Alexander Sion, director/co-head of D10X, a unit of Citi Ventures, discussed this subject at BRITE 2019, a conference held by The Center on Global Brand Leadership at the Columbia Business School in New York.
“Banking is a boring, fuddy-duddy place, right? Nobody wants to work at a bank; nobody wants to focus on banking. It’s kind of one of those background things,” he said in summarising the stereotypes abut the category. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: Citi seeks to upend stereotypes about banking brands.)
As someone at the cutting edge of the banking revolution, however, Sion asserted that former assumptions about the sector no longer may be appropriate.
Such a process of re-evaluation may be particularly important for marketers, whether they prioritize having a sizable budget or tackle huge brand challenges.
“[The] first thing is banks spend a ton of money on marketing and branding,” Sion noted. “But the other thing is that banking is in dire need of transformation on a very fundamental level relative to what banking is, or the brand itself [is].
“It’s a super-interesting place to be, and the transformation itself starts from really the root of what banking means to people everywhere around the world,” Sion said.
D10X itself forms part of the Citi Ventures arm of banking giant Citi that is charged with driving innovation. And D10X’s main goal is to prompt internal entrepreneurship, with the aim of creating solutions that are ten times more effective for clients.
A few of the core shifts in the category today include the expansion of online and mobile banking, a concomitant decline in the role of brick-and-mortar branches, the growth of digital payments, and the rise of new tools like peer-to-peer app Venmo.
Looking at the wave of innovation occurring in the financial technology – or “fintech” – space, Sion argued that many new players are redefining the nature of banking products – partly because legacy brands have often been slow to change.
“The explosion that you have in fintech is, essentially, a lot of technology companies recognizing that there’s this major disconnect between what banking has historically been, and what money and life mean to customers,” Sion said.
Sourced from WARC