What is Next Generation Banking?
ING Bank launched the reputation and talent recruitment campaign, Next Generation Banking, on Facebook to inspire the next generation of bankers to co-create the future of banking.
With Next Gen Banking, ING tries to distance itself from the negative stereotype around bankers and to attract future employees who are interested in more than just “material gains.” ING believes clarity and transparency are the foundations of a financially healthy future. This campaign helps them discover and attract international talent who share this belief.
On Facebook, ING challenges Gen Y, the next generation of bankers, to answer questions from children, the next generation of customers. This approach encourages people to communicate about complex financial issues in a very simple and transparent way. At the end of the campaign, ING published the ebook Curious Little Leo, based on the most inspiring submissions.
Here’s a short video in which Koos Timmermans, Vice Chairman of ING Bank, explains the mission:
The creative idea
ING created a tab on their ING Careers page, where business graduates were challenged to explain complex financial issues to children aged between 7 and 10 years – the next generation of customers.
Every week, ING posted a new question, on a specific financial topic, from the next gen customer, in the form of a short video. According to ING world the questions included were:
“Why do we need banks?
What do you do with the money I bring to a bank?
Why would you become a banker?
Why can’t I pay with the money I made myself?
How can we make poor countries less poor?”
The campaign ran for five weeks, from January 11, 2013 to February 15, 2013. It took place in countries including France, Germany, Belgium, Turkey, Romania, Poland, and Spain.
The ebook – Curious Little Leo
Using the most inspiring answers submitted to the campaign, ING created a special children’s book on banking, called Curious Little Leo,
The book simplifies financial issues through the open dialogue between the characters Mr. Bank and Curious Little Leo. The underlying message of the book is that you should never stop asking ‘the best question in the history of all questions ever asked’, which is: ‘Why?’
The book establishes that ING is actively thinking about the need to re-invent banking, and also the need to promote financial literacy – to the young and the old alike.
Koos Timmermans, Vice Chairman of ING, said:
“The ability to explain complex financial issues in a very clear and transparent way helps strengthen trust with our customers, which is a prerequisite for a sustainable and financially healthy future.”
Indeed, this is the sentiment shared by people who were touched by the campaign. Financial analyst Kuntesh Upadhyaya noted:
“Curious Little Leo is an innovative step taken by ING to bridge the gap between the current level of knowledge of the investors and the existing customer base and the prospects of the banking industry. This is an initiative undertaken by ING to build a better tomorrow not only for itself but also for the generations to come. This campaign will enlighten and evoke the masses who are either unaware or sceptical with regards to putting their money into the banks as a measure of investment.”
The book also plays with a bit of symbolism – notice how the main character is named Leo, and that ING’s mascot is the lion.
“A Conversation Starter”
The campaigns creative agency Energize commented that the recruitment campaign for ING Careers was quite the conversation starter – not only amongst journalists and their readers, but also amongst young business students and graduates around the world.
According to ING.com, the campaign received replies from all over the world, and not just from people who are considering a career in banking. The campaign reached more than 10 million unique Facebook users and has been viewed more than 80 million times. The campaign received the most visitors from France, Poland, UK, Spain and Germany.
The campaign led to in-depth articles in Financial Times, Irish Times, Business Day, The Globe and Mail and various other business blogs debating the importance of child-like-simplicity in banking.
Evolving communication landscape
Texting, tweeting, posting and sharing via social media has radically changed the way everyone from millennials to retirees communicates. It has thus become essential for organizations to change their communication with employees and customers – from message, type of engagement and the medium itself.
ING’s success with Next Gen Banking shows that people are willing to discuss serious topics like banking and finance on social networks.
Reaching out to the Youth with CEMS and AIESEC
For ING’s campaign to be successful it was important that they engage with the right audience. ING’s long-term relationships with CEMS and AIESEC was ideal to give the campaign the impetus it needed.
Both CEMS and AIESEC are the world’s largest youth-run organisations that provide a platform for leadership development. This is exactly the audience ING was looking for:
“The AIESEC community consists of young talented, open minded and ambitious people who want to make a difference in the world. And those are exactly the kind of people who should be part of the Next Generation of bankers.”
Both organizations played an integral part in reaching and engaging the campaign’s target audience.
Youth members had an additional incentive to participate in this campaign – to grab the attention of ING’s Koos Timmermans in the hope for a potential job. Indeed, Koos Timmermans sent the book and a special thank-you note to the 16 contributors who truly impressed him.
Engaging Gen X and Gen Y
Brian Burgess, North America Director of Brand & Talent – MSLGROUP, pointed out that it is important for banks and corporations to be active on social media, to attract and engage international talent:
“It’s critical corporations and banks are active on social media because it’s becoming more and more integrated in their customer’s lives. Period. Gen X works notice right away when there’s a gap between the way a company engages customers/consumers with social media and the lack of social collaboration internally. Gen Y simply doesn’t understand why it’s not available and immediately label the employer as ‘out of step, outdated or even downright archaic.’ In the attraction space, it’s all about LinkedIn, Indeed and Glassdoor. Prospective talent, like consumers, are more savvy because the information is available to them. Even Gen X talent stopped picking out expensive 100 lb. satin paper for their resumes a decade ago. “
While Gen X and Gen Y are both active on social and digital media, their intentions and usage varies. Burges noted:
“There are important differences in Gen X and Gen Y workers to consider. Gen X employees expect more guidance and direction from leaders/employers whereas Gen Y is more comfortable being autonomous and independent. Both embrace a spirit of individualism but view accountability and responsibility through different lenses. A Forrester study cites the technological difference between Gen X and Gen Y is life stage. Gen Y grew up with more advanced technology, refer to as ‘digital natives,’ and have integrated technology into their every day lives, including work, entertainment and socializing. Gen X has adopted digital/social too but in ways that support their lifestyle and hectic schedules of work, family and raising children. Online shopping, online banking and other conveniences make life much easier to juggle for Gen X. “
Role of strategic communications in finance
Banking and financial services has taken a reputational drubbing in recent years, which makes strategic communications indispensable today. Through this campaign, ING demonstrated that not only is it willing to change the industry, it’s also willing to listen and engage with its people.
Harmindar Singh, Vice President at MSLGROUP India, commented on the importance of strategic communication in finance:
“The role of strategic communications in the overall growth strategy has only deepened and assumed greater importance, more than ever, in the recent past. As we live in an era of an always-on economy, the shift from monologue to dialogue was inevitable. This makes strategic communications an intrinsic part of the strategy, to be able to give shape and direction to a creative and compelling story. This is true for any industry, as much for ours.
“It would be a bit unfair to say that the reputation of the entire industry comes under the spotlight because of few players. Having said that, it becomes imperative during challenging times, to engage with the stakeholders and allay their fears and send out clear, well-defined and transparent messages that aim to assuage their fears by putting things in the right perspective.”
Indeed, ING’s approach of working with future employees to ‘co-create’ a vision of the future has helped it create awareness among graduates (future bankers) and customers.
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