On Tuesday I was lucky enough to be invited to the ‘secret’ Virgin party, which of course turned out to be the launch of their new Virgin Money brand. This included an incredible 3D projection which you can watch on the official youtube link here, though I must say it was pretty incredible standing underneath it with the train whizzing over the crowd.
It’s also now been turned into an ad which is also pretty impressive. I was one of around 50 bloggers, friends and customers to see the first London showing and from the tweet stream and subsequent blogs I guess there were mixed reactions to the event.
One blogger didn’t enjoy the evening Launching Virgin Money and I agree that it would of been nice to see more interaction with bloggers (something that I’m sure will be picked up on), but this is the sort of event journalists go to all the time. Of course if there were hours to sit and explain what Virgin Money was about that would of been nice, but there’s lots of information in the press at the moment, this was simply the launch stunt.
Virgin Money on social media
I could talk about Virgin Money’s prospects in the world of banking, but that’s not my field of expertise, I’ll let Richard Branson explain himself over at the Independent. Instead I thought I’d take a look at what they’re doing in terms of social media. First I followed the links from the Virgin Money homepage.
They’re going down the usual paths in terms of design and feel of their Twitter page. Nothing out of the ordinary here, and of course they’re picking up followers at a speedy pace. I like that they also have a Twitter feed for their charity activity, I think even in economic crises people love to see companies show support for those that have less than they do, and it fits into Richard Branson’s ambition “to make everybody better off”.
Their Facebook page also shows nothing out of the ordinary yet. They’ve got several different tabs set up which is good, people like content. But when the new Facebook timeline gets pushed out (eventually) I think Virgin as a brand would be able to utilise the historical element well. In fact one of their tabs even mentions personal timelines so maybe they have something in the pipeline.
Blogs and news centers
I guess the issue is that Virgin as a brand is hard to compare to other banking brands on social networks and microblogging sites as it’s got such heritage. Of course they’ll get followers, they’re an ‘old’ brand doing something new. That doesn’t mean they necessarily have the right approach to building customers through social media. Their media centre doesn’t seem to amount to much at the moment, certainly couldn’t compete with First Direct on that front, but also there’s no blogging.
I admit that there’s almost no need for them to boost their brand’s SEO value, they’re a well-known brand and advertising has been very good. But how about focussing on this customer-led ambition. They could offer some great advice, get some great writers onboard and help more people. Of course if they do go down that avenue it can be difficult, there’s more compliance involvement and they have to be dead on with advice.
They have done it before though, this blog post on the Virgin entrepreneur blog is fantastic:
Top 5 entrepreneur social media mistakes by Daniel Morell
For now Virgin Money seem to be playing it safe, but I look forward to seeing what they do with it in the future.