State Farm Online Banking An informational campaign production to increase awareness of the benefits to choosing a fully virtual banking partner - Alfonzo Berry

RESEARCH

Project Overview

This internship project is an informational campaign production on the behalf of State Farm Online banking; in efforts to highlight why it is beneficial to transition to Online Banking. This project is a requirement for the Professional Media Internship course offered at Savannah State University under the Journalism and Mass Communication concentrations. Specifications were set by the course instructor to demonstrate the acquired skills of department junior and senior level students.

Background Research

Online banking is a technology wave that has recently become popular, however this innovative development has been around for as far back as the 1980’s. According to Sarreal (2016),

New York City was the first place in the U.S. to test out the innovative way of doing business by providing remote services as four of its major banks — Citibank, Chase Manhattan, Chemical Bank and Manufacturers Hanover — made home-banking access available to their customers. Throughout online banking history, customers have been slow to adopt this new method of banking (para. 5).

Although this may be true, the system has come very far today as oppose to what online banking was in the 1980’s. To further expound, Sarreal (2016) explains how “the phrase referred to the use of a terminal, keyboard and television or computer monitor to access one’s bank account using a landline telephone” (para. 4). Since then, the system has cultivated into providing the public with a fully virtual banking option that offers every service that any other brick-and-mortar location may render. Together with unique qualities such as mobile deposits, smartphone apps, and text message notification systems, consumers are beginning to see why online banking companies are an advantageous substitute to the traditional brick-and-mortar method. Be that as it may, the field of internet banking still has room for improvement. Therefore the student will aim to formulate what contingencies play part in most, if not all American adults not integrating from traditional to online banking.

In the course of performing secondary research by obtaining information from articles and past studies pertaining to the topic, a greater understanding of the phenomena was gained by the analyst. Data indicating how many U.S. citizens use some form of online banking was a shocking discovery considering the previous speculations. According to the Pew Research Center (2013), “Fifty-one percent of U.S. adults, or 61% of internet users, bank online. Thirty-two percent of U.S. adults, or 35% of cell phone owners, bank using their mobile phones” (para. 1). Surprisingly, over half of U.S. citizens use some form of online banking. This helps to shift into the next piece of necessary information for the research efforts.

In order to move forward, a question is raised: If so many Americans are online bankers, which specific demographics are most prominent in this industry? Young adults (ages 18-29) and Whites report the most significant increases for online banking. In 2010, 55% of 18-29 year-olds said they banked online; in 2013, 66% of that group did so. In 2010, 47% of Whites said they banked online; in 2013, 54% of that group did so (Pew Research Center, 2013).

Using the data above as a reference, several inferences can be made. Specifically, there is now enough information to determine that most U.S. citizens whom are enrolled in online banking are under the age of 30; and of that group, a majority of them are White Americans; however, only a third of cell phone owners use the device to access online banking. Now that this information is recognized, the researcher knows that U.S. citizens whom are minorities; 30 years of age and up; and cell phone owners should not be overlooked in marketing strategies. Provided that this audience is least represented within the online banking community. Equally, is to determine why the target audience mentioned above has yet to acclimatize to the pioneering banking option. Comparatively, we must recognize what Americans in general, fear about online banking.

According to US News, Americans six biggest fears when it comes to online banking are: Identity Theft, Technology Hiccups, Misuse of Information, Lack of Documentation, A Lost or Stolen Phone, and Fake Smartphone Applications (Calonia, 2014). Understanding these concerns is the first step to identifying which State Farm Online Banking features provides services that are effective in avoiding burdens, such as those that are mentioned above. Even so, these fears are merely a reflection of the entire U.S. citizen adult population. As mentioned earlier, those over the age of 30 show a significant decrease in internet usage according to several sources. Be that as it may, it is necessary for the researcher to further investigate the challenges faced by elderly Americans when it comes to technology and the internet.

