Standard Bank explains why it took to Twitter for FNB complaints

Standard Bank’s decision to lay out its complaints against fellow South African banking giant First National Bank (FNB) on Twitter yesterday caused a fair amount of buzz, not all of it positive.

Now the bank has issued a statement, in the form of an official blog post, explaining why it took to the social network in the first place.

The bank claims it chose to make the announcement on Twitter “because we value our online communities and felt that they should hear it first hand from us. We respect our community’s views and value the transparent relationship we share with them.”

Speaking to Memeburn, Director of Interactive Marketing for the Standard Bank Group Bellinda Carreira said that the bank’s decision to announce its case against FNB on Twitter was “not a knee-jerk reaction” and pointed out that the announcement “went to mainstream media at the same time”.

She added that the bank “wasn’t too surprised” by the reaction to its announcement on Twitter. Carreira did, however, note that the bank “didn’t think it would be so pro FNB”.

Standard Bank’s issue with FNB revolves around an advertising campaign by the latter. In its radio iteration, the campaign featured “Steve” from Bleep-Bank calling unhappy consumers to find out why they were switching to FNB.

The specific advert that Standard Bank took issue with, however, is one that recently appeared in the Sunday Times — one of South Africa’s biggest newspapers.

Despite any negative feedback it may have received in the wake of the announcement, the bank’s blog post makes it evident that it proposes continuing with this course of action:

“At Standard Bank we are encouraged, but not surprised, to see how passionately the social media community has responded to our impending complaint to the ASA (Advertising Standard Authority).”

Carreira believes that Standard Bank’s case against FNB remains strong, pointing out that “FNB has been taken to task by the ASA before, and lost” but that everyone would just have to “wait and see” what the ruling would be.

She noted, however, that it was unlikely that either Standard Bank or FNB would be drawn into “putting on a show” for the Twitter community.

The bank then reiterates its belief that the claims made in FNB’s print ad were untrue and that “False claims of any sort by a competitive organisation are not fair to the public and it flies in the face of free, fair and accurate advertising.”

Standard Bank ends the post by underscoring how “proud” it is of the services it offers South Africans before making the claim that “As always, we listen and take note of our community’s comments and concerns”.

Carreira argues that the bank actually has a proven record when it comes to social, citing a four-year history and the fact that its official Twitter account actually has more followers than FNB’s RB Jacobs.



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