How to web 2.0 your bank
Thinking about the CMO problem at ANA, when about 5% knew about web 2.0. This begs the question of what are the implications for Banks. What specifically should a bank think about, if it wants to join the web 2.0 cool club?
My belief is that there are simple staged elements that can be adopted that will engender internal confidence while producing satisfaction for customers.
The definition of web 2.0 and why it matters
There is only one definition, here, because O’Reilly invented it. You can agree, disagree, debate, but that’s the definition.
It matters, because, wordsmithing aside, it loosely defines the resurgence of the web, following the 2000 dot com crash, and the following 3 or 4 years when business decided online was a fad. It was all about business value, and Internet was an empty promise. Well, meantime Amazon, eBay, Google proceeded to successfully build. In parallel many smart people worked quietly in apartments, and basements, building web applications. This is the first real shift in my view – the use of web as an application. Examples are writely (now Google) and zoho. Forrester called it the Xweb in 2000 before it was built. I remember this article well, and frankly didn’t get it, but I knew there was something there. Kudos to George Colony, because he was predicting web 2.0, 5 years previous to O’Reilly.
The second parallel shift, was the use of interaction. There had long been talk of community, but with scale of many users, as Internet grew in the early 2000’s, grew online forums, based on common interest. This could be people complaining about Bell Canada, the Post Office, or dare I say it Banks. There were forums on stocks, and investing, restaurants, hotels, travel. Sites sprang up to support these common interests, such as chowhound, and tripadvisor. Finally blogs have become core to the web over the last 2 years. Everyone reads blogs now, whether by accident or design. If you search you end up in a blog at some point. But the power of interaction, the the natural formation of communities of interest through blogs is fascinating and deceptive. I know many people around the world now as a result of blogging. I go to conferences, and feel I am amongst friends … yet I have not ever had dinner, or drinks with most. We just have a common thread of interest, through posts, counter posts, and comments.
The third shift was the adoption of open source standards that reached critical mass, and the developer community behind it. Key here, were web services, and xml, that supported concepts such as tagging, ajax, microformats, openid, opml, rss, blogs, wiki’s, and in financial services, ofx, and ifx.
The convergence of these elements, web applications, interaction, and standards supported by critical mass of people online is where we are today. We can debate my categorisation, and add/ modify/ but the essence is directionally right. There is enormous promise, real promise for the web to become central to all our lives. Its central to my life, and many who read this and other blogs, but we have to remember we are still the minority. There is the demographic thing happening, that will take care of a fair chunk of the final shift but we also need much greater utility, integration and friendly tools. The good news is that all those things are happening, at a frenetic pace. The future of web 2.0 is assured.
Elements of web 2.0
Again, I will pull from the O’Reilly definition. From a brainstorming session 2005 they developed a list, and this was a shortened version, suggesting the differences between 1.0 and 2.0.
|Web 1.0||Web 2.0|
|evite||–>||upcoming.org and EVDB|
|domain name speculation||–>||search engine optimization|
|page views||–>||cost per click|
|screen scraping||–>||web services|
|content management systems||–>||wikis|
|directories (taxonomy)||–>||tagging (“folksonomy”)|
In Colony’s 2000 piece he made a prescient point.
Many people think the Internet and the Web are the same thing. They’re not. The Internet is a piece of wire that goes from me to you and from me to 300 million other people in the world. The Web is software that I put on my end of the wire, and you put on your end — allowing us to exchange information.
In simple terms, the browser becomes the pre-eminent PC application, and whatever you need to do just happens inside it.
O’Reilly came up with a meme map.
Finally, the essential elements of web 2.0 are contained in The Cluetrain Manifesto. Its a terribly organised, but full of gems book. There are 95 hypotheses, with some degree of overlap, so here is a relevant sample, which become principles.
The Internet is enabling conversations among human beings that were simply not possible in the era of mass media.
Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy.
In both internetworked markets and among intranetworked employees, people are speaking to each other in a powerful new way.
There are no secrets. The networked market knows more than companies do about their own products. And whether the news is good or bad, they tell everyone.
What’s happening to markets is also happening among employees. A metaphysical construct called “The Company” is the only thing standing between the two.
Companies that assume online markets are the same markets that used to watch their ads on television are kidding themselves.
Companies that don’t realize their markets are now networked person-to-person, getting smarter as a result and deeply joined in conversation are missing their best opportunity
Getting a sense of humor does not mean putting some jokes on the corporate web site. Rather, it requires big values, a little humility, straight talk, and a genuine point of view.
Companies attempting to “position” themselves need to take a position. Optimally, it should relate to something their market actually cares about.
