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Proof that (UK) banks miss out on new media

Building on yesterday's comments about UK banks missing out on new media, if you want proof you only need to look at Revolution's annual awards for 2009.

Revolution Magazine is one of my favourite monthly reads, as it's all about innovation online. 

Each year their awards ceremony recognises the best of British internet marketing across a range of categories, from best use of search engines to email, from mobile to websites, from using virals to much more.

This year's Awards magazine landed on my doorstep today and I counted 48 nominations in 8 cross-industry categories.

8 winners, 9 highly commended companies and 31 shortlisted organisations.

All industries represented, and all selected for being good online.

Guess what?

Not one bank.

None of the cross-industry categories has a single bank recognised or even shortlisted.

There are four financial firms in the 48, although not one winner.

And the four financial entrants were:

  • More Th>n Business, shortlisted for best B2B campaign;
  • Tesco Personal Finance, shortlisted for best use of search;
  • Experian, shortlisted for best use of email; and
  • Swiftcover mobile, shortliested for best use of mobile.

There was also a specific category for best Financial Services use of the web.

That one was won by an insurance company, the Prudential, for their targeting of retirement planning through an interactive service. 

A bank doesn't even win in their own industry!

Barclays were highly commended for their student campaign, and NatWest was shortlisted for their personal banking website. 

Illustration: Barclays launched a movie competition on YouTube for students in October 2007.  The competition was to make a video of a famous movie scene to win free access to the cinema for a year.

With the competition finished, I went and had a look at Barclays Student Group on YouTube, and it has 7 videos, five of which were made by Barclays and two are older videos that students entered.

I applaud Barclays for trying, but if that's the best in our industry …

Compare these with the two 'leaders' of Nike who won the innovation award, and Orange who won the Grand Prix prize, and it's like comparing the Model T Ford with the latest Formula 1 Racing vehicles.

I know I'm having a rant but it's a poor show when banking, a business based upon bits and bytes, doesn't have a clue how to use bits and bytes to grow business and reach customers.

Thank gawd banks overseas have some clue.

For example, the Financial Brand posted a great insight yesterday entitled: "Differentiation: the key to branding".  The message? 

"You must be different. If you can’t actually be different, at least look
different. Differentiation — even if only achieved on a cosmetic and
superficial level — will at least get you noticed, and that’s the first
step on the way to building a strong brand."

Ten comments had been posted so far, and one is from Fernando Egido Egaña who says:

"At CAN (Caja Navarra, Spain, a truly innovative bank) we think that Implemented differentiation leads to more
different results: economic ones and more far-reaching ones. We have
developed a new business model called Civic Banking. Based on the
promotion of (new and extended) rights, we want to be leaders in civic
finances, so that CAN becomes a benchmark for social and financial
innovation.  Take a look to our website http://www.cajanavarra.es/en where you will find more information about us."

So I took a look at their website, and Fernando is right:


The CAN site is a good, informative website.  It's multilingual, interactive and instructive.  And it has a strong message about why CAN is worth dealing with through a strong focus upon connection with community.

Like other Spanish Banks, such as BBVA, I see innovations in new media in parts of Europe.

Why not in the UK, which is one of the most wired countries in the EU?

About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, the Finanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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