Banks should move fast to open their own blog sites if they are not to miss out on a powerful new brand building and customer interaction capability, according to research compiled by analyst house Javelin Strategy.
The US based research house surveyed over 3500 consumers and found that one-in-five read blogs, rising to 34% among the more affluent tech-wise surfers.
James Van Dyke, president and founder of Javelin, observes: "Blogs are quickly becoming vital to many consumers that seek advice or opinions on a variety of topics with a more informal tone. Financial Institutions need to realise that brand management, customer-centricity and loyalty can be strengthened through a blog at relatively little cost, but only if the new rules are understood by established bankers."
He says that less than one per cent of financial institutions have opened blogs, and warns that banks are largely losing control of discussion about themselves in the 'blogosphere'.
Javelin analyst Jean Garascia adds: "Blogging only brings risks to financial services executives that are unprepared, and banks must not miss out on a way to positively impact their brand through this unique online communication mode by dismissing it without a full evaluation. Successful blog sites require preparation and research of both consumers and peers, and can pay big dividends through higher customer interaction levels."
The social networking phenomen has been addressed extensively by bloggers in Finextra's very own professional financial network Finextra Community. By way of example, check out this entry from June from our own head of research Paul Penrose: In blogs we trust.