For Lewis, comedian, actor, singer and star of stage, screen film and nightclubs, testimonials came in the form of laughter and applause from an audience, or in the case of his work for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, billions of dollars for charity.
Lewis was honored by the French government for his entertainment career. But the most powerful endorsement of Jerry Lewis came in the form of wild applause and roaring laughter.
How did Lewis garner such non-verbal testimonials? The son of veteran stage performers put it this way:
“I learned from my Dad that when you walk in front of an audience, they are the kings and queens, and you’re but the jester,” he said. “And if you don’t think that way, you’re going to get very, very conceited.”
Lewis learned the lesson early, while his folks were working the Catskills resorts. He worked as a pool boy, towel boy, any job you could imagine, and made it fun for the tourists that packed the resorts every summer; and he collected big tips as a result, some weeks earning more than his parents.
Now community bankers hardly ever get applause or laughter from their customers, except for maybe a civic club speech or a well-told joke in the lobby. But testimonials can come in other forms. And frankly, your customers can say it best.
The Bank of Marin County, Calif., is one of a number of community banks that knows how to effectively use customer testimonials. They use a variety of customer stories, on everything from non-profits to small businesses to individual accounts.
These short videos can be used online or as part of a commercial, print, television, radio, or billboard campaign, translating well to every media platform. The fundamental message isn’t just about the bank – but about trust, building relationships and understanding.
Take for example a testimonial from the CEO and executive director of the Agricultural Institute of Marin: “Our bank is just like us – local, healthy and nothing artificial.”
Or another from the owner of a local bakery: “I’ve worked closely over the years with the bank to develop a relationship that has become integral to the growth and success of our company.”
And a third from the CEO of a local homeless shelter: “I received an email from the Bank asking if we could use a van… It’s the kind of thing that makes it special to us and why we value the relationship so much. They go above and beyond what you’d normally expect a bank to do.”
You get the idea.
There are a couple of takeaways from the Bank of Marin’s testimonials.
First: Don’t rely strictly on your biggest depositors. You want to communicate caring for the community.
Second: Let the customer write the script for you, through the power of their story.
Another thought: Don’t fear using longtime current employees, or retired employees who remember your bank from its earliest days. Ask why they’ve served at the bank for so long, or what makes the bank a great place to work. Or ask retirees what made working at the bank special, or their most powerful memory that affirmed for them why they made the right choice to work there.
It’s not laughter or applause that draws customers to your bank. Rock-solid relationships and unshakable trust powerfully communicated win hearts and minds.
That’s the power of testimony.
Here’s a link to some of the Bank of Marin’s testimonials:
And here’s a gem from the late Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin to brighten your day. Jerry offers a testimonial to the benefits of dance lessons. I hope it brightens your day:
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