PALM SPRINGS: Wells Fargo, the financial services giant, has adopted a 'mobile first' approach as it seeks to move beyond digitisation and fully embrace the opportunities offered by mobile technology.

"We are in a new era for Wells Fargo," Jamie Moldafsky, Wells Fargo cmo, told the recent 2014 Leadership Conference of the US International Advertising Bureau (IAB). "We've always been an innovative company, but we realise that the speed with which the world is changing and where our customers are headed requires us to get ahead of them."

The San Francisco-based multinational banking and financial services holding company is the fourth largest bank in the US, the country's largest bank by market capitalisation and serves one out of three American households.

That legacy has meant that "it's been hard to get people aligned around one of the biggest transformations," Moldafsky observed: getting the organization, from CEO down, "engaging with the notion of digitising the enterprise". (For more, including insights-driven enterprise change, read the exclusive Warc article: Wells Fargo challenge: Stay ahead of consumers.)

It's an inside-out change, she explained, that started by engaging "our team members, our employees" to ensure that "they have the technology that they need, from a digital standpoint, to serve our customers".

And, the march of technology demands not only that Wells Fargo think "digital first" but "mobile first" as it reaches out to a generation of millennial customers.

"The insight that led us to this is that banking has to fit into their lives," explained Moldafsky. "And that this is no longer in the expectation that someone's going go to the bank – or do banking the way we historically have – but that we have to make ourselves an easy part of everyday life."

Mobile is the tool that drives consumer efficiency, she continued. "Our biggest opportunity – but also challenge – is how to get the organisation to think mobile first."

But the influence of mobile-empowered consumers is, in fact, just the most recent demonstration of how the practice of financial services has changed, she suggested.

"Historically, when people have asked us, 'Who are your competitors?', as a bank we would answer Chase or Bank of America. Today, however, we would answer Google or Amazon."

Data sourced from Warc