks ago, we had some conferences coming up that started last week. I’m actually supposed to be at a conference right now. My march was filled with conference activities. In fact, I was planning to be at home for a handful of days in the entire month of March. What, what a difference that has been. But you know, we sort of about three weeks ago said, hey, maybe some conferences are going to get changed, or we might not shake hands. And so I propose this actually, as an idea. If we had to cancel a conference or couldn’t go, that we were going to run with that the hashtag or the, the sort of mantra being social at a distance. This was, of course, before we, we heard of this new phrase that many of us are adopting, called social distancing. But we’ve said, Hey, we can be social at a distance. And so one of the things that I want to really bring up is that many of us in times like this really need a rallying cry. Right now this has been the rallying cry of our office is that we can be social at a distance. And you’ll see me sign off almost all of my emails with that you’ll see us really lean into that kind of phrase. And for many of us, we need to design something about ourselves about what it is we provide and how we can help in a rally cry. So this is one of the ways we’ve done that here at social assurance, and I think there are a lot of ways that we can do that. But this is one of the ways that that we’ve started using that internally. And we’re going to be talking about some ways that you as financial institutions can do similar strategies. Because it’s not just what we’re doing. To message this isn’t a marketing message. This is part of our purpose, our DNA, it’s a part of our value that we’re producing. Is that we can be social at a distance. We’ve used that internally to say, hey, when we’re having calls like this, whenever possible, let’s use our webcams. Let’s show people that, you know, we don’t know what the person on the other end has. For some of you, I might be the only person you see today and chat with. And so, you know, we want to be an encouragement in that as much as we can. You know, we just don’t know what that world looks like for the other person. So there’s a lot we can do to be social at a distance. So we’re going to be talking about that. But we’re going to be wrapping it into a few different areas. You know, one of the things that if you’ve read the book Good to Great, this is one of the stories that stuck out to me years ago, from Admiral Stockdale You know, he was stuck in the hole in Hanoi Hilton during Vietnam and he said, You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end which you can never afford to lose with this. discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be. It’s this idea that we don’t want to have blind optimism. But we want to remain, you know, we want to retain faith that we will prevail, and at the same time confront the most brutal facts of where we are. And that’s part of the backdrop that we need to have. I’m an eternal optimist. You know, my team would would say that, you know, Danny’s likes the story, mate. Well, Dana, you should tell what I would have always told people about being an enneagram seven.
Dani Chaney 6:37
Here, he is very openly said he listens to sad songs to feel sadness.
Ben Pankonin 6:44
You know, the reality is, even for those of us who are optimists this week, confronts us really strongly, and we want to make sure that we have the facts and not promise things that we can’t follow through on and so, today, I think that’s that’s part of the The backdrop we want to have is that we’re going to be realistic about what we can convey, and how well we can convey those messages. So we’ve really broken that out into three core areas. One of those, you know, we’re talking about marketing. But really what we’re doing is we’re marketing the facts. What is it that we feel like our customers, our community really has to know. So we’re going to be talking about that. You know, we’re going to talk a little bit about sales, which isn’t the right word for it. What it really is, is we’re here to support needs. The reality is, is that emailed with a couple loan officers this morning, we’re going to be swamped. If you’re not swamped already. But we need to figure out how to support those needs in the best way we know how. And so some of that is being able to communicate effectively to make sure that we’re not overburdening those people. And then the third part is how do we give our community some hope in some Extremely uncertain times. And that’s critical to what we want to be able to do as well. So we’re going to be talking about that. I had a quick question in about whether or not we’ll give away the slides. Yes, I will send out slides, we’ll send out. I’ve got some word documents, PDFs, things like that. If you need things, just send me a note. We’ve been we’ve been really transitioning as much of our team, to just being able to support communication messages as possible. So if you’ve got questions, we’ll do everything we can to try to support that in this time. So first of all, when we talk about marketing the facts like what what do we mean by that? You know, being social at a distance is about marketing. It’s about being proactive. It’s about organizing that team of being transparent, and managing all of the platforms. And you know, Danny, I know you’re you’re working on a master’s degree in digital communications. And you’ve had a lot of experience in this PR space. What’s it like to manage all of those platforms at once?