Bombastic boasts—”We are positioned to become the preeminent provider of XYZ”—do not constitute a position.
Networked markets can change suppliers overnight. Networked knowledge workers can change employers over lunch. Your own “downsizing initiatives” taught us to ask the question: “Loyalty? What’s that?”
Companies typically install intranets top-down to distribute HR policies and other corporate information that workers are doing their best to ignore.
Intranets naturally tend to route around boredom. The best are built bottom-up by engaged individuals cooperating to construct something far more valuable: an intranetworked corporate conversation.
Paranoia kills conversation. That’s its point. But lack of open conversation kills companies
You want us to pay? We want you to pay attention
Our allegiance is to ourselves—our friends, our new allies and acquaintances, even our sparring partners. Companies that have no part in this world, also have no future.
We are waking up and linking to each other. We are watching. But we are not waiting.
There are elements here that we call extract, that are re-usable for Banks, some being simple and can be done right away, and others requiring policy changes, and CEO approval. Lets develop a list here. I am starting with the web 1.0/2.0 table and moving through the meme, translating into relevant uses as I go:
- flickr & youtube
- bittorrent/ itunes/ podcasts
- SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
- web services
- syndication (RSS, podcasts)
- ajax: rich user experience
- perpetual beta
- reputation: customers as contributors
- radical trust
- participation, not publication
- networked customers
- networked employees
- humble corporate values, and straight talk
- engaged intranets
- paranoia or openness
- listen to customers
- corporate irrelevance
Observation: the elements of web 2.0 skew towards CEO approval. Without having the CEO onside, and driving change, banks’ success will be limited.
Now that we have a few elements of web 2.0, we need to go through the exercise of developing implications, and examples for each. How can these elements be implemented for your bank?
web 2.0 implications
I will go through each of the above elements, and try to develop examples of how we can implement those. I won’t get in too deep on pacing, cost, or other things that frankly could get proprietary, and I might just want to do these myself!
Simple – your channel, or marketing group can just do it
Go to google.com, and sign up. Check your budget, and if necessary get a consultant to help. Lots of advice, but bottom line is just do it. To see how others do it, go to google, type in mortgage, and view the results in the right sidebar.
flickr & youtube
Talk to your corporate real estate group. Get photo’s of all your branches, and stick them on flickr. Decide on the tagging strategy before you start, so that its simple. Place all TV ads on youtube, and link from your web site.
bittorrent/ itunes/ podcasts
Have your marketing group team up with external journalists/ pundits/ experts, and do podcasts. Go video. Audio is the easy way out, and not very sexy. Make sure your site has an RSS/ podcast area, and link all to there. Have all product groups link to that area.
SEO (Search Engine Optimisation)
Get a consultant, or a student. Get help, to raise the visibility of your bank in Google, MSN, and Yahoo.
Technology implementations should use re-usable elements, that you can build once, and share across channels, and systems.
Tagging takes bookmarking out of each customers browser, and makes it network centric. By storing tags, or memorable key words online you can access from any computer, and others can share in your tagging.
This begins to get at the essence of community.
syndication (RSS, podcasts)
The basics. You must have this on your site – this is entry level, web 2.0 101.
Policy -you will need to talk to legal, corporate communications, information security etc.
Forget corporate blogs – I despise them. And to aspire to be a Scoble at Microsoft is a bit lofty. Look for someone who gets it, and can be your blogger, talking to customers, non customers, commenting on other blogs with a link to your blog. Let him talk about what is good about your bank and what needs to be fixed. Let it take its own course, trust it.
ajax: rich user experience
If you are not planning to run online banking with significant ajax by 2010 expect to be left behind.
Don’t start a project for Google maps linked to your ATM locator. Get a student and do it. Put it on your site as a beta alongside your current ATM locator until you are satisfied. Same for branch locator, mortgage tools, investment calculators, bank account selector, etc etc.
CEO approval – stuff that’s just too outside what Banks do, and you feel personal risk by trying (PS .. if you are in a dot com company, you do these things first – at Banks we are opposite)
Develop a wiki, that lets customers design bank products. You will be surprised. As much as you will have extremists want everything for free, you will get sensible, creative, thoughtful ideas, based on willingness to pay. I know this from experience, during the early direct banking days, when I personally chatted with new customers via email, about what we ought to to next.
reputation: customers as contributors
participation, not publication
These four concepts are similar, and almost are principles to govern how the other elements are implemented.
Relevance to Bankwatch:
This post ended up much broader than I expected, so I will link this is the sidebar near the top, and update periodically.
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