Banks may suffer the Social Media equivalent of Galapagos Syndrome

1 03 2012

Chris van der Hoven wrote:

Today Rod Cameron (Cranfield MBA) pointed us to an article about an investment banker at Deutse Bank who has started tweeting about Tech IPOs. The article points out that he had to get a special dispensation because of the traditionally strict rules about the use of the use of Social Media (basically, DON’T!).

If you search your LinkedIn contacts I’m reasonably sure… none of the banking contacts are able to use their bank emails and very few even use social media. How many banks use Facebook?

As a consumer I’d quite like to hear a bit about why I should stay with my banking provider – specially as fees are en route to the stratosphere.

Some time ago my colleague Rick Mitchell wrote a small piece about Galapagos Syndrome in which he explains how Japanese consumer goods suppliers are isolated in technology terms. In essence the technology version of Darwin’s notion that species on the Galapagos Islands had evolved in isolation.

While Japanese technologies have moved ahead of the rest of the world, banks might be headed the other way. How will they catch up when they realise they have been left behind? There are simularities in both eco systems, Japans tech providers have moved beyond what non-Japanese consumers can assimilate. I think the banks have lost the opportunity to engage with “would-be” and “dissaffected” customers, because their only source of customer intelligence for product, service and business model development, is their existing customers!

What is the point of asking the same tired customers the same tired questions about the same or slightly rehashed offerings? How far can you go in your innovation and growth efforts if you operate in isolation from your customers’ real needs? If you had a chance to ‘chat’ to your bank about your needs and concerns, what would you be saying?




2 responses

2 03 2012
Jeffry Pilcher |

How many financial institutions use Facebook? 72%
How many are on Twitter? 54%
How many are using LinkedIn? 48%
How about YouTube? 49%


If you did a little poking around on Google or any social media platform before you’d written this piece, you probably would have come to a different conclusion.

5 03 2012

Hello Jeffry – thanks for your comment. I have read your study – very comprehensive. I wonder whether you felt inclined to do a similar study, but looking at banking from the perspective of consumers? The other side of the Social Media ‘coin’ doesn’t focus solely on up-selling, cross-selling etc etc, but also takes on board customers’ unmet and future needs? We recently prepared a case with a new hotel chain – CitizenM – who analyse totally neutral content on TripAdvisor as a way to inform their offferings. When it comes to banks and social media, I wonder whether the media is ‘neutral’ and whether customers feel ‘engaged’?

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