A closer look at Fifth Third's Blacksmith campaign: 'Retweet to Reemploy'

By Kathleen Williams

2014’s Blacksmith Best in Show campaign winner was Fifth Third Bank – one of three Blacksmiths the bank’s Marketing and Public Relations team took home that night. We’re going to dissect Fifth Third’s Blacksmith-winning social media campaign to take a closer look at how the team did it – and what other PR professionals can learn from it.

About the author:   Kathleen Williams is communications coordinator/PIO for Clermont County.

About the author: Kathleen Williams is communications coordinator/PIO for Clermont County.

Fifth Third’s Homeowner Reemployment Program was introduced in 2013 to help the bank’s unemployed mortgage customers find jobs. Fifth Third partnered with a reemployment solutions company, NextJob, to offer customers a variety of tools, including job coaching, webinars, and a job search toolkit. In 2014, the bank launched a 6-week digital marketing campaign to connect its customers to the program.

Curiosity opened the door

"Helping our customers find reemployment is a perfect illustration of the curiosity of Fifth Third Bank," said Maria Veltre, senior vice president & chief marketing officer. "Our program evolved from the question of how to help unemployed people keep their homes and led to answer an even bolder question, 'how do we get our customers back to work?' For Reemployment, it was important to develop a campaign that not only helped our job seekers but also engaged the public in a shared mission to impact unemployment.”

The Marketing team at Fifth Third also worked with its agency of record Leo Burnett as well as Wordsworth Communications to develop a multi-prong approach to promoting its reemployment program.

One of those prongs, of course, was social media. Entitled “ReTweet to ReEmploy: A Reemployment Campaign,” the social media campaign identified several target audiences: the general public to encourage participation and awareness; traditional and social media outlets; online influencers; and legislators and trade associations in Washington, D.C.

Real people, real stories

The key was focusing on the faces of unemployment:  Real customers willing to share their stories, said Shannon Paul, vice president and social media strategist at Fifth Third Bank. The bank spent months interviewing a number of customers going through the program, and identified four job seekers to feature throughout the campaign.

After months of planning, the campaign launched in late May of 2013. It introduced its microsite -- 53.com/reemploy -- featuring short videos of the four job seekers and information about the program. And it devised a great call to action to encourage tweets: For every 53 retweets, the bank would feature a new job seeker on its microsite and pay for job search assistance for up to 53 “scholarships.”

 “Fifth Third launched ReTweet to ReEmploy not to impact the bottom line but rather to increase brand awareness and consideration for the Bank,” said Shannon. “In order to accomplish this, the bank worked to connect with consumers outside banking center walls on a more human level—by providing a compelling message and a way for all consumers to get involved with the campaign. And we believe it worked.”

Impressive metrics

Among the measurements:

  •  53.com/reemploy drew nearly 100,000 unique visitors
  • Fifth Third surpassed its retweet goal with several weeks left in the campaign – meaning 53 more job seekers had coaching scholarships
  •  44,000 shares from paid, earned and owned media
  •  Targeted video buys generated the highest YouTube views to date for the bank
  •  The bank’s Facebook fans increased 84 percent
  •   Twitter followers increased 15 percent

The bottom line was that Fifth Third did well by doing good. Through a sophisticated social media campaign, and other public relations tactics, it increased brand awareness and goodwill for the bank by making an earnest effort to help its customers most in need. By demonstrating how the bank was helping these customers find new jobs, and using social media to help find jobs as well, the bank spread a message of concern and care to multiple target audiences.

As for those who may not have Fifth Third’s resources? Shannon advises, “Having great content and a seamless user experience is important for any company looking to leverage social media to generate consumer engagement. However, as social platforms continue to evolve, allocating some paid media budget to help amplify and distribute content via these platforms will continue to be crucial for success.”