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Financial services firms embrace social media during London 2012

Official sponsors of the Olympics in London and sponsors of individual teams are using social media to promote their brands and products. In an industry that is generally flagging behind the curve of social media use, this is a good sign that financial services are starting to see the benefits of this channel.

Visa, Lloyds Banking Group (LBG), Citi, and Commonwealth Bank have all been using social media channels to promote their brands alongside the London 2012 Olympic Games. Visa, one of the biggest sponsors, has enlisted the help of Usain Bolt to promote both its contactless cards and mobile payments. Its Olympic-themed marketing campaign, "Go World," has a dedicated Facebook app, as well as using Twitter and YouTube. Consumers are invited to "cheer" on athletes with their own videos or pictures.

LBG has also used Facebook to showcase its "Torchview" camera, which followed the Olympic flame on its tour of the UK. Consumers are encouraged to add their own photos, and in turn could win tickets to the Games. Citi is sponsoring the US team and is using social media to get consumers to allocate a $500,000 donation to sports programs, by voting for athletes. Meanwhile, Commonwealth Bank, which sponsors the Australian team, has added a humorous touch, with a toy kangaroo featuring in Instagram photos around London.

This is positive action for these large financial services players, which appear to be embracing social media to aid sponsorship and promote their brands. At a time when consumers are celebrating, such as during the Olympics, this is a shrewd move. People want to get involved with the Games and incentives to win tickets or aid sports funding will encourage consumers to act. Research by MPG Media Contacts (July 2012) found that 26% of UK consumers would comment on the Games using a social platform, increasing to 46% in the under-35 age group. This highlights the desire among consumers to share positive experiences with their peers during such a unique event.

Hopefully this social media drive will not end with the Olympic Games, and financial services players will continue to use social media to their advantage. Harnessing the positivity of consumers will help providers to engage with their customers and raise brand awareness.

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