One of the major themes in my upcoming book “Emotional Banking: Fixing Culture, Leveraging FinTech and Transforming Retail Banks into Brands” is the fact that banks are so far removed from the concept of experience and that of truly investing in consumers’ feelings that they insist to think in terms of “products” not “MoneyMoments” and that intelligent retail brands have an open corridor to leapfrog them in that area should they not change fast.
After banging on for years that Banks need to become Brands before Brands decide to become Banks, last year I wrote about how Facebook could be the first big brand bank. Now, as I’m sure you’ve read, it’s Amazon’s turn.
This very insightful article by Jim Marous at TheFinancialBrand not only frames it beautifully but brings in the perspective of many great minds and some absolutely hit the nail on the head helping us understand the business model behind it, the value of data, etc.
To me it’s very clear: Amazon is a brand and they will use all that it encompasses – the knowledge, the passion, the vision and use technology to translate these into becoming the most insightful provider of MoneyMoments we’ve had so far.
They won’t worry about “products” – what is the “type” of “account” that enables the experience. That’s what they are getting a banking partner for. So they can focus on enabling their consumer’s life with purchases.
The possibilities are endless and the discussion on data privacy and automation comfort level should be raging but beyond whether or not their financial account customers will be offered access to a special episode of their favourite show for signing up, I think the most exciting angles to unfold will be around reframing around emotions in lieu of traditional banking interactions.
Imagine if this data-meaning-constructing-giant decides to redefine categorisation around the feelings that a certain purchase or payment have elicited. No more “council tax” or “groceries” or “shoes” but “mandatory”, “weekly”and “luxury”. And then if they correlated that with the degree of satisfaction (or absence of pain) a certain purchase causes the consumer and its necessity, its affordability, its need of instant gratification and turned them into “mandatory and painful, insured by income protection, can be improved when credit score grows”, “needed weekly, slight variation week after salary with extra items”and “cherished luxury with huge satisfaction quotient and big social media impact impulse buy credit pre-approved”.
This is a company that not only invented recommendations but enabled consumer near-instant-gratification with next day delivery, the Dash product button and was ahead of the pack in understanding the emotional value in creating a near human interface to data insight. This is not a company that will bundle a mortgage suggestion but will map your purchases for the next foreseeable future and adjust your credit and spending patterns for them before you even know you’ll be making them.
So soon enough, don’t be surprised if you answered an absent-minded “sure” when Alexa inquired if you wanted your groceries replenished and hours later found an extra box of chocolates that the babysitter you use likes, a dinner and theatre reservation, and a bottle of bubbly to celebrate the promotion your lady just received but hasn’t even had a chance to tell you about.
Oh and of course, you never once “made a payment“.