What’s Your Story?

DoinkLast week, a professional wrestler by the name of Matt Osborne passed away.  Better known as “Doink the Clown” Matt was able to stand out in a profession where people come and go and talent is a dime a dozen.  How did he do it and can Community Banks learn a lesson from him?

Stand Out: Doink the Clown

By viewing the photo above, you’ll notice that Matt Osborne didn’t have a bodybuilder physique, so how was he able to be a successful wrestler?

His Doink gimmick was different from what everyone else was doing.  A bad guy clown that was inspired by Stephen King’s “It” character, Doink would pull mischievous pranks on fan favorite wrestlers and have deranged segments that would make your stomach turn.  He was able to compensate for the lack of huge muscles by pulling audiences in with a not so average storyline.

Take away point: Like Doink, community banks aren’t as big as our mega bank competitors, but we can stand out by doing things differently.

  • Community Action: Unlike Bank of America or Regions, our Board Members and key decision makers are accessible and can participate in a grassroots level to show how committed they are to the community.
  • Quick: Local decision-making allows for faster decision-making.
  • Accommodating: Be creative when putting products together and work with customers to make a deal instead of finding ways to say no.

Reinvent and Grow: Borne Again

BorneMatt’s Doink character was created when he worked for the WWE (then WWF) and the company had rights to the character, not Matt.  So, when he parted ways with the company he had a dilemma: how could he continue as a wrestler while keep the name recognition of Doink.  The answer: Borne Again.

Matt went to a smaller competitor named ECW and quickly established himself as a former disgruntled employee of the WWF.  He named his new character “Borne Again” and kept the clown outfit but only wore messy, small amounts of face paint (i.e. Heath Ledger as Joker in The Dark Knight).  His attitude was even darker than the previous Doink character; which fit right in with the over the top antics ECW stood for.  By creating the Borne Again persona, Matt was able to keep the Doink brand, but made it his own and continued the story of a deranged man.

Take away point: Take ownership of you brand.

  • Tell your story: Your bank has a brand, a story, so explain it and communicate to your staff, customers and prospects.
  • Build your brand: Once you lay the foundation of your brand, build on it.  Internally create a vision statement and a set of values.  Externally tie your brand into your advertising, marketing and sales.

Downfall: Your own Worse Enemy

Matt’s departure from both the WWE and ECW stemmed from personal problems. It’s a shame, because this man seemed to be a talented entertainer whose career, and life, ended too soon.  If he would have won his battle against his demons, who knows what type of success he would have had.

Take away point: Don’t self destruct.

Often community banks lack success because they either have bad apples ruining the bank or they allow operations and compliance totally run their business.

  • Bad apples: A poor performing, negative thinking employee can ruin the moral of a team.  Find out what’s wrong and either coach up or coach out.
  • Operations and Compliance: Don’t get me wrong, there is a place for both operations and compliance.  They should have a say in how the bank is ran and deserve a seat at the leadership table.  That said, these departments do not need to control the bank.  Think about it; have you ever heard of company base it’s success on internal operations?

Hopefully Matt Osborne is in a better place.  As a teenager, I found his silly and disturbing antics in the wrestling ring entertaining.  He was a true performer who left his mark in his profession.

How do you plan on leaving your mark in your profession?

Social Media Bodyslam

Growing up in Appalachia, I was naturally a big wrestling fan.  My weekends were filled with matches of Macho Man Randy Savage, Hulk Hogan and the Road Warriors (aka Legion of Doom).  Even in college, my roommates and I would watch WWF’s (now WWE’s) Monday Night Raw and laugh at the antics of The Rock and Stone Cold Steve Austin.  Shoot, I’ll even swing by a bar and watch a Wrestlemania pay-per-view every once in a while.

So when I saw that Monday Night Raw was celebrating its 1,000 episode, I tuned in to the historic event.  While watching the show, I was amazed to see how professional wrestling has embraced social media.

But was it too much?

  • Twitter: Though out the night, little graphics would run across the screen that read, “#TheRock trending worldwide”
  • Tout: The ring announcers would keep referring to tout, while encouraging fans to “tout about RAW.”  During the show, clips were shown of fans “touting” what they thought of the show.  To be honest, I had never heard of tout until that Monday night.
  • Social Media Ambassador: Charlie Sheen was given the title of “Social Media Ambassador,” which essential meant that Charlie popped in from time to time via Skype

By no means is this the first time the WWE has relied on internet interaction for publicity and ratings.  In fact it can be debated that the company helped pioneer online social interaction.

In 2004, the WWE introduced Taboo Tuesday, an event where fans could vote on stipulations for every match.  Fans could vote via text messaging and online polls.  Since then, the organization has invested time and money into boosting their brand online.

But back to the original point, is the WWE’s current tactics over the top?  It depends on who you ask.

Even though I may find it over bearing, it doesn’t matter what I think.

The company’s current customer focus is children and teens; not early thirty somethings. By utilizing social media in their televised live events, the WWE is creating a bond with their target market by using a communication tool they use on a regular basis.  Through testing the waters and branching out to various social media tools, the WWE will be able to find out what works best and capitalize on their “trial & error” research.

Who knows, it may only be a matter of time before Brother Love has his own podcast.

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