I’m currently in the middle of the Visible Banking Asia Pacific tour. I’ve landed in Sydney a couple of days ago after a successful week in Singapore ponctuated, among other things, by a social media workshop in Bangkok and a well attended book launch party with the likes of Standard Chartered, OCBC, DBS Bank, Maybank, Visa.
On Monday, Tracy Hicks – PR Advisor at Commonwealth Bank of Australiainvited me to attend their event for the launch of their latest mobile banking application ‘Kaching‘ (‘#CBAAnnouncement on twitter). The event took place yesterday morning at the CBA building on Harbour street.
The leading Australian bank, which has started to celebrate its 100 years, did a good job building the level of excitement and interest with this well executed product launch. Well done to Tracy and her PR colleagues.
This initiative reminded me of FNB‘s recent event to support the launch of their own mobile banking app for smartphones. The South African bank’s launch was extremely smart and successful: the bank invited a lot of influencial and vocal bloggers which helped them generate a lot of buzz online, sustain excellent conversations and capture valuable feedback from the get go, trend on twitter for days, and earn a high volume of online coverage (earned media).
My expectations were high. So, how innovative is CBA’s new mobile app? And how successful was the PR launch event? Let’s find out now.
In the last couple of years, the vast majority of banks made sure to have some kind of presence in the apple app store. Most of the banking apps on iphone are fairly limited, providing access to basic information without any payment facility, few really innovate.Among the more innovative applications in financial services, focused on life events versus just banking or insurance, include USAA’s Auto Circle(helping you find and buy your next car) launched in August 2010, CBA’sProperty Guide (your own personal real estate agent) also launched in August 2011, or BNP Paribas’ Travel’r launched in June 2011 (helping you to prepare for your holidays).In the last twelve months, we noticed a similar trend on the most popular tablets on the planet, the iPad and the iPad 2. A few months ago, Citibank US launched unarguably one of the most advanced banking applicationsavailable to date. On the other hand, last month Italy’s Webank failed to deliver the market defining ipad application we were waiting for followingtheir successful crowdsourcing experiment ‘the Wepad project’…
As mentioned previously, the event took place at CBA’s building in Harbour street. The room was packed with CBA employees and journalists. I’m not sure how many bloggers were in the room though…
Once again, it has been another busy event for me: I covered it live on twitter, I shot dozens of pictures, I recorded a few videos (live demos and interviews).
The following Senior Leaders contributed to the event:
* Andy Lark, Chief Marketing and Online Officer(chair)
* David Lindberg, Executive General Manager Cards Payments and Retail Strategy
* Michael Harte, Chief Information Officer
* Adam Bennett, Chief Information Officer of Retail and Business Banking
The event was chaired by Andy Lark, CMOO of the bank. Andy pretty much made Dell social during his 14-year at the Austin-based company. Considering Dell’s position as a leader in social media, you’d know how excited I was when I got to spend 45 minutes with him after the event. We ended up sharing our passion for watches, and we had to talk about the rugby worldcup… I will post our 30mn video conversation soon on Visible Banking. Stay tuned!
Andy introduced the event and did an excellent job moderating the discussion panel at the end.
I’ve also recorded an excellent interview with another kiwi, and fellow rugby and fine dining enthusiast, Michael Harte. Michael proudly talked us through CBA’s recent significant investments in its core banking system, the bank’s leading position in mobile, social and payments, and last but not least the very concept (put into action) of ‘Real-Time banking’ and single view of the customer. Brilliant.
David Lindberg was the main contributor at the launch. David delivered an inspired presentation and I was delighted to witness first-hand his passion for social media. With this application the bank demonstrates its leadership by being ‘social by design’. David also told us to expect new incremental innovations to their mobile banking offering every three to four months, and an even deeper social media integration with services like facebook or twitter.