Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bank Symbiosis

This is an idea I really believe in (although most of my friends don't think it's that good, and actually prefer my idea for a concept restaurant with a napping lounge in the back.) However, everyday I don’t see this happen, it's annoying. Unfortunately I don’t own or work for a bank.

Banks and food places should be combined. Like Citibank + Itsu. HSBC + Eat. Barclay’s + Pret.

It’s not a merger, but a symbiosis. Banks don’t have to formidable places anymore--made out of marble, and super quiet, and cold. They don’t have to convey that image of power and soundness. We all know unsound they can be and how our government will come to rescue. Come on, now some banks look like college kid’s room with overly cutesy furniture. What’s driving deposits now are location, marketing, rates and offering, and innovation.

Now comes the advantages of my Bank Symbiosis idea.

  1. Banks can expand into more location at less costs. We’ve all seen banks shuttering up in London to save money. Sharing the costs such as lease, maintenance, utilities, etc. can produce saving of up to 50%. Seriously, what good is that college-kid living area without food to eat?
  2. People love to multi-task. This allows for multi-tasking such as the wait time and the need to go to two places. You wait once, but you’re waiting for two things. Plus, as a restaurant you can just say, the nearest ATM is here. Not that I condone anywhere that doesn’t accept cards.
  3. Increase foot traffic. Imagine you had to deposit some cash. You walk in to a bank what’s the likelihood you’ll want to grab some food? Or a coffee? Banks already serve coffee and tea to customers for free. Let’s turn that from a cost to a profit. And it works the other way too.
  4. Hours of operation are synchronized. Some banks and food places open and close at around the same time. And hopefully, restaurants can abolish the Eat-In premium which may lead to more sales.
  5. Interest levels are heightened. People will love the concept and the time saved! Plus food makes people happy.

Some drawbacks

  1. People might not like the eating environment. After all, it’s not about the coffee at Starbucks. This is a risk that could result in a failure if not done right. There are several ways of doing it right. The easiest of which could just be a food place with no eat-in space. The other option is to have space outside for eating. Or work together to create an atmosphere that is both relaxing and enjoyable, while functionally practical for a bank.
  2. Marketing ambiguity. People might get the wrong idea that Citibank is endorsing Itsu. Also a small risk that people might hate one partner.
  3. Interdependency. If one goes under, the other goes under or scrambles to find a new partner. But it’s the same with many partnerships and celebrity endorