Intersecting Viral Marketing With Emotional Customer Connection: TD Bank’s ‘Home Run’


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As customers in all b2b and b2c sectors steadily become more actively digitized in their daily lives, companies are having to respond, and hopefully stay ahead, in the race to build stronger interpersonal relationships with them. Who’s doing this well, using innovative techniques and setting standards for others to follow? My example is TD Bank, where viral communication meets real, and valued, experience delivery on a personalized, and deeply emotional, level.

Here’s a quick thumbnail summary of where some examples of TD Bank’s marketing unique marketing and communication initiatives have taken the company over the past year or so.

– Early in 2015, in a campaign called ‘Make Today Matter’, TD Bank gave 24 customers in 24 different cities – one a day for 24 days – 24 hours to initiate projects that would benefit their local communities. Each individual was given approximately $30,000 to put toward launching their program. Customers were selected through a two-step process: a) an informal Facebook poll to generate ideas and b) branch employees making the final selection based on their knowledge of customers

TD created a microsite to collect and display ‘Make Today Matter’ stories, and they posted local community program achievements, as varied as trail restoration to puppy adoption, in market locales such as Southern Florida and Philadelphia. The mini-documentary TD Bank created about the campaign has been viewed over 5 million times on YouTube.

– In July, TD Bank released a YouTube video ( which got 4 million views in just 5 days. The video chronicled customer reactions to the deeply personal and emotional response to the unexpected gifts they received through a TD Bank promotion.

Earlier video campaigns like ‘TD Thanks You’, where ATMs gave customers personalized gifts, and received over 20 million views, began this ‘out of the box’ approach, absolutely unique in the retail banking world. It was one of the most successful marketing programs of 2014:

TD Bank has had a ‘Bank Human Again’ communication theme for about the past two years ( with customers (and potential customers), featiromg experience emotion and branch interactions. This long-running campaign has distinguished TD Bank from its retail competitors. There is a strong recognition that, while the company has to be as digitally efficient as its peers, there is an intersection with real conversations with real bank people, whether in customer support or at the local TD Bank ‘store’. Also, the company leads by using assertive offline and online viral techniques to drive community awareness and new customer acquisition, perhaps the most innovative in the industry.

The ‘Bank Human Again’ campaign has broadened and deepened its core messages, now communicated by TD Bank in an impressive array of media channels: movie screens, television, social media, Internet ads, outdoor, and mobile (

As a customer, and irrespective of business sector, there’s nothing more brand-building, and image reinforcing, than feeling good about the human, personal, and emotional story a company you’re affiliated with presents to its base and the public at large. I’m a TD Bank customer, and a strong, supportive advocate for the brand.

Michael Lowenstein, PhD CMC
Michael Lowenstein, PhD CMC, specializes in customer and employee experience research/strategy consulting, and brand, customer, and employee commitment and advocacy behavior research, consulting, and training. He has authored seven stakeholder-centric strategy books and 400+ articles, white papers and blogs. In 2018, he was named to CustomerThink's Hall of Fame.


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