All over the world banking is going mobile. A recent study by PwC revealed the rise of a specific group it called “omni-digital.” This demographic uses only digital channels such as mobile phones, PCs and tablets to conduct their banking, avoiding traditional physical channels altogether. The segment comprises 46 per cent of all customers.
PwC also revealed that the younger generation of banking customers are even further down that road. It said 82 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds now bank by phone.
Traditional banks are changing to reflect this shift. None more so than Standard Chartered. The UK-owned bank, which has most of its customers in developing markets across Asia and Africa, was early to embrace small screen banking. It launched the pioneering mobile banking app Breeze as early as 2010.
Emma Sheller, global head of brand and marketing at Standard Chartered, says that today – eight years on – mobile has become the de facto choice for customers. “From Standard Chartered’s point of view we are focused on how we service clients through mobile, whether it’s by a mobile-optimized web experience or though the apps that we have,” she says.
And she sees this trend deepening in the years ahead. “Our expectation is that in future 80 per cent of of online engagement will be through mobile and 60 per cent of digital marketing will be in the mobile space,” she says.
“The audience on mobile is ever-increasing, and the engagement on mobile [is] continuously higher than on other formats. It’s also changing the way SEO is done too. Communications that are mobile driven get better SEO rankings, so that all plays back into our future planning and strategy.”
Indisputably, it is convenience that’s driving the switch to digital. And yet, most consumers still want the human touch when they do their banking. Standard Chartered has launched several projects to address this need.
For example, in 2016 it launched a video banking platform that enabled customers to talk via video link to a bank agent. The project launched in Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, India, Taiwan, Kenya and the UAE. It chimed with Standard Chartered’s stated aim of seeing paper based on-boarding reduced from 90 per cent to 10 per cent, and for branch transactions to reduce from 80 million to 40 million a year.
Not that the bank is eradicating the branch. Instead, it’s re-booting physical sites with digital enhancements such as the ‘Retail Workbench’. This is a tablet-based tool that connects to the bank’s back-end infrastructure. Staff can use it carry out services much faster than before – and with no paper involved.
Retail Workbench is a reminder that, in a digital era, Standard Chartered employees are still central to the banking experience. In fact, the bank also consulted staff when it recently re-launched its entire brand.
Two years ago Standard Chartered began thinking about how a bank can be a force for social good. In order to bring its own people on board with the message, it invited all 85,000 of its employees across 68 countries to give their input. The research took 18 months to complete.
The end result was the brand mantra: ‘Good enough will never change the world’ with a supporting campaign that kicked off in April 2016 in Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and the UK. It will roll out across the remaining regions later in the year.
Sheller says: “Employees had the chance to input into the cultural development of bank, which informed the campaign. For them to have a voice in what an external campaign looked like is hugely human thing to do. It would have been so easy to do that in a silo and just hope it landed well.”
When it came to promotion, the accompanying campaign focused heavily on the mobile channel. “We built it with a strong mobile lens to take account of where that audience is transitioning to,” says Sheller. “We’re looking at engagement levels, retention, next steps. And what’s encouraging is seeing increasing web traffic being sourced from mobile channel, so we know we are in the right medium to get the traffic coming.”
The campaign also focused strongly on mobile video. Sheller says: “It’s been the lead asset. We were looking at different lengths and different iterations of the main campaign to test what clients would engage with.”