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  • David MacNeil

Social Positioning Analysis #1: BMO

David MacNeil, Marketing Officer

The Bank of Montreal

As the 8th largest bank by assets in North America, the Bank of Montreal has more than 12 million customers who count on them for their banking, wealth management, and investment services. As BMO continues to grow across the globe, it is crucial for the company to maintain a positive social image.

This is the first in a series of blogs which covers how each of the 20 companies listed on Orenda’s Purpose-Driven Decade report manage their online presence and socially responsible reputations, starting with the Bank of Montreal.

BMO uses social media as an outlet to share its expertise related to the economy with the public. The topics that it covers are informative and extensive – they are not tailoring content to appeal to their existing clients, but instead are covering issues that everyone in our society can learn from and use. Additionally, for anyone intent on switching their banking services, they will likely find the information that is relevant to their specific needs and preferences on one of BMO’s social channels.

While the company does not have a specific customer complaint profile, BMO is consistent in its messaging that they are available to help on every platform. This means that customer complaints and criticisms are public for all to see, as are the actions taken by BMO to address them. There is complete transparency in both the issue and proposed solution, and BMO acts to resolve problems in a timely manner.

BMO is demonstrating to the public that it is a competent and capable institution that is open about its mistakes, failures, and problems that do occur in client services. BMO builds trust by acknowledging that these issues do exist and that it is important to recognize the problem and make an effort to remediate it quickly.

Social Responsibility

The BMO GenNext program encourages its young professionals to be more involved in charitable initiatives within the company. In 2019, its employee giving campaign raised over $20M for the communities that they work in. Its goal is to grow the good in work and in community, donating to charities such as the United Way, to bring economic opportunity to priority neighbourhoods. It is working to address equity gaps in society.

Social Positioning Outlook

The Bank of Montreal has been under some scrutiny lately after an incident that took place at a BMO location in British Columbia, where a 12-year-old Indigenous girl and her grandfather were the victims of what they are reporting to be racial profiling. The incident – of which BMO has now publicly apologized for – lead to the two being removed from the building by the police.

At Orenda, we were interested in evaluating how this incident has impacted BMO’s social positioning scores. After analyzing the data, we were able to determine that this story really began to pick up steam online between the dates of January 8 to January 15, which is the same time frame that we witnessed a significant hit to BMO’s brand reputation. In this time, we saw BMO’s overall social positioning score drop from 60.875 all the way to 43.625 – an extremely notable decrease.

The table below provides a more in-depth look into how each of the eight categories measured in Orenda’s framework were affected by the incident over the eight-day period.

As shown, BMO was subject to significant drops across all categories, and the public is beginning to communicate the BMO brand in an unfavorable way. This infers that BMO has some work ahead of them to get the public back on their side.

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