Brand experience and marketing strategy insights for the banking industry


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The retail banking industry-still reeling from the global economic crisis-is in need of serious reinvention. Banks and their customers know this to be true. But what needs to be reinvented, and how?

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Brand experience and marketing strategy insights for the banking industry

  2. 2. THE SITUATIONAsif KhanThe retail banking industry—still reelingfrom the global economic crisis—is in needof serious reinvention. Banks and theircustomers know this to be true. But whatneeds to be reinvented, and how?Let’s start with the obvious: consumers don’t trust banks. A 2011study found that 46% of those surveyed had a lower level oftrust in banks than they’d had a year before; 26% said theirtrust had declined because companies were "acting in a greedymanner" and 8% said the "industry itself has made the problemsworse."Those are some pretty harsh words. Against such negativeconsumer sentiment, how can banks go about regainingconsumers’ trust?Here’s one way: by putting customers first. By that I don’t justmean echoing the words “customers come first,” but rathercreating a strong, well-structured and mutually beneficial userexperience centered first and foremost around customers. I alsomean “customers” in the broad “brand to everyone” sense as weuse it at Jack Morton: you only have one brand living out therein the world, so you have to make sure it’s as well representedas possible, no matter who’s exposed to or interacting with it. /2
  3. 3. IN THE BANKING SPACE,A CUSTOMER-CENTRICEXPERIENCE NEEDSTO REINVENT:#1. Partnership #4. Intuitive, User-Friendly DesignEducate your customers on good personal finance by providing It’s not just about providing 24/7 access–that’s a given–butthem tools, insight into their personal finances and recommendations rather it’s about having a well-designed, easy to use, intuitive andon money management. Even when those recommendations consistent interface for all of the various access points (whether itcontravene short-term revenue streams, they will foster long-term trust. be at ATMs, on the telephone, online or on mobile apps)#2. Customer Service #5. IntegrationTrain your front-line representatives on good customer service Bring the bank to the people. The banking experience shouldetiquette and be sure they have the information they need to respond be seamless, integrating into and embracing the daily lives andto customers in a timely, effective and genuine manner. activities of consumers.#3. Employee Engagement So what does this all add up to?Invest in your employees through coaching, mentoring, listening To me, one of the most compelling–and much needed–ways thatand rewarding good behavior, and these internal investments banks could tangibly improve the customer experience is throughwill invariably start to surface externally in the form of improved a complete re-conception of the brick-and-mortar branch network.customer service. /3
  4. 4. THE BANKOF THE FUTUREPhysical brick-and-mortar bank branchesrepresent a significant investment in terms of realestate and human resources. And increasingly,the branch is becoming a less-chosen channel forconsumers to access their money.Mobile banking is already changing how consumers interact withtheir banks, and only stands to gain more ground. According tocomScore research, in Q4 2010, 29.8 million Americans usedmobile devices to access their financial accounts (bank, credit card orbrokerage). Forrester predicts that number will rise to 50 million (orone in five US adults) by 2015. As a Wells Fargo executive recentlycommented, “Mobile devices are changing consumers’ perceptions ofhow convenient financial transactions should be. Today, conveniencemeans the PC is across the room, and I don’t feel like booting it up.”Indeed, consumer behavioral data shows that bank branches areincreasingly used only when customers have problems or for morecomplicated transactions such as account openings and smallbusiness servicing.Given the sea change in mobile and how consumers are choosingto access their financials, combined with the lessening role of bankbranches in consumers’ day-to-day lives, this really begs the question:how can the brick-and-mortar banking model possibly keep up? /4