Dani Chaney 9:10
Yeah, you know, a lot of the the core focus of my program is all about social media and PR, which you know, has really changed the market in the past 10 years. So going back to learn all all of the digital platforms and how to manage PR on them. This is really a time where, you know, people who are in marketing can use their excellence to basically communicate, you know, through all the platforms that are necessary. And so yes, this is social media. But this is also your website. This is your mobile app. This is communicating with customers at all different points of contact and trying to reach customers of all different ages because your some of your customers might not follow you on social media, but they might visit your website, they might, you know, not not visit your website, but they might be on the mobile app, just checking their information. So in terms of managing all The platform’s Yes, a lot of branches are still open, a lot of locations are still open. And you know, the insides might be closing in the drive thru, so might be open. So it’s just communicating the right information. And we keep saying, you know, over communicate, if anything, because that gives a clear picture of how you’re available to the community at this time.
Ben Pankonin 10:18
And one of the things we want to talk about is this, this sense that for many of us, I like the visual, I tweeted out my network operation center, and you’re here in it. But you know, network operation center for communication is also really critical. A lot of us have focused on making sure that our systems are up, that it’s secured, that it’s available that people can get access to remote tools and things like that. But communication side also needs a network operation center. So for many of you, you are likely that person who is the key person in there. If you’ve got somebody else you work for or work with You know, one of the things we want to do is is at any time is establish someone else who can help triage information or go gather information for you. Because, you know, simply sitting down and writing that information takes a lot of brainpower. And it takes, you know, stepping away from that day to day in the news, to be able to craft a message that cuts through with clarity. So if you can have someone next to you could be, you know, sistent, it could be could be that you pull somebody over that is a customer service rep that, you know, doesn’t have other things to do. And maybe you’re in a remote location like we’re doing. But as sending them a note and saying, Hey, would you help me? When I need something, I need help to organize that. Because you want to have, you want to make sure you have one source of truth for all of your communication. Because when we separate that out, and we have different people communicating different messages, and we’ll talk about about that with your lending teams, which is even more critical. But right now, you need to make sure that your financial institution has one source of truth for all of communication. So whether that’s social media, whether that’s sending out a press release, whether that’s announcing branch closures or things like that, you need to make sure that, that there’s only one place to go for that. So that becomes really critical. So we’ve got some really interesting things to communicate. And I had a question in a little bit ago, that somebody said, What am I missing? What am I not communicating about like that I, I should be thinking about in this moment. And so we’re going to try to take a step back for all of you and talk about some of those things that we could communicate about DNA, I know that you’ve been working with a lot of your team, receiving a lot of these notifications of closures and things like that.
These are just Some of them but there’s been a lot.
Dani Chaney 13:03
Yeah, I would say probably at the beginning, the thing that people wanted to communicate at first was, you know, we’re here for you, we want to support you, we understand this. And there was a good example of this to the right, this idea that, you know, it’s a day today, sort of it’s a day to day opportunity to understand, you know, are we closing specific lobbies? Are we just going to specific branches being open, a lot of people are communicating obviously, those cleaning practices that you’re cleaning the the teller spaces, and he chairs, things like that. That’s something that a lot of financial brands are communicating and then who to call if so this idea that we maybe don’t need to come in and stop at a branch that some of these communications can be taken digital or that they they can meet digitally. And then like we had kind of just mentioned is where all the ways that you can update to tell people to stay updated on closures or Anything that’s happening in terms of how this might impact how people check their accounts, or if they want to refinance their mortgage or do any of this. And, again, you know, social media is a big part of that, because I do think a majority of your customers are going to be on social media looking for you. But again, that won’t reach anyone, everyone. So that custom landing page or putting it on your website, and then making sure there’s a flag or a an update on your mobile app to say, you know, click here to see XYZ and that might link back to a custom landing page. Same with social media, you might link that to somewhere on your website, like this example to the right. So again, you know, it’s trying to get that information out to the most the most people as possible. And you might have other specific things to communicate in terms of some lobbies, again, might not be open, some will, you know, maybe update every day or every other day, but you know, been and I’ve been talking a lot about over communicating versus under communicating. If anything, a daily update, if not, if things change That’s, that’s something that the public needs to know.
Ben Pankonin 15:03
Yeah. And so one of the things we’ve done as well, if you’re on our listings and reviews, kind of the pro product, what we did is messaged out everybody and said, Hey, if you want, things changed, like for branch information, we can change all of that branch information and push out a notification. Some review sites have, like a link that you can put, hey, there’s like special things today. A lot of times we reserve this for holidays or things like that. But what it’ll do is it’ll essentially say, hair lobbies closed, but you can still come through the drive thru, right, that would be one of the messages that we can have on those. So if you don’t have that, what you can do is, you know, Google is definitely probably the most widely used, if you haven’t claimed your locations on Google. It’s a great reminder to do that. Obviously, you know, at this time, you know, maybe Not a great time to do that. But if you do have your locations claimed on Google or need some help with something, some of that, let us know. But you can message out onto your Google My Business. And you can say you can close all of those branches in one at one spot, or make some of those universal changes. So you can do it through Google. If you have our pro listings and reviews product, you can do it that way. That also updates like 100 other sites, but what that does is kind of gives you that flexibility. So be looking at where you have branch information to close so. And if you don’t have something set up, look at Google as your top one, Facebook as number two, and then probably three is a is Bing. So if you’re kind of looking at where do you want to manage listings and reviews, those would be kind of your first three. So again, we’re in triage stage, like those three would be kind of your biggest priority, you know, other stuff if it doesn’t get updated. You know, it doesn’t get updated at this time. But that would be some stuff to make sure that you’re posting about. We also are seeing some banks that are starting to put those disclosures on their websites. But, you know, there’s a lot of different ways to kind of message those, those landing pages on your homepage are a really good spot to be able to put that. So what do we need to educate about? So I think this is a, this is a tough one. Because, yes, we do want to remind people to do hand washing, but part of our responsibility really is to say, hey, our context, as financial institutions is about finance. So we want to educate you about what we’re doing. And we also want to educate you about how you can gain access to those things. You know, I’ve Read, I don’t know how many emails, many of them for things that I signed up for years ago. Or I bought something from that brand A long time ago. And they’ve said, we’re closely watching the CDC, and their guidance for all of these things. I thought independence bank did a good job of saying, during this time, we’re open, and then went right to the facts of here’s what you need to know about our services. You know, I don’t need to know that you’re closely monitoring all of the CDC in the top part of your message I need to know like, like independence did get me to what’s open, and how can I work with you?
Dani Chaney 18:46
Yeah, and I think another good point here is not only the how to work with you, but again, how requests are being processed. me just like everyone else. And then we were even talking about this. I applied to refinance my home and in that application, process I actually got an automated email back that said, Hey, due to changes in the environment, we are receiving an unusually high number of inquiries, we will be back or communicate with you as soon as possible and then actually took me somewhere to learn about facts and the things that I might need that could help them as they’re getting a lot of processes or a lot of things being requested. So I thought that was great as a consumer to see, hey, at least I know they got my email and they’re sending me somewhere else so I can get them the things that they need in order to make the process quicker so they can serve more of their community.
Ben Pankonin 19:33
Totally agree. Here’s some other great examples of a variety of banks
and different things that they’re doing.
Dani Chaney 19:43
Yeah, and again, you see this on the left this we’re here for you It started out with a we we want to be here for your banking services are open 24 seven into a Hey, you know there is a there are some opportunities to capitalize on the fear of Coronavirus. So this is some information that you might need to know in case something like this happens, and then we have a another take note of this information, we’ve created our landing page for this. And so these are the different ways to communicate clearly. But there’s no reason why you can’t communicate all of this within a matter of a few days, depending on what’s happening in your community. But this is a great option just to cover a variety of different things on this specific, you know, COVID-19 example.
Ben Pankonin 20:24
Yeah, I really appreciate that. I think these are some great examples of, hey, we’re kind of transitioning from, hey, you know, this is an issue, you know, that your bank is probably going to be in a different capacity. lobbies probably going to be close things like that, but hey, what are the scams that they need to be concerned about? I think that that’s, that’s some great messaging to just get out. Some of that in front of us.
So, Danny, you’ve got some pro tips for us.
Dani Chaney 20:55
Yes. So for each section where it’s all focusing on a plan, so If you haven’t already, you should be analyzing your scheduled content. This is one of the things that I’m working on a lot of our partners with is if you have travel tips or summer travel or you know, doing a personal loan for travel or any content like that, you know, it’s best to move that over to your drafts or to cancel that content just to be mindful of these topics and things that that maybe were timely when you were writing about it, but are now no longer timely, again, creating those templates for daily updates. So if you can create a branded template and just have people data daily, switch out, you know, minor color or things like that, that makes it really easy to send out an update makes it branded makes people look for that, you know, each day. Another thing I wanted to put in here is I’ve seen some video updates from presidents. So, you know, we maybe will it once a week or it’s a fun way to kind of engage from your leadership to say, Hey, here’s what’s happening at the bank or credit union and here’s what we want to communicate to the public. And again, as we kind of been saying throughout this over communicate to your customers because they’re all online right now. And maybe that’s not just on social media, it’s their online doing things, whether their kids are online doing homework, and they’re checking things at lunch or whatever that might be, you know, we’re all online, and we’re all looking for a way to stay connected. So anything that you can do to provide people that information that they need his key here.
Ben Pankonin 22:20
Awesome. Yeah, we’re getting some, some fun Twitter traffic, really kind of analyzing some of these things. So I’ll pause on this slide too, because I think there’s some really, really key nuggets that you put together for us which are pay, we’re talking with the president or some of the leadership of your bank personalizing that as much as possible, consider that you’ve got people at the bank that quite honestly, whenever possible, if you can do video, a photo, something, to just let people know that there’s somebody there who has empathy for their specific concern. That’s so critical. So as an overall marketing message, again, this is about instilling confidence in your community and the ability to recover. So the more you can do that, and keep that messaging in front of your community, really the better that is, it doesn’t have to be high quality. Clearly, this is just the, the webcam on my laptop, but you know, being able to just share some of that. And I think even being able to share it, just like this provides that authenticity, that really your customers, your community, need to hear from you. So appreciate those those sentiments. Also, you know, as we talk about sales, we’ve had some great conversations around our office. I’ve had literally 1015 other entrepreneurs who have messaged me about what we’re doing and what they’re doing. Many of them are, are in some really challenging situations. And there’s Trying to figure out how to keep their lights on. And I think, you know, when we look at where we’re at, as a society and what we need to do, it’s about supporting customer needs. I recognize that for us financial institutions, that it is a sales thing, right? For to refinance someone’s loan, that you are making a sale. We need to strip out anything that feels like sales, the emails that I’ve gotten today, I’ve tweeted about some of them incredibly insensitive. It’s, it’s not on target. If you’re reaching out to any of those customers, it’s to help. And so one of the first things we want to do is change really our posture to be that of empathy first. Now, it should be that way anyway, but this is even more direct that we have to start from that posture. When we have a posture of empathy, and we’re sharing with us community that that we’re simply here to help we’re here to listen. You know, our bookkeepers husband is is also a banker that we work with and you know, just hearing some of Todd’s stories of, of sharing with small business owners who are wondering what that next phases. I messaged our bookkeeper and Murray back and said, Emery, would you would you just give Todd a hug? I wish I could. But, you know, we’re, we’re, we’re sort of stuck here right now. That’s really the posture we need to have. We need to let all of our lenders know that that they need to help with those hugs. We also need to inform our sales staff. So as I was messaging with a couple lenders this morning, one of the things that that came up is this high volume of traffic right now. So being able to provide some of your lenders with a key link or understanding.
