ING Direct starts big dialogue with small biz

The online bank is targeting a new sector of clients - small business - with a public-facing media campaign focusing on business benefits.

ING Direct is taking it’s straight-talking money-savings approach with Canadian small businesses this month, in a national multimedia campaign designed to attract a new segment of consumers.

After commissioning a survey through Angus Reid, the brand discovered that not only do most small-business clients pay fees on their business bank accounts, most don’t earn any interest on their cash reserves either. So this month, it has embarked on a national campaign to show entrepreneurs that it is more than just a personal savings account provider, ING Direct CMO Brenda Rideout tells MiC.

Creative by Toronto-based GWP Brand Engineering focuses on slogans like ‘Isn’t it time you stopped paying your bank a salary?’ and ‘Time to invest in a great Canadian business: Yours.’

It launched late March and will run until June, with a media plan by Initiative that includes TV, radio, OOH and online display ads. The 30-second radio spots are localized to the GTA throughout May on 680 News, AM 640, 104.5 CHUM FM, 98.1 CHFI, Q107 and CFRB, while TV and closed-captioning sponsorships will be featured on CBC News, CTV News Channel, CFTO, BNN, TSN, History, Discovery, HGTV and W through June.

Additionally, there will be billboards in Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver, as well as signage at ING Direct ‘cafés,’ the online bank’s satellite branches. The online component includes display ads on the Globe and Mail‘s digital Your Business section and on Yahoo! Finance. Both will run until mid-June. The ad creative will also appear on ING’s mobile apps.

Rideout says that a workshop held for small businesses in November clued the bank in to a potential new client market.

‘We realized there was a demographic that was being under-serviced by the other banks,’ she says. ‘We thought it was a great opportunity to start building some awareness that we do have a business savings account, because many of our small business clients have come to us through having a personal ISA [investment savings account] with us.’

ING Direct has approximately 45,000 business investment savings account clients and is hoping the two-tiered campaign will substantially ramp up that number, Rideout explains. ‘For the first part of this campaign, we’re hoping to build awareness, and then in phase two we’ll have a call to action that will be acquisition-oriented.’

The second phase is slated to launch in June.