Elderly adults face challenges when trying to adopt new technologies. Some of those barriers are as follows: (a) Physical Challenges [such as health conditions that may affect coordination, reading, or other daily activities]; (b) Skepticism about the benefits of technology, [additionally, 49% of elderly adults who are non-internet users agree that they are at a loss due to all of the information the web provides that they miss out on, while the rest of the group (more than half) disagree with that statement]; and (c) trouble learning how to use new technology, [77% of elderly adults responded that they would need help with a new device] (Smith, Pew Research Center, 2014). Given these points, to wrap up the secondary research efforts, the researcher must specify the advantages and disadvantages of online banking.

According to NASDAQ, the three major downfalls to online banking are lack of security, transaction issues, and poor budgeting (Young, 2014). To further elaborate, Young (2014), states that “The new millennium is the age of the computer hacker and identity theft is one of the most widespread social diseases in America and around the world. As such, despite every bank's best effort to keep its website secure, unfortunately nothing is foolproof and there is always at least a slight risk that someone somewhere will hack into your account and gain access to sensitive information” (para. 9). Furthermore, Young proceeds by asserting that some things are better suited to be done in person when it comes to banking, such as depositing cash, or making international transactions.

Conversely Crone (2015), finds that with online banking “You have flexibility to do your banking wherever there’s Internet service, including on your phone, making it easy to transfer money, pay bills online, or monitor account activity” (para. 3). She continues with affirming that Internet Banks have lower costs for the consumer, and typically provide better customer service, along with more reward opportunities. This can help to lower fees and raise interest return on deposits (Young, 2015).

In order to maximize the efforts for the remainder of the campaign, it is imperative to employ the information collected when developing solutions to provide consumer with. Therefore, the practitioner will develop a strategic message which highlights services that State Farm Online Banking offers that are adequate alternatives to the threats listed above. To further explore this phenomena, a survey of 25 questions were created to gauge respondent’s opinions of things that matter most to them when selecting an online banking option.

Methodology

i. Method

The purpose of this awareness/informational campaign was to first discover, and then inform the consumer of the importance and advantages of State Farm Online Banking. In the approach of providing useful alternatives for a relatively threatening enterprise.

ii. Sample Size and Description

For this portion of the research, the sample size was 145 volunteers whom all were over the age of 18, but most of individuals were under the age of 30. These individuals were expected to have at least one source of income, have some knowledge of technology and the internet, and has previously held or considering holding some kind of bank account.

iii. Sample Selection Technique

The sample selection technique implemented was a non-random, convenience sample. Participants were selected based on their availability and willingness to take the survey to assure the most honest and diversified responses. In addition to the consideration that all of those over the age of 18 meet the minimum requirement to hold an online bank account.

iv. Data Collection Technique

The survey was made available via online through Google Forms so that participants did not need to be present with the investigator at the time of responding to the questions. This also helped to gather information from a larger range of people. This survey was made available from Friday, February 17th, at 5:00 p.m. EST and ended Friday, February 24th, at 5:00 p.m. EST. Submissions were reviewed for any corrections necessary and calculated on Sunday, February 26th, 2017 by 11:00 p.m. The survey was made available through text message, picture scanner, email, and group messages via an online link and QR code that was made available prior to the survey being available on the set date. All persons were eligible to share the link with anyone over the age of 18 due to the nature of the research focus.

v. Procedures

In order to ensure reliable results, a total of 25 questions were listed to those who took the survey. 20 of those questions were used to gauge the volunteers opinion on services that matter most to them when selecting a virtual banking option in addition to questions that indicate which form of banking they prefer more Traditional or Online. This survey was provided to a non-random convenience sample of males and females over the age of 18, inclusive of open-ended, range, and multiple choice questions.

vi. Ethical Considerations

To ensure accordance of ethical principles established when conducting research, a consent form was provided to all volunteers prior to administering the survey. This consent form included the purpose of the study, the student, course, and instructor information, along with informing the volunteers that they could withdraw at any time in the survey, are not required to answer every question if they do not wish, and that all of their responses were fully confidential and that the only person they will be shared with is the instructor of the course, Professor Novella Holmes.

vii. Data Analysis Strategy

Data from the surveys were collected through the Google Forms Excel Software. The sheet was used as a visual for responses provided, in addition to a guide for analyzing data. Reported data within the report is equipped with visuals to represent the findings.