One of the lenders I messaged with this morning, said, Hey, here’s the link I’m using. And he just gave a link out that said, Hey, with a high volume, obviously, we’re seeing rates at this level, right? So when we have people that are reaching out saying, hey, Adam, looking for an expected, you know, 15 year mortgage rate, what is that? Well, we need to do is empower our frontline mortgage lenders to say, Here’s that link, share this out so that people understand where rates are today and where we think they will, you know, where we think things are, right. So providing some of that justification is really key. Danny mentioned it earlier, those daily updates. You know, I’m doing that with our team, to send them notifications to talk about what’s happening. You know, make sure that everybody’s on the same page. But that’s really something that’s that internal communication that Especially your lenders need to know, every day, what’s changed, who’s available, who’s not, you know, if you have some decrease in capacity, you know, everybody needs to know that and be able to share that load. Also, the programs are changing really fast. I emailed with our state economic director for anybody using the Nebraska area, Tony goines is just an amazing guy. But part of what what he’s struggling with is trying to figure out the justification in our states for SBA disaster loans. Right, that’s, that’s a really important piece. Right now, Nebraska is not designated for disaster relief loans. So that’s something he needs to be able to message with a whole bunch of small business owners. So the banks in our in our area, need to collect some of that survey data so that he can make a case back to the federal government. This is something that you know, being able to have that short line of communication Between your sales staff, and then those of you in communications to be able to say, Hey, here’s what we need. Here’s what we’re seeing in the community. Here’s the latest up to date program. It’s a SBA program. It’s an emergency program, here’s how to message about it. Your frontline staff needs to be there for empathy, they’re not going to be able to uncover all of the facts that they were normally able to do. You know, my friend, Todd normally is able to sit down and read the SBA updates, watch the news, pay attention to what’s going on in his community. Right now, he needs to be on the phone, talking to small business owners who are in a struggling spot. So the more we can do as a communication front to say, here’s the three things you need to know for the next small business you’re talking to. That really helps him to simplify his workflow and really focus on the empathy side that he needs to focus on. So things are changing incredibly fast. So the more we can do that, the better. Yeah, we talked a little bit about supporting needs. You’re not selling, right? That’s that’s not the posture we’re operating on at any regard. We’ve got to caution lenders at times. I think for those of you who are onboarding lenders onto social media and have done that over the last couple years, that’s really a benefit right now, because you can use that to leverage great communication. But we also need to remind lenders that they’re not selling that right now, the message that they need to get out is that of support. So, yes, they need facts. They need to be able to listen, gather a bunch of that information they’re going to they’re going to have some posts that that move forward. This isn’t the time for virality This is the time to To listen and really be supportive. So the more you can state facts, offer help offers somebody to listen to the better. And we’ll get to towards the end of our webinar, I think we’ve got some other ways to message that really key. Sorry for the insensitivity on specific imagery around sales, unfortunately, right now, it’s about handshakes. But, but today, it’s a virtual handshake, right? Like we’ve, we’ve got to make those virtual handshakes. So key things we need to be able to message is, how do we apply for a loan? Like, what is the key way to do that? We need if we don’t message that, well, then what we have happened a lot of the times is people reach out, they make additional phone calls when realistically we just needed them to fill out a form.
You know, I was sitting with my mom a couple years ago, in a waiting room and she said, Hey, what are you doing? I said, I’m working with customers across the country. It’s like 830 in the morning, which is oftentimes a busy time for me on email, and kind of got done. And she said, Well, I prefer calling. And I said, Well, unfortunately, you know, that’s not as efficient. Fortunately, a lot of the people I work with prefer email or text messages. That’s one of the things we’ve got to educate our market on if they need something. The most efficient way to do it is over these digital communications. So the more we can we can justify that for them and educate them, the more efficient we will be at all of those. So looks like we had some people lose sound there for just a second. Hopefully that has come back for you. Let me know if that’s not the case. Could be a GoToWebinar issue. Looks like my internet connection and everything is sound. So I’m going to keep going. Hopefully, that sound is coming back for you. Additionally, supporting needs that community sales approach really is how do you get help? How does How is your brand helping? And how are our payments impacted? Is there anything that’s changed in the way that you’re collecting loans? And how those communities can help? really making sure we’re understanding that it’s a community based sales approach? Danny’s your sound working?
