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Archive for January, 2012

  • Loved

Online Banking

I’m not sure what is going on in the UK but here in Australia online banking is the norm. I’d argue banks big and small are passionately pursuing digital innovation – something that keeps us all on our toes.

There are several drivers.

First, IT and particularly smartphone penetration is amongst the highest in the world. Banking has increasingly become a companion activity. We see this every night in our data. People sit down to watch TV and start paying bills and checking balances.

Second, banks here invested ahead of demand – especially CBA. Take contactless terminals – they are everywhere. In the US you will struggle to find them. What that means is ideas like tap-and-go payments made possible by Kaching suddenly have very broad appeal. We’ve also invested many hundreds of millions of dollars creating one of the most modern core banking platforms in the world. What this means is instant visibility into account status and real-time payments. This not only puts people in control of their money, but makes the digital world more secure and meaningful.

We are past the digital tipping point. A new world of banking is upon us – a world that will start on small screens everywhere. The key to unlocking this innovation isn’t dollars. They are important and they must flow at some point, but in reality they are realitvely small in the context of any Banks overal P&L.

The crux of the issue is culture. To fully capture the online opportunity any business needs to create a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship – one that harnesses their natural strengths in things like Risk and Security — and applies them to new challenges. THe culture needs to be based on “yes” principles rather than “no”. Most importantly, it has to be maniacly passionate about customer – about surprising and delighting them.

Once the right culture is in place and tested, innovations like Kaching and the CBA property app flow. Interestingly, culture is hard to replicate and hard to compete against.

It also makes for a pretty fun place to be.

  • Loved

100k Like CBA on Facebook

We celebrated CBA’s first year on Facebook recently by reaching the 100k milestone. While you can read more here but it is worth sharing a couple of things about our journey.

  1. Our industry can be very inwardly focused. Much of the marketing pivots off a competitor and is less to do with the customer. Facebook has provided an incredible platform to engage with customers.
  2. Its not just about engagement. It is also about entertainment. We listened to customers who told us that they are generally going to Facebook for two things. First, to get help and support. Second, to play. So, we orchestrated plenty of games and competitions.
  3. We see quite different usage patterns across platforms. On Twitter we see lots of requests for service and support. In Facebook, lots of play and engagement. 

It’s been a fun journey so far and we are thrilled that 100k customers have chosen to join us there. At the end of the day though its less about the 100k and more about the one customer that is able to get what they need from us, when and where they need us. And for many of our customers, it is on their phone.

Smartphone penetration is very high in Australia. As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald, “Behind Singapore, Australia has the highest smartphone penetration in the world at 37 per cent and we’re also consuming more apps, the research revealed. Australians have on average 25 apps on their phone (eight of which are paid), versus 23 for the US and Britain. Australians are 33 per cent more likely than those in the US and Britain to do mobile real estate searches and we’re also leading the way in mobile banking, with Australians 65 per cent more likely than the British and 14 per cent more likely than Americans to conduct banking on our phones.” And, more Aussies are using Facebook than not.

What this all means is that all businesses are going to need to not just focus on there Facebook community, but where that community works, lives and plays – and that is, mobile devices of all shapes and sizes.

Thanks to all our customers and Friends on Facebook – keep the ideas and thoughts coming

  • Connect

The Narrowness

We are entering the Narowness – a period of massive media fragmentation.

Print, digital, TV, even Radio… will grow Narrower in focus to appeal to niches. Big Niches, but niches just the same. This article in The New Yorker bought it home for me. The Narrowness is this:

“People went from broad to narrow.. and we think they will continue to go that way … spend more and more time in the niches… because now the distribution landscape allows for more narrowness.”

But the Narrowness is also about conflict – about cultures of abundance and cultures of exclusivity. If you were any doubt about the difference between Hollywood and Silicon Valley, just move countries as we did. An Apple TV and broadband is the same in Australia as it is in the US (ok, slower down here but you get the idea). 

One culture seeks to enable the Narrowness and to enable the bits to flow. Another seeks to restrict and contain. The same story hammers this home elegantly:

…The crucial difference is that one culture is founded on abundance and the other on scarcity. He added, “Silicon Valley builds its bridges on abundance. Abundant bits of information floating out there, writing great programs to process it, then giving people a lot of useful tools to use it. Entertainment works by withholding content with the purpose of increasing its value. And, when you think about it, those two are just vastly different approaches, but they can be bridged.

The Narrowness has profound implications for marketers as we will be able to target and plan with precision. Once a Utopic view of planning will become real.

On YouTube, the niches will get nichier, and the audiences smaller still. But those audiences will be even more engaged, and much more quantifiable. Advertisers have to rely on ratings and market research to get even a rough approximation of who’s watching which show. Because YouTube is delivered over the Internet, the company will know exactly who is watching—not their names but their viewing histories, their searches, their purchases, their rough location, and their online social connections. As Shishir Mehrotra, YouTube’s head product manager, explained to me, “Advertising will be done at the level of the audience rather than at the level of the show. Content is no longer proxy for an audience—we know who the audience is. We know what your preferences are, the types of shows you like to watch.” If you posted a video of your trip to Hawaii on YouTube, chances are YouTube is going to advertise airfare to Honolulu to you. Advertising can therefore be highly focussed, not the blunt instrument it is now.

  • Loved

Community Seeds

Great to see our Community Seeds initative make it into the Facebook Studio awards. You can vote here.

  • Inspired

On IdeaBannk

A nice little piece on our IdeaBank initative