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How a Bank Transformed Its Business by Creating Its Own Web TV Station

CCO_Radical Honesty

From the moment I stepped into Jyske Bank’s newsroom, I was transported back three years to my time as a television news executive producer. From the elaborate control room setup and full-size production studio, to the state-of-the-art cameras and editing systems, you would never guess I was inside a bank instead of a television station.

By the time I arrive at Jyske’s modern and eclectic headquarters in the small town of Silkeborg, Denmark, I’ve just missed the daily morning news program streamed live to Jyske’s 4,000 employees in 120 locations.

Reporters, producers, photographers, and editors are working on their stories. Some are putting finishing touches on pieces for Jyske Bank’s monthly live, internal TV magazine show Inside that will air the following day. The program is an unrehearsed, unfiltered show with a mix of live and taped pieces – just for employees. This month’s show has the newsroom buzzing more than usual. Earlier in the week a Jyske Bank employee wrote a scathing criticism of the bank – essentially accusing management of losing its way and not staying true to the bank’s core foundations. Instead of ignoring the story, Jyske Bank TV will tackle the touchy subject. More on that in a bit.

While Jyske Bank thinks its employees are its most important audience, it also produces a public-facing, award-winning web TV channel that runs 24/7 on Other newsroom staffers are working on stories or segments to fill that channel. One host is prepping for a taped interview with one of the bank’s own financial experts analyzing the latest earnings of a Denmark company.

So how did a bank turn itself into a successful media company? Jyske Bank TV is the brainchild of Lasse Hoegledt. He’s now the head of Jyske Bank’s communication department and editor-in-chief of Jyske Bank TV. Hoegledt started at the company 25 years ago as a copy writer, then became editor of the bank’s print magazine, its first content marketing initiative. To describe Hoegledt as an innovator is an understatement. As far back as 2006, he recognized that the media landscape was changing. He understood it was getting harder for the bank to reach its audience with traditional advertising and he saw YouTube rising as an important new channel. The bank’s print magazine, while successful, was becoming prohibitively expensive to produce, print, and distribute to some 200,000 Denmark households.

“When we started in 2007 we were living in a media world getting more and more fragmented. We thought, ‘What can we do to get our message out to our audience without relying on older media,’ ” Hoegledt explains.

Fortunately for Hoegledt, his CEO agreed with his thinking. Jyske Bank invested tens of thousands of dollars in building one of the most high-tech production facilities of its kind in Denmark. At first, the newsroom team was just a handful of staff focused only on producing video content for employees. Within a year it began producing content for a broader audience. Now the newsroom includes 13 employees who produce a varying mix of programming that fills the web TV channel.

The content includes interviews with inside experts as well as Denmark’s top business and political leaders, and even sports stars. Content is produced in both English and Danish using correspondents around the world, including a team at NASDAQ in New York. They cover breaking financial news as it happens, produce customized content for distinct regions of Denmark, and develop less-expected content, such as money-saving DIY home-repair videos. But at the heart of it all is great storytelling. Hoegledt says it can’t just be about boring figures and bullet points.

It’s all about feelings. You have to get good stories that go into people’s hearts. When you reach people’s hearts, then they will do the right things with the brain. If you tell a good story with real people, with real problems in real situations, then they will understand it.

And it’s working. Jyske Bank TV has won numerous awards around the world, including Europe’s Best Web TV at the Digital Communications Awards. The bank’s content is so good that it’s been picked up by a national Danish TV network. When the traditional media outlets need a financial expert, they call Jyske Bank. Videos regularly get thousands – even tens of thousands – of views on Facebook.

How has Jyske been able to get its audience to trust financial news from a bank? Hoegledt says the team has to think like journalists – be fair and transparent – even if it means reporting on topics that might not be in the best interest of the bank. “The story is out there. If Danes are talking about bad stuff about banks or about a topic that is not good to the core of the bank … they are going to be talking about it anyway. Even though on a small scale it may be a bad idea for the bank, sometimes it’s all right to get in on the conversation because in the long run it will be a good idea for the bank.”

Fairness, transparency, and openness are at the core of Jyske Bank’s culture – they have to be because some of the bank’s biggest skeptics are its employees – and that brings us back to the newsroom. Remember that employee who called out his bosses for doing a bad job? In most institutions the employee would fear losing his job – but not at Jyske Bank, where open dialogue is encouraged and expected. During the next day’s episode of Inside, all employees hear from that staffer in a taped interview with a Jyske Bank TV reporter. Then the bank’s CEO responds to the criticism in a live, unrehearsed Q&A on the show. And get this: The CEO was not shown the questions before the interview.

Hoegledt explains, “We have to ask him the hardest questions because if we don’t ask him the hardest questions, then employees will get on us and say we are not doing our job. We (in the newsroom) are considered the free press. If you close down the free press, you close down society. If you close down Jyske Bank TV, you close down the bank.”

It’s in the documentary

The story of Jyske Bank is just one among dozens in The Story of Content: Rise of the New Marketing – a documentary from the Content Marketing Institute, which debuted at Content Marketing World this week and is now available on The Story of Content. The film follows the evolution of content marketing through the lens of the industry’s leading brands, including Kraft, GE, Marriott, and Red Bull. The film features in-depth interviews with content marketing’s leading influencers, and illustrates how content marketing has and will continue to change business and media forever.

This article originally appeared in the August issue of Chief Content Officer. Sign up to receive your free subscription to our bi-monthly print magazine.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute