Does a Map Make You More Likely to Act?

Remember the big map shown at the Democratic National Convention? Remember how the attendees got excited when their state “lit up” when they texted someone about Obama (or perhaps because of something else)? That environment got people fired up in a competitive way, and it was newsworthy. We even did a podcast about it.

Shift gears now and consider ING Direct. ING Direct is an American discount bank. (Frankly I didn’t know that until I read the article about the marketing effort. I only know they sponsor marathons.) Anyway, on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, ideally the kickoff to the holiday shopping season, the bank launched a site with 10 principles of saving called We the Savers. The idea is that people should sign up and commit to those ideas (basically, good financial practices). The site offers a US map of how many folks have signed up from each state as well as a button to invite a friend to sign. Why the map? I guess one reason might be to encourage folks to “boost” the stats for their state. Would it encourage you at all? Would it make you FEEL anything like the folks at the DNC? I’ll answer a hearty “No!”

Ok, then how SHOULD ING Direct be using the map? Well first off, it needs a few more people to sign on. The article notes some 15,000 people signed on in three weeks. That’s not that many since the bank has 7.3 million customers in the U.S. but then the campaign doesn’t seem to be focused on existing customers exclusively. Second, once the numbers are up (and the total number of signatures should be available on the site, it’s not from what I found) it’s time to take the map local. That is, offer a thematic map of numbers of signatures by state (currently there’s only a map of the top 10) or better yet by percentage by state and start pitching the story to papers with state or broader coverage. Headlines might be: “255 in Connecticut Commit to Saving” or “More than 1000 in New Jersey Pledge to Save in 2009.” The bank could also offer locals in the state who signed on to talk to reporters about their decision to commit and plans for the new year. As of now the map is but a curiosity of interest to geeky mapping blogs. ING could make it much more!

One more note to ING: there’s no privacy policy on the site - just a note that when “signing the petition” you give the bank permission to post your name and state on the site. That doesn’t seem like enough to me.

- Bank Systems and Technology

Published Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

Written by Adena Schutzberg

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