  5. 5. First and most obviously, banks need to beef up their in-branch But is the physical remodeling of a bank branch to emulate an Applecustomer service to deal with the more complex needs and difficult Store, or the addition of more financial advisers to a bank’s staff, reallyproblems that consumers are now bringing to brick-and-mortar. going to be enough to adequately redefine the customer experience at a bank branch? Or are these simply nothing more than stopgapBut banks also need to ask, how might the resources that go measures and speed bumps along the way to branch obsolescence?into supporting a physical bank location be better utilized tostrengthen the customer experience, through increased investments Time will tell--but changes like these are certainly a move in the rightin technology and improved, 24/7-customer service? How can direction. Keeping a pulse on consumer trends and remodeling thethey make their experience more customer-centric, even if there are user experience to better integrate with those changing behaviors isfewer or even no branches through which to conduct face-to-face really the best and only way to show you’re serious about putting theinteractions and form relationships? customer first. And to shamelessly borrow from banking parlance, that’ll pay some serious dividends in the end.More important than simply putting a human face on a bank isactually focusing on the customer experience, and in the processstrengthening perceptions. A real-life bank employee is certainlyone way to strengthen perceptions, but it’s not the only way (andnot always the most efficient way). One just has to look to highly Asif Khan issuccessful online-only ventures such as and Zappos. a Strategist,com–at this point nearly synonymous with superior customer service based in Jack Morton’sand offering a wonderful experience–to know that to be true. New York office.Also noteworthy: direct banks like Ally and ING Direct are earningthe industry’s highest levels of customer advocacy. So much so thatING Direct claimed that 41% of its new customers were from wordof mouth, much of it from social networking sites. And the recentacquisition of ING Direct by Capital One–and the outcry from INGDirect customers that followed–just serves to reinforce how strongthat customer advocacy really was.Some of the larger, more traditional banks, sensing a need for change, arealready trying to keep up; Citibank late last year introduced a refined branchmodel in New York that’s similar in look and feel to an Apple Store. At thesame time that Bank of America is trimming its branch network, it’s alsohiring more branch specialists for mortgages, investments and small-businessbanking in its remaining locations, all based around the understanding thatwhile consumers might be phasing out their daily transactions from localbanks, branches are still the preferred destination for the more complicatedtransactions. In fact, by the end of 2011, Bank of America plans to actuallydouble the number of financial advisers in its branch network. /5
  6. 6. JOIN OURCONVERSATION ONBUILDING A MORECUSTOMER-CENTRICRETAIL BANKINGEXPERIENCEIn July 2011 we asked leading thinkers across Jack Morton’s globalnetwork to share trends and insights into the seismic changeshappening (or begging to happen) in the retail banking sector.TO READ AND COMMENT, GO TOBLOG.JACKMORTON.COM /6
  7. 7. WHY EMPLOYEEFOR MORE INFORMATION:ENGAGEMENTCONTACT LIZ BIGHAM AT LIZ_BIGHAM@JACKMORTON.COMPROGRAMS DON’TFOLLOW US ON TWITTER @JACKMORTONVISIT US ONLINE AT JACKMORTON.COMWORKREAD OUR BLOG AT BLOG.JACKMORTON.COMBritt BullaAlmost every organization holds their employeesup as a core, precious asset. Especially now, asthe economy rumbles back to life, the job marketbecomes more active and fluid, companies will bedoing more to retain their best performers and findthe next generation of talent.Almost every organization holds their employees up as a core,precious asset. Especially now, as the economy rumbles back tolife, the job market becomes more active and fluid, companieswill be doing more to retain their best performers and find thenext generation of WORLDWIDE is a global brand experienceJACK MORTON We create experiences that strengthen relationshipsEmployee engagement programs are often at the center ofbetween brands and the people who matter most to them—those retention and attraction activities. Nearly every companythereby helping our clients become talked-about experiencehas some kind of initiative designed to connect with, inspirebrands. Rated among the top marketing services agenciesand motivate employees – they’re used as an important formworldwide, we integrate live and online experiences, digitalof non-monetary compensation and often the key channel forand social media and branded 3D environments that engagecompanies to keep abreast of employee mood and concerns.and inspire consumers, business partners and employees. OurThey’re held up as silver bullets to differentiate one companystaff work across the US, Europe and Asia-Pacific as part offrom anotheran ideas-led agency culture.© Jack Morton Worldwide 2011 /7