Dani Chaney 32:42
Yeah, yeah, everything’s fine and we’re all I’m not sure if it’s a person by person. I think with so many people logged on and different Wi Fi is everywhere. It might be kind of different for everyone. Just to kind of wrap this one up the In this section we are talking about you need to sales plan for COVID-19. So again, we’ve been talking about this on and off, how to keep up with increasing volume communicate processing times, offer an online calendar for applicants to choose a time to call the lender. So that was something that I was able to easily do in my process too is this, I was able to pick a date, pick a time, that person’s going to call me I had instructions on what to send that person before that. And then again, write a pre approved email to send to those applying if you’re getting a lot of volume. And this isn’t mortgage, maybe this is anything you know, if you’re getting a lot of communications, letting them know that you’ve received their message and that it will take approximately XYZ to get back to them. That’s how you can kind of keep up with this increasing volume and better understanding how to reach out to those customers. And then again, you know, help helping those in need, you know, hold a meeting with your leadership to understand how not only you can help your customers but how you can help your community too. I know Ben and I are seeing a lot of just people asking like what can we do to help support local businesses, how can we buy from them at this time? You know, a lot of people are doing free delivery in the restaurant business, things like that, like how can we best support our community? And that’s to which I know we’re going to get to in this next section? And then how do we communicate that with the audiences? So for all of those local businesses that are being supported by these community banks and credit unions, we want to make sure that we’re still supporting them, and then understanding how that all kind of loops into just overall support community.
Ben Pankonin 34:25
Yeah, no, thanks. Thanks, Danny, I think, yeah, it’s really key that we’re able to communicate on a on a wider scale, what that throughput is, for our loan volume and how we can help in the most efficient way. You’re going to see hospitals doing this as well communicating that, hey, if it’s not an emergency, don’t reach out to us a lot of that type of capacity issue. But I think it’s very important that we do the same and say there’s a high volume. here’s here’s what we’re doing. To help with that, and here’s how we can help you remotely. So those those become really critical.
Dani Chaney 35:07
Yeah. And we received a question and that question was, you know, how do we communicate with our customers if we’re closing our lobby, but our drive thru is open?
Ben Pankonin 35:17
Yeah, I mean, obviously, you know, we’re talking a lot about social media and digital communications and things like that. I did have a couple that were messaging me yesterday as well. What do I post at the at the front door to let people know that, hey, they need to use the drive thru or what do I need to know? to let people know? I think one of those is when you have people coming through the drive thru if you’re working with your teller staff to say, hey, when you’re working on this, just like we said at the beginning, be social at a distance, right? That’s our mantra. Your mantra might be something different, but the way that we share that encouragement to them is to just let them know, Hey, we’re here. Also to let people know that our regular drive thru customers, hey, if you can use digital banking, that will be helpful for all of us. You know, it’s not that we want to turn people away that are coming through the drive thru. But more often than not, we want to be able to let them know that there are other options for them, and that there are options that might be better for them. So now I want to kind of transition as we talk about community to say, hey, what is it like to be social and inspire our community? That’s part of what we need to do as well at this time. We need to help help them I have a friend who owns a high school friend who owns the the neighborhood bar down the street from me. So one of the things I messaged him on Facebook as he was lamenting the fact that he was closing and being forced to close essentially was Hey, can I buy a shirt? Can I, you know, Can Can I buy something from you? Is there something you can sell me? You know, to, one challenge him to think of his business a little bit differently, but also to say, Hey, I, you know, I, my business isn’t closing. In fact, my business is really busy right now. I want to help those people who don’t have that. That’s one of the things we can do, you know, Share, share the opportunities for, for people to think differently and to collaborate, you know, announcing groups that can get together. You might be creating a Facebook group for small business owners. I’ve got one this Thursday, that I’m working with a bunch of small business owners who just are saying, Hey, I’m trying to figure out what to do next. I know they probably don’t understand how to get a small business loan they probably don’t know about What their liquidity looks like, over the next three to six months, they might not know that there are tools to do bill pays and things like that available to them hosting those virtual calls. You know, we’re doing that here over webinars, if that’s something you need help with, we’ve been doing webinars for years. If you need help doing a webinar, you know, we’ll help do that. I think those are great resources for you to really reach a lot of small business owners who know they can’t get to you right now in person, but to be able to share and sometimes turn the audio over and say, hey, let’s brainstorm how do we help this town this community to be stronger during this time? What is it that we can do? I’ve had entrepreneurs reaching out that are in you know, marketing communications, one of my friends is doing is sports marketing. It’s not a great time to be doing sports marketing, but he’s an amazing writer. And he writes amazing stories. He’s saying, hey, how can I help? And yeah, he just wants his talents and, and work to be put to good use. Those are things that we can leverage in every one of our communities. And so sometimes just gathering those together and saying, Hey, we want to listen to you and help you to do that are really powerful. I’ve chatted with Jill a little bit over direct message and shared some of her comments this past week, actually, at a conference, you know, one of the things that, you know, we want to be able to do is say, Hey, here’s what we’re committed to, here’s what we’re doing and reach out to me directly.
You know, I shared last week at a conference that she was sharing out her cell phone number as a way to reach out to people. That’s really powerful, because it shows that you’re available to all of those people, even if it’s just over a text message that can be really powerful and inspiring. But the other things we’re going to talk about are things like mental health. You know, for all of us, as I illustrated some of the things we’re doing here, one of those are insisting that we have check ins with every person throughout our organization, to make sure that someone is checking on them every day, and asking the really poignant questions of how are you doing? How how’s your mental health today? That’s something that we can ask, as employers to say, we want to support that, how can we help you to do that better? What are you coping with? And how can we help with that? Those are things that internally we can communicate really well. And, you know, we’re now being more and more isolated, which, again, as we lean into that and say, you know, what, what are you doing in that isolation are the things that you’re doing physically to help you? Are there things that you’re doing, you know, nutritionally and things like that. We’ll probably be pulling my wife on here and in a week or two to talk a little bit more about that, as she’s a registered dietitian and doing a bunch with nutrition communication right now, but, but those are some really important things. As I lament to her that if I don’t get on the treadmill in the basement, I’m going to gain the COVID-19 here pretty soon. So a lot of those things that that we have to start figuring out, but the ways we inspire our community are really important as we think about how they can help. Danny, we talked a little bit about, you know, how we can support small businesses. But accessibility is a really important one.
Dani Chaney 41:42
Oh, yeah, yeah. So you know, this whole idea of giving hope is, again, we use this phrase igniting your community, this idea of bringing people together and helping those in need. And again, it’s supporting those small businesses and then helping spread messages about things like food delivery. I mean, this is impacting your customers. And then overall support in terms of how can you raise funds for food banks and humane societies? You know, how can you support these organizations that people might not feel like they can go into right now, but they’re doing food delivery services and things like that? Who is your customers are in need? And how can you best help your customers and this time of need and support those small businesses that you’ve been supporting financially as well. So this is a time where I think a lot of people are coming together to make sure that there’s no one hungry or no one kind of left behind as we’re all trying to figure out, you know, how long we’ll be self contained.
Ben Pankonin 42:38
Yeah. So we’ve seen some businesses, one of my friends who sells a bunch of things online, she’s posting. Hey, just by sharing this, I’ll give, you know, I’ll give $5 to the local food bank. We’re going to see a lot of those opportunities and a lot of really innovative entrepreneurs in your community that are saying, here’s a way we know the food banks need it. We know these different places need it. Let’s find a way to do that. Some of what we get the responsibility of doing in helping your market for financial institutions is to simply say, Let’s cheer for those. Let’s cheer for those advocates in our community because it’s not just us, giving and being generous to the people who need it. It’s also getting behind those people who are making sacrifices in our community, for others, and I think celebrating those stories is a really important piece and appreciate that, Danny, I think, when we think about how do we want to put, you know, this Mainstreet first, a lot of us are struggling with, you know what happens to our 401k. Now’s not quite yet the time, I think, to be talking a lot about that. Although we do have a lot of concern in our communities. It’s the time to beat Talking about Main Street and what’s happening there. We’ve got a lot of people that are on the edge. financially. We’ve got a lot of parents at home with kids, figuring out how they’re now going to homeschool. While they’re there while their teachers give them some resources, but, you know, they have a huge challenge. So thinking about them and in that mindset, we certainly can help. I’ve seen a couple posts and I it was too late this morning to get those into the slide deck about posting about financial literacy. You know, we’ve got an opportunity parents are at home if you’ve got some creative ways to help parents deal with, you know, their kids being at home and trying to help them with some learning opportunities. These are great, great things to be messaging about. So community, some some takeaways right now. Dan, we’ve got a relief for small business owners, obviously buying goods, letting them know that we’re here we’ve we’d like to support them in any way we can. And even sharing those opportunities to buy locally, are really important. And then figuring out how to, like, either do donations or match donations or even just cheer for those donations, I think are fantastic opportunities right now.
