People need to believe in something before they buy into it.
Now, for brands, this begins with proof of what they're here to do. Reasons why they started, and, most importantly, what they believe in. When all these efforts are connected, they create a powerful, wonderfully unique, cohesive (brand) story people will want to become part of, because they believe in it.
One of my favorite examples is Apple's 2004 commercial for FaceTime—a simple concept introducing people to the power of the iPhone, and by design, Apple itself.
There's no text, no URL, just people using the product. It simply shows me what FaceTime is, and why I should care. Apple creates demand from wonder. They never sell you anything they make, they show reasons why you should own it. The last 10 seconds are especially powerful.
Risk can be scary and costly, but not if it's taken in small doses.
If more companies simplified their products or services down to fundamental benefits that really matter, we'd see more industries grow, and innovation would sound less like risk.
This is where experimenting comes in. Brands can't expect to innovate, if they don't experiment. For example, a small team given the access, can find areas inside a large company to improve how it helps customers, save money, or leap ahead of the competition.
What if we could make banks more relevant using new technology and the social graph?
Imagine if a bank experimented with different ways to view a balance or better yet, control spending, and grows smart enough to help us make better choices.
Security is critical. From what I've learned, all this seems possible.
Most bank apps and billpay are Ok, they get the job done (albeit, most design and functionality feel years behind). Aesthetics aside, I'd prefer real-time information, opposed to logging in to know how much money I have. Brands like Mint have found ways around this. But, I'd still prefer it if my bank handled it—not a third party.
Banks can improve my life by connecting my financial world to what I enjoy, where I enjoy it, and who I enjoy it with. From devices to where I shop, to when I shop.
Estimote Beacons offer really simple solutions to connect with customers in the real-world.
Maybe each time you walked into the Gap, you're notified how close you are to your clothing spending limit. Or, as you window shop for boots, your bank checks (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) to see if anyone you know has already seen or purchased those boots at a lower price. Or, walking by a Starbucks reminds you to reimburse a friend for the latte they bought you yesterday. This is just the tip of what's possible with Beacons. Are banks doing this today? I'd like to hope so.
Banks could use stories of true customer service to connect with customers on a more human level.
Bank marketing (in the millions) unfortunately is the cost of staying relevant. Change that by giving people many small, useful experiences, and stories to tell.
I can say first hand, I've learned how far some bank employees have gone to help their customers. Moments when tellers, greeters and customer service reps took the time to do what's right over what was written. And, the result changed some lives. I'm talking major things like helping a homeless man get back on his feet, preserving the memory of a beloved parent, to giving a proud Mother a mortgage when no one else would even consider it.
Banks could experiment with real stories, undeniable proof they can be more powerful than any advertisement, banner or :30 commercial. Banks can support a comeback, be resourceful, or use its wealth to hold families together.
Banks could modernize the look of their digital products, without rebuilding entire systems.
People care a lot about how a product looks and feels. Dated systems, and medicore apps say banks aren't taking our time into consideration, or just aren't worried about us leaving. Banks like Simple, and products like Coin have embraced simplicity, and designed beautiful tools tailored for the consumer, not on top of limited internal infrastructure. Sure, I get it, rebuilding an entire financial system costs millions. Banks could experiement with improving how sections of the tools look, extending key features as standalone apps, without really affecting how the system works. But first, they should talk to the users and dive deep into the data to see how people really use these tools to influence if, when and how they're rebuilt.
If banks looked at these small wins as learning moments, and cost effective media opportunities showing they care and are willing to evolve, that alone is a win. Now, if they get the experiences right, there's no telling how quickly the industry will change. And, the best part, banks would become a more relevant part of our lives, again.
Starting small with a few experiments will limit risk, and prove once again, how the bank is the hub of our community.