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BBVA Compass hopes to net new clients via basketball game app

Bank BBVA Compass launched a basketball-themed mobile gaming application aimed at spurring social media engagement to drive brand awareness and build client relationships.

The Platypi co-developed app, BBVA Hoops, is part of the bank?s embrace of a digital-first strategy. While businesses have used mobile gamification for some time, BBVA Compass is setting itself apart from the bank pack, by using a game to boost engagement. 

?Mobile is an important part of our work to transform ourselves into a bank that thinks digital first,? said Jorge Moller, consumer segment digital director for BBVA Compass. ?This app helps us create interactions with clients beyond our branches and traditional digital channels. It helps drive awareness and brand visibility with potential clients,? he said.

?It?s very valuable for us to be able to use social media platforms as a way to connect with new clients and build relationships. It?s a great way to encourage more people to share their experiences with us and increase our digital exposure,? he said.

Driving awareness
One of the 25 largest United States commercial banks by deposit market share, BBVA Compass, a unit of BBVA Compass Bancshares, a subsidiary of BBVA, has 672 branches spread across Texas, Alabama, Arizona, California, Florida, Colorado and New Mexico. 

Game's objective is to dunk as many baskets as possible in 30 seconds.

The app is an example of the kinds of projects the bank plans to launch at its new Cross Industry Development Center inside Birmingham's Innovation Depot, which is home to Platypi and several other startups. 

The center?s purpose is to develop technology projects as part of the bank?s desire to lead the industry's digital transformation. The app represents the first project completed between the bank and a startup technology company located in the business incubator.

As the NBA?s official bank, BBVA Compass searches for ways to connect with basketball fans and engage with a new generation of customers, Rich Trent, digital segment manager for BBVA Compass, was quoted in a release. 

BBVA Hoops is simple to use. First the user downloads the app from the Apple app store. 

Following a countdown of 3-2-1, and to the sound of arena music and a cheering, chanting crowd in the BBVA Compass-branded stands, the user swipes the screen to shoot a basketball into the hoop. 

The goal is to sink as many shots as possible in 30 seconds and earn badges.

At game?s end, the system encourages players to post their high scores to Facebook and Twitter, and to play again.

BBVA is building a presence in mobile as customers enthusiastically embrace being able to bank via their smartphones and tablets.

Last year, BBVA Compass leveraged beacon technology to help it drive 700 sports fans attending the NBA All-Star Game to visit a nearby booth where they could transform themselves into a virtual bobblehead doll.

It was the first time the bank leveraged beacon technology to activate the sponsorship. Mobile users also received a coupon good for 20 percent off a purchase of an All-Star T-shirt at the stadium?s team store.

Getting creative
Banks generally have been getting more creative on mobile. This week, Ally Bank, seeking to deliver a more personal banking experience, expanded its mobile application to include a virtual assistant with which users could interact via speech or text to transfer funds, pay bills, make deposits and perform other banking tasks.

Promoting social media engagement.

With Ally AssistSM, users also could request detailed information on accounts and transactions, and obtain information on interest earned and saving or spending patterns.

The move pointed to how, as consumers rapidly adapt to the mobile environment, they were also becoming more familiar with voice-assisted application.

?Consumers are increasingly becoming more comfortable with using their smartphones to connect with banks,? Mr. Moller said. ?While the app isn?t product focused, it is a great way for the bank to engage with our clients in a fresh new way.?

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter with Mobile Marketer, New York.