Recently, Fast Company lit a fire under bankers’ backsides by publishing research that showed the majority of millennials hate banks. The antidote? Many believe it’s stories that humanize banks. Financial institutions like Citibank, American Express, Charles Schwab, Mint, and Barclays have already gotten in on the game. Now, we can add Wells Fargo to the growing list.
America’s fourth-largest bank is now investing heavily in brand publishing. With Wells Fargo Stories, which launched in early March, the company hopes to peel back the face of a corporate giant by sharing the stories of how Wells Fargo team members are positively impacting communities across the world.
“Most every day, I make it a priority to call or visit a Wells Fargo customer and a Wells Fargo team member—unannounced. And you know what I hear? Stories. Stories about how we help, in ways small and large,” said chairman and CEO John Stumpf in an introductory blog post.
With the integration of video, photographs, and infographics, these stories come to life with a visual, editorial edge. Early pieces include the tale of how an Iowa-based team member founded her own pet rescue and transport organization (which, in Internet-savvy fashion, includes a healthy amount of puppies) and the story of how the Wells Fargo Ski Cup continues to help the National Sports Center for the Disabled in Winter Park, Colo.
Demand for the digital hub didn’t come from marketing goals, but rather, Wells Fargo employees. Arati Randolph, senior vice president for internal communications and new media, said, “We were doing a lot of storytelling internally, and one of the pieces of feedback I often got from team members was, ‘We love seeing these stories. Can we share them externally?'”
After a year of preparation, Wells Fargo Stories opened with 22 articles that fit into three categories: “Helping Our Customers Succeed,” “Helping Our Communities Thrive,” and “Living Our Values. Every Day.” Each includes case studies about human perseverance and resourcefulness in hopes of inspiring a new generation of Wells Fargo customers.
While Wells Fargo worked with two external agencies to design and build the site, they’ve taken it over internally. The company tapped partners in different departments to manage online properties, marketing initiatives, and social media platforms. And all of the initial stories came from company employees.
“We have storytellers within the company who are connecting with team members all the time, in terms of sourcing great stories,” Randolph said. “So, it made sense to just leverage the talent we have in-house.”
That in-house talent already had digital storytelling experience; Wells Fargo was already hosting a string of blogs. Randolph noted that while the blogs are run from a more personal perspective, Wells Fargo Stories publishes content with a more “objective, editorial voice.” Now, both properties complement each other, with the corporate blog also running on WellsFargoStories.com.
“It’s going to be an evolution,” Randolph said of Wells Fargo Stories, which currently publishes two stories a week. “We’re going to continue to monitor it. We’re going to continue to evolve our content.”
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