Tuesday, December 1, 2009

When did closing a branch become newsworthy?

Late last week, right before the Thanksgiving holiday, we announced the future closing of one of our branches. As anyone in banking (or any other retailer, for that matter) knows, evaluating locations on business needs such as profitability, market share, etc. is a fairly regular exercise. We've closed numerous branches over the the years with little or no fanfare. Not this time.

In a little more than two days, there were no less than twelve local and national posts from various blogs and on Twitter. We even had a local reporter contacting us through Twitter to confirm the news and get a comment. So why such a strong reaction to what, in the past, was a non-event?

Besides the current economic environment, where the slightest corporate change is considered bad news, the web and the social media tools have changed the rules of the game. This is just one example of the ways that basic business activities are interpreted and reported. The days of corporations controlling the message is over. Now, individuals have as powerful a means of communicating across a broad audience as the traditional advertising and media outlets did in the past. Now, we have to adjust to this new reality and learn how to manage our side of the conversation. Not an easy task, is it?

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