Findings

After reviewing the results from the survey administered, responses showed that most volunteers were at the least, somewhat familiar with State Farm Insurance Companies and the services they offer. In closer detail, 26.2% of those who took the survey were not at all familiar with the company or the services available. While 29.7% were slightly familiar; 25.5% moderately familiar; 12.4% very familiar, and 6.2% very familiar. This is a good indication that most Americans are at least somewhat familiar with the State Farm brand, and realize that they offer more than one service. Refer to (Figure 1.1) one to see the results from the companies brand awareness.

As mentioned earlier, White Americans adults under 30 are the primary demographic that uses online banking. As a result thereof, the survey was intended to reach those whom do not fit in that category. Data from the survey reported that 93.7% of those that took the survey were African-American; moreover Whites, Pacific Islanders, Native Americans, and Hispanics only made up 0.7% each of survey participants. While these results represent one component of the target audience, only 22.2% of the volunteers were age 30 and over. More specifically, 6.9% were between ages 30-34; 2.8% 35-40; 7.6% 41-50; 3.5% 51-64, and 1.4 % that are age 65 and up. On the positive note, this help supports the view that the older consumers use some form of technology, but are not hardly as engaged as those under 30.

Volunteers were asked what services matter most to them when selecting an online banking option. 31.5% reported 24/7 customer care as (Figure 2.1) shows; 36.4% selected high quality cyber-security software; and 25.2% chose accurate account balance information. Furthermore, as (Figure 3.1) shows, 60.4% of the 145 respondents reported that they feel comfortable with uploading personal documents via a smart device. It can be suggested that the responses to these questions indicate that American consumers are starting to become more comfortable with uploading personal documents through their devices. In the event that their personal information is protected by a high quality cyber-security system.

Figure 2.1/ Figure 3.1

In the final analysis, using the data from the survey, several findings were made to assist the practitioner in efforts of providing solutions to the client for the threats posed. Major implications are that consumers know the State Farm name, however they could be more informed as to what the corporation specifically offers. Second, is that Americans are beginning to trust technology more, and ultimately software to protect them against identity theft or misuse of their personal information. As has been noted, it is imperative that cyber-security is a given when it consumers think of State Farm Online Banking. For that reason, features like waived ATM fees and interest accruing checking accounts should be what consumers see as the trademark for State Farm Online Banking.

PLANNING

The projected budget from the client was set to $250. As an incentive to increase applicants, each individual who submitted an application automatically was entered into the drawing pool. 3x a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday) until March 31st. Winners were awarded a $20 voucher that will be applied to the newly instated bank account at the end of the client contract agreement. Community outreach events with an informational table furnished with documents containing information about services the client offers and loan applications directly reflecting the client’s official website were administered to increase exposure of client services and benefits. Funding was provided by the office of Vernon Donovan State Farm.

Computer software such as Microsoft Office and the Adobe Creative Suite applications were accessed through the Savannah State University Journalism and Mass Communications Department. Flash drive, laptop, and calculator were already owned by the student. Traveling expenses and printing fees for printed documents were covered by the practitioner.

Campaign Goal

The overall goal of the campaign is to bring awareness to and highlights the advantages of choosing State Farm as an online banking option.

Target Audience: Adults that have a steady flow of income, are not enrolled in online banking, and at least 18 years of age

Stakeholders: American adults needing a better alternative to the traditional banking system

The goal is to identify how consumer’s view online banking, understanding what they enjoy the most out of the business concept, what they dislike the most, and how to provide solutions to those reported results. Throughout the research phase, it was found that many Americans are either willing to or already employing some form of online banking. Although this may be true, cyber-security is still a number one priority for consumers. Still then, they are willing to trust providers in securing their personal information. Given these points, American adults are heading in the right direction when it comes to the continued development of the online banking system.