Dani Chaney 45:20
Yeah. And and, you know, it’s not just now it’s later to, you know, what can we do later once, you know, we’re all back out and it’s visiting them, you know, a lot of our partners use, like, hashtag local, or they encourage a lot of like visiting local on Wednesdays and things like that, too. But one of the things that I work on a lot with our partners too, is just running campaigns to support local business. So you know, bringing that that infrastructure back to the community and celebrating local businesses and then helping them get the support they need later as well. So this is a tough time for a lot of those businesses. Like Ben said, he knows people who are affected by this. I know a lot of teachers and things like that. I really am By all of this, as you know, how can we get businesses and people these resources that they need, you know, later on to be able to continue and to get back to normal?
Ben Pankonin 46:12
Yeah, if you’ve got retail stores, one of the things we’ve done in our community I just saw, they’re starting to post on signs on the parking meters downtown. So that you can say, hey, we’ve got some retail stores that that want to or need to remain open. And they’re essentially blocking off those those meters and saying, drive up. This isn’t long term parking, this is short term, park here and they’ll deliver it to your to your specific car. So you’re essentially doing drive up ordering for certain things. There’s some some real innovative ideas that people are starting to pull off in that and I think those are really effective. So celebrating those whenever possible, is really powerful. Now, one of the things we Want to give you as some takeaways are some ways to really revamp the way you’re communicating? This was one of the ones I had worked on a bit to say, hey, as financial institutions, how do we think about honing that message and giving our community our plan? What is it that we can rally behind? There’s Rico, by the way, he’s held it together, but it’s starting to bark now. I’ll introduce him to you later. So giving hope one of those is to think about something like this, this alliteration or this sort of ability to say what is local mean? means listening means we’re going to operate, we’re going to stay operational as much as we can, we’re going to communicate and that communicate is about our community, right? The sort of center of our local messages about community. We’re going to assist we’re going to We’re going to give you assistance whenever we can. Whether it’s restructuring, refinancing rebuilding, we’re going to assist in any way we can, we’re going to learn everything that we’re doing together, whether we’re gathering small business owners, or gathering lenders together, we’re going to try to learn from each other in order to move quicker. So, you know, I’ll send out some resources like this, if you want to use those in your marketing to be able to say, Hey, here’s, here’s a message for how we’re responding. In this way, if that helps you center your team, and think about local in an innovative way, where think about the way you market and share with them the facts, this can be a way for you to kind of center those messages. So I’ll share out as a response to this webinar. anybody’s registered, I’ll share out some PDFs like this, that you can certainly use in any way that you want to you know, we had some Some great attendance today on the webinar. We’ve got a lot of questions coming in on how to deal with these three areas of the facts, supporting the needs of our community and giving them hope. We will continue pushing out more messaging around this. Use it in your internal marketing, use it in your external marketing. If you’ve got questions, you’ve got my mobile number, you’ve got Danielle’s mobile number, reach out to us. We truly want to be social at a distance. But we want to, we want to hear from you as well. So if you’ve got some stories of things that are happening in your community, if you get some, some questions about how to message how to get that content out there, we’re here to push that out. we’ve, we’ve transitioned some staff so so we’ve got more staff available for messaging like this than we’ve had in the past. So If there’s anything you need, don’t hesitate to reach out.
Dani, thanks for joining with us today.
Dani Chaney 50:08
Yeah, I have enjoyed working with a lot of community banks and credit unions during this time to just kind of help with messaging. And like Ben said, I’m here to kind of help with that messaging component and kind of help you guys communicate at a distance and make sure that your communities are informed and kind of know what to do moving forward as well.
Ben Pankonin 50:28
Well, thanks for thanks for all that. Every one of you do to help support our communities. We truly need you at this time. And, again, if there’s anything we can do to just virtually give you a hug right now, I know that it’s, it’s a challenging time, and so stick with it. We’ll continue trying to support you in any way we can and hope to catch up with you sometime soon.