Financial Video Comes of Age with Schwab: 60 Seconds in Money

By Amy McIIwain, President, Financial Social Media on Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

Allow me to start with a complaint. Why would The Charles Schwab Corporation put “60 seconds” in the title of its new video series when the videos average two minutes? I guess you could argue the long-running television program “60 Minutes” is less than sixty minutes when you take out the commercials. But isn’t it on for an hour?

Okay, now that I got that out of my system: I come to praise Schwab, not to bury it.

The San Francisco-based financial firm’s new video series is all that it should be and everything its competitors should be trying to attain. But they better act fast; first mover advantage and all.

Take a look at a video in the Schwab: 60 Seconds in Money series on YouTube. 

A good-looking 20-something, Mike Cianfrocca, welcomes viewers in the first episode to “a light-hearted look at money-related news.” He sports a hip, closely trimmed mustache and beard, a smart pair of glasses, and a shirt and tie. Graphics pop in and out of  frame.  Mike may not rival Jimmy Fallon, but the humor isn’t bad, as in an episode when he says, “an IRA may be the only thing parents understand in their children’s text messages.”

Like other advisory firms, Schwab understands there is a tremendous transfer of wealth happening now. According to a study by the Investment Management Consultants Association in 2011, once parents die, 98% of children jettison mom and dad’s stodgy, old financial advisor for some other arrangement. But unlike other firms, Schwab is positioning itself to take advantage of this key life event by appealing to Millennials. An advisor in a blue suit, white shirt, and tie sitting in his office ain’t gonna to make it.

England & Illinois

There are others that understand the shift. Pete Matthews, a financial planner in England who shoots his videos out of doors in beautiful locations around Cornwall. Meaningful Money is the name of his YouTube Channel. 

Then, there’s Carbondale, Illinois-based Jeff Rose of, whose videos have been viewed on YouTube some 73,000 times.  Why? Because he speaks to Millennials in a way they understand. Watch him bust a move! (BTW, in Schwab’s second video in their new series, they refer to the #RothIRAMovement—created by Jeff Rose.)

Videos? Really?

About three years ago, when I was still at NYSE Communications, I attended a seminar put on by PR Newswire on social media. The room was filled with accomplished but nervous-looking 40- and 50-somethings, like me, along with a younger crowd, who were trying to figure out this new phenomenon called social media.

I remember only one thing that the speaker said that afternoon. Why would you want to read when you can watch a video?

The younger people at the seminar all nodded and murmured in assent. I was aghast because I believed—and still believe— that the written word has a depth of knowledge and insight that a video can never convey. But I’m swimming against the tide. After all, YouTube is the Internet’s second most popular search engine. 

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SCOTT PETERSON, co-founder of Relay Station Social Media LLC, has over a decade of experience in market, securities, and regulatory communications. His firm provides strategic communications consulting, integrated Internet marketing, compliance training, and more to a wide range of organizations.

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