Objectives

Objective 1: To increase consumer awareness of the products and features that State Farm Online Banking offers by 10%, no later than March 24th, 2017.

A survey will be created to be used as a tool of measurement to indicate what consumers think matters most when concerning the online banking phenomena. This will serve as the evaluation phase of the campaign. During this phase, the data from the survey will be collected to help evaluate what steps the investigator must take next in order to be successful in the campaign endeavors and advertising the products offered by the client. Additionally, this phase will assist in reflecting on what can be done better for future campaign efforts, in terms of planning and implementation. This objective will be met by creating, distributing, and collecting data from the survey in a timely manner, so that the next phase of the campaign may begin. Correspondingly with quick informational facts about State Farm Online Banking that will be available at community outreach events during the campaign implementation phase. This objective will be met no later than March 24th, 2017.

Objective 2: To enroll at least 5 individuals that are age 25 and older, have a steady source of income, and a minority race in America, i.e. (Black, Asian, Hispanic, or Pacific Islander) in a State Farm Online Bank account by March 25th, 2017.

According to the data collected, over half of those Americans who have an online bank account are White adults under the age of 30. As a result, it is important to provide solutions that are inclusive of those demographics whom are not sufficient in holding a cyber banking account. This objective will be met by providing deliverables through community outreach in target areas specific to the target audience.

Objective 3: To enroll a minimum of 10 individuals for a State Farm Online Banking account no later than March 27th, 2017.

Using the research as a guide, State Farm Online Banking offers many features that are viable solutions to the fears and threats that Americans identified for cyber banks, such as: ATM fees, Monthly Fees, Access to deposits, lack of efficient cyber security, and interest accruing accounts with competitive rates. Consequently, the researcher will focus on highlighting these features when marketing to the target audience. This objective will be met by deliverables in the nature of community outreach, and raffle drawings for applicants.

Key Messages and Themes

Key Messages

• Security of your personal information is our top priority

• Fully virtual, fully accessible

• Accurate account information

• No additional or unexpected fees

• State Farm is more than just an Insurance Company

Themes

• Everything that the competitors have to offer, plus more, specific to the consumers wants and needs

• A company that prides its quality and services provided by being the first, and best option, in everything that the State Farm Insurance Company offers.

Channels and Strategies

The strategy of the campaign is to develop new and personal relationships with the community through outreach programs. Using a non-aggressive marketing tactic to show the target audience why State Farm is a viable option for online banking. The Channels of Media that will be implemented are as follows:

Media Channels (For Print)

1. Campaign News Release

2. Fact Sheet

3. Media Advisory

These print media channels were selected as a tool to the community outreach events that have been planned for the campaign. During these events, the media can be contacted to provide further exposure, while the fact sheet can serve as quick information for the public to be informed on during the events.

Non-Media

• Community Outreach Events

• Sweepstakes

• Raffle Drawing

• Information Table

These deliverables were implemented in efforts to make the marketing of State Farm Online Banking interactive. Ultimately to create an environment where consumers are enthused and naturally gravitate towards feeling that they are making less of a business option, and more of a choice of joining a family. During the outreach events, there will be activities for parents, children, and the older adults, all of which in some form, educates attendees about State Farm Online Banking.

Detailed Calendar

Calendar Table

List of Skills Needed

i. Skills needed: Secondary and Primary Research, the ability to find scholarly references and literature reviews accompanied with the knowledge of APA format. Furthermore, the knowledge of different ways to practice and implement primary research; Microsoft Office Proficient, the ability to set page margins, format text, and add graph art or visuals to a legal document. In addition to the understanding that the software may be incorrect at times so the user should double-check all documents prior to approving; Adobe Acrobat Proficient, knowledge of Adobe InDesign, Photoshop, and Illustrator in order to create documents from scratch or edit any images or visuals, and otherwise to create deliverables for print; data analysis, being able to understand summarized data, and data spreadsheets in order to properly analyze data; budgeting; Google Forms Knowledge, knowledge of how to create an online survey through Google Forms that can be made available to the public and accessible from most smart devices, moreover the knowledge of creating a consent statement that follows research protocol; Campaign Principles and Production.

ii. Software Needed: Microsoft Office, Adobe Acrobat, Google Drive (Forms, Excel), SPSS, Adobe CS6, Internet Explorer

iii. Hardware Needed: Computer, Desk, Power Outlet, Flash Drive, Pencil, Paper, and Calculator.

Budget

Budget Table

Deliverables

Fact Sheet
Photo Op Advisory
Raffle Drawing Summary
News Release
Community Outreach Summary
Cold-Call Script
Cold-Call Script (2)
Auto Loan Application
Auto Loan Application (2)
Personal Loan Application
Personal Loan Application (2)
Brochure (Outside)
Brochure (Inside)

IMPLEMENTATION

Community Outreach Event

In order to achieve the campaign goal of bringing awareness to and highlighting the advantages of choosing State Farm as an online banking option, the practitioner chose community outreach events to implement twice a week over a 3 week period in March.

Informational Table

In order to ensure credibility and execute the objective of increasing consumer awareness of the products and features that State Farm Online Banking offers by 10%, the student furnished the table with fact sheets, brochures, and loan applications, all of which contained accurate information from the clients official website.

Loan Applications

Personal and Auto Loan applications were made available in efforts to achieve the objective of enrolling at least 5 individuals that are age 25 and older, have a steady source of income, and a minority race in America in a State Farm Online Bank account.

Informational Brochures

It was understood from the gathered research that the target audience values credible information. Consequently, informational brochures were put in place to provide specific details about State Farm Online Banking account options, including loan rates, contact information and the company mission statement.

Additional Tactics

Due to the nature of the campaign, the contractor developed news releases and photo op advisories to send to local news affiliates to gain additional coverage.

Additional Photos

EVALUATION

Primary Summative Evaluation

To validate the effectiveness of the campaign efforts, the target audience was given an additional survey to evaluate if the raffle drawing and outreach events impacted brand awareness. Using the research survey as a blueprint, the evaluation survey applied additional questions; specifically to measure if the key message was comprehended and objectives achieved. Respectively, the survey aims to eliminate the ‘Z factor’ by using questions to identify how the target audience was able to recall the message, if at all.

Campaign Goal

At the end of this campaign, the goal is to bring awareness to and highlight the advantages of choosing State Farm as an online banking option.

Objectives

Objective 1: To increase consumer awareness of the products and features that State Farm Online Banking offers by 10%, no later than March 24th, 2017.

i. Provided an information table furnished with fact sheets, brochures, and loan applications containing information that directly reflects internship official website.

Objective 2: To enroll at least 5 individuals that are age 25 and older, have a steady source of income, and a minority race in America, i.e. (Black, Asian, Hispanic, or Pacific Islander) in a State Farm Online Bank account by March 25th, 2017.

ii. Provided a printed version of Personal and Auto Loan applications in efforts to make the application process for target audience quick and effortless in heavy-traffic socially interactive areas.

Objective 3: To enroll a minimum of 10 individuals for a State Farm Online Banking account no later than March 27th, 2017.

iii. Administered several community outreach events designed to inform the target audience of the benefits and specific details of attaining a State Farm Online Bank account.

Given the time constraints and amount of available resources two of three objectives could be achieved:

Objective 1: To increase consumer awareness of the products and features that State Farm Online Banking offers by 10%, no later than March 24th, 2017.

According to the results from the evaluation survey, a 32.3% increase occurred for awareness of State Farm financial services. Brochures and Fact Sheets were furnished on an informational table during community outreach events. These documents reflected accurate information that could be found on the internship site national website. It should be noted that respondents were asked to take the survey following their interaction with the practitioner during the events.

Objective 3: To enroll a minimum of 10 individuals for a State Farm Online Banking account no later than March 27th, 2017.

Evidence from the survey indicates that of the 32 survey respondents six applied for a loan. While there were some individuals who declined to take a survey, eleven applications total were submitted over the course of the campaign. Providing credible information about the services offered by the client and paper applications made available was an intricate component in achieving this objective.

Implementation Efforts

During the implementation phase most activities took time to take place. Limitations with legal permissions was a major factor. Most content could not be published, distributed, or posted via social media seeing that the intern is not an official State Farm employee. Considering that the intern site is a local business franchise from a larger corporation, community relationships were important. However, with the first locations set, the target audience did not respond as projected. Additionally intern representatives were unable to accompany the intern during the events due to schedule changes. This caused the events to be relocated to the campus of Savannah State University, which turned out to be a reasonable location to reach the target audience in high traffic socially interactive areas. Considering the circumstances, the intern was still able to achieve two of the three objectives set and reach the target audience.

The following were the deliverables implemented for the campaign to strategically achieve the goals and objectives of the campaign:

a. Brochure: A brochure was created to inform the audience on the specific details, loan terms, and loan rates for a State Farm Auto loan. In addition to the company mission statement, key offerings, and contact information for a local State Farm office. During the outreach events, the brochures could be found on the information table.

b. Press Release: A news release was implemented in order to gain additional exposure for the campaign and the community outreach events. This news release expanded on the time and locations for the outreach events and also explained what the purpose of these events were for. (This release was not sent out to local news affiliates due to lack of rights to advertise company logo and marketing efforts.)

c. Fact Sheet: In order to provide quick answers to frequently asked questions, a fact sheet was implemented. On the fact sheet the company’s mission and vision was provided, information regarding account security and account options, details on State Farms position against competitors, and internship official website web address. During the outreach events, the fact sheets could be found on the information table.

d. Photo Op Advisory: A photo op advisory was implemented to gain positive media exposure for the intern site and community outreach event. Drafted for immediate release on March 22nd, 2017, the advisory was created to send to local news affiliates informing the date, location, and other specifics of the community outreach events.

e. Raffle Drawing: During the campaign, the intern site provided a budget of $250, which was used to distribute a gift card to random applicants at $20 each; as an incentive to increase applicants. Each applicant was at least 18 years of age and the $20 voucher was either redeemed for cash, or applied to the newly instated bank account.

f. Community Outreach Event: As part of the campaign, the intern planned and scheduled a minimum of 3 community outreach events for the intern site with an informational table about State Farm and its offered products. These events took place at Daffin Park on Thursday, March 16th, 2017 and in the Student Union rotunda on Thursday, March 30th and Friday, March 31st, 2017.

g. Printable Loan Applications: Paper applications for personal and auto loans were made available during the community outreach events mentioned above. This was implemented to give the target audience an opportunity to apply for loans on-site.

h. Cold-Call Script: A Cold-Call script was implemented for the practitioner to follow when calling local car dealerships. During the campaign, this script was used as a guide to provide quick, accurate, and relevant information regarding State Farm Auto Loan options to potential business partners with account leads.

Methodology

i. Method

The purpose of this awareness/informational campaign was to first discover, and inform the consumer of the importance and advantages of State Farm Online Banking. In the approach of providing useful alternatives for a relatively threatening enterprise.

ii. Sample Size and Description

For this portion of the research, the sample size required was 25, however 32 volunteers took the survey, all of which at least 18 years of age. Most of the individuals were between the ages of 18 and 29 and all were U.S. citizens. Furthermore, most respondents reported a salary of less than 45k annually. However, data indicated that most of the 32 adults who took the survey were at least moderately familiar with the services offered by State Farm,

iii. Sample Selection Technique

The sample selection technique implemented was a non-random, convenience sample. Participants were selected based on their availability and willingness to take the survey prior to interacting at the community outreach events. This was done to best measure the outcome of the tactics and strategies used to eliminate the ‘Z factor’ for the campaign. In addition to the consideration that all of those over the age of 18 met the minimum requirement to hold an online bank account.

iv. Data Collection Technique

The survey was made available via online through Google Forms so that participants could access the survey instantly, or at their convenience prior to the outreach events. This also helped to gather information from a more specific perspective for the evaluation phase. This survey was made available on Thursday, March 30th, and Friday, March 31st, 2017. Submissions were reviewed for any corrections necessary and calculated on Sunday, April 2nd, 2017 by 11:00 p.m. The survey was made available through text message, email, web address, and group messages via an online link and QR code that was made available prior to the survey being available on the set date. All persons were eligible to share the link with anyone over the age of 18 due to the nature of the research focus.

v. Procedures

In order to effectively evaluate results, the previous 25 questions were listed with an additional seven questions set in place to measure how respondents recalled the projected message. 20 of those questions were used to gauge the volunteers opinion on services that matter most to them when selecting a virtual banking option in addition to questions that indicate which form of banking they prefer more Traditional or Online. This survey was provided to a non-random convenience sample of males and females over the age of 18, inclusive of open-ended, range, and multiple choice questions.

vi. Ethical Considerations

To ensure accordance of ethical principles established when conducting research, a consent form was provided to all volunteers prior to administering the survey. This consent form included the purpose of the study, the intern, course, and instructor information, along with informing the volunteers that they could withdraw at any time in the survey, are not required to answer every question if they do not wish, and that all of their responses were fully confidential and that the only person they will be shared with is the instructor of the course, Professor Novella Holmes.

vii. Data Analysis Strategy

Data from the surveys were collected through the Google Forms Excel Software. The sheet was used as a visual for responses provided, in addition to a guide for analyzing data. Reported data within the report is equipped with visuals to represent the findings.

Findings

After reviewing the results from the survey administered, responses showed that most volunteers were more familiar with State Farm Insurance Companies and the services they offer. In closer detail, the 26.2% of those who took the survey previously who were not at all familiar with the company or the services available dropped to 9.4%. While the 29.7% who previously were slightly familiar dropped to 28.1%; consequently 25.5% moderately familiar from the first survey rose to 37.5%; 12.4% very familiar to 15.6 %, and 6.2% extremely familiar rose to 9.4%. This is a good indication that most respondents were more familiar with the State Farm brand due to the community outreach events. Refer to (Table 1.1) one to see the results from the community outreach efforts.

(Table 1.1)

Volunteers were asked what comes to mind when the State Farm name in mentioned. Originally 89.7% reported ‘Insurance Agency’ that number declined to 50% for the second set of responses; followed by the 2.1% that selected ‘banking services’ which rose to 34.4% as (Table 2.1) shows.

(Table 2.1)

Furthermore, as (Figure 4.1) shows, 61.3% of the 32 respondents reported that after the event, they knew more about State Farm and the financial services they offer. In addition to the 69% who agreed that the brochures and fact sheets made them more comfortable with applying for loans. It can be suggested that the responses to these questions indicate that the target audience was impacted by the outreach events. To further support this perspective, 89.7% of the surveyors reported that there was a clear message being sent during their experience at the outreach events.

In the final analysis, using the data from the survey, several findings were made to measure how the target audience could recall the message designed for the campaign. Major implications are that consumers are now more familiar with the State Farm name and the services offered, this is likely due to the tactics implemented from the outreach events such as the brochure and fact sheets. Second, is that the target audience now recognizes more that State Farm also offers banking services and ultimately is more than an insurance agency. It can be noted that all deliverables placed on the informational table discussed State Farm Online Banking in some way. As has been noted, consumers that visited the table felt there was a clear message being sent by the practitioner through the tactics that were put forth. For that reason, six individuals out of the respondent pool stated that they submitted a loan application during their interaction at the community outreach events. After reviewing all of the submitted applications, there were several individuals in total to sign up for some form of a State Farm Online Bank Account. Ultimately these findings confirm that two objectives of the campaign were achieved, which was to increase consumer awareness of the products and features that State Farm Online Banking offers by 10%, no later than March 24th, 2017, and to enroll a minimum of 10 individuals for a State Farm Online Banking account no later than March 27th, 2017.

Client Testimonial ( Secondary Summative Evaluation)

Dikembe H. – Savannah, GA: “I am pleased to say that I am now a part of the State Farm family. I have not had a personal bank account in nearly two years. Thanks to State Farm and Alfonzo I was able to change that. He quickly and clearly explained to me the benefits of acquiring account with the State Farm team at the table during his event on Savannah State’s campus, and it seemed like a win-win situation. I was able to complete my application on-site through my smartphone. Within the business day I received news that my account was cleared to be open and required no starting balance. I can’t wait to see what State Farm has to offer me as a new customer.”

Conclusion

Campaign Success

Based on the implementation of the community outreach events and the deliverables provided such as: brochures, fact sheets, and loan applications, the results showed gained awareness of the financial services that State Farm offers. In addition to achieving the two objectives of increasing consumer awareness of the products and features that State Farm Online Banking offers by 10%, no later than March 24th, 2017, and enrolling a minimum of 10 individuals for a State Farm Online Banking account no later than March 27th, 2017. If given more time and legal permissions, the campaign would have been implemented with news releases, media, and photo op advisories being sent to local news affiliates. In addition to web ads being created and listed on websites where the target audience can be reached. Implementing these tactics would likely create further awareness of the intern site and its services which may result in more accounts acquired and positive exposure to the general public. Furthermore, this would allow the opportunity for further and more detailed evaluations to take place such as cyberspace and media coverage measurement.

Limitations

Limitations to the outreach events were that the intern representatives no longer had the availability to be present during the events. While the intern continued to implement the planned outreach, the level of credibility was unexpectedly low. There was no State Farm clothing worn by the intern, neither was there a large tent. Moreover, due to the lack of credibility the events had to be relocated to a more familiar area. Savannah State University was chosen due to a more credible image for the student intern, and the availability of space to advertise or market an outside company.

Formative Research

What was learned from the process is that prior brand recognition and credibility is an important factor when marketing for an untraditional phenomena. Without establishing prior brand recognition or credibility, barriers for interaction may fall in place barring the practitioner from successfully reaching the target audience. This can help with plans for the future to identify ways to establish recognition and credibility prior to launching campaign tactics and strategies. Overlooking this concept could be detrimental to the overall success of campaign efforts. Problems that were met during the campaign is the difficulty in making people feel comfortable with approaching a stranger at a park who wants to discuss financing services and handle personal information such as income, address, and social security numbers. This intimidated many people because of the chance it may have been an identity theft tactic. While this was unexpected originally, by the time it was presented it was too late to find useful solutions. In conclusion, this was the biggest obstacle for campaign efforts, and should be a top consideration in the planning phase for future endeavors surrounding the practice of brand awareness and marketing for a client.

REFERENCES

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Retrieved February 12, 2017, from http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/my-money/2014/10/30/the-6-biggest-fears-americans-have-about-online-banking

Crone, E. S. (2016, August 01). The Pros and Cons of Online-Only Banking. Retrieved February 10, 2017, from https://www.nerdwallet.com/blog/banking/pros-cons-online-onlybanking/

Fox, S. (2013, August 06). 51% of U.S. Adults Bank Online. Retrieved February 13, 2017, from http://www.pewinternet.org/2013/08/07/51-of-u-s-adults-bank-online/

Sarreal, R. (2016, October 07). History of Online Banking: How Internet Banking Became Mainstream. Retrieved February 13, 2017, from https://www.gobankingrates.com/banking/history-online-banking/

Smith, A. (2014, April 03). Older Adults and Technology Use. Retrieved February 14, 2017, from http://www.pewinternet.org/2014/04/03/older-adults-and-technology-use/

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Created By
Alfonzo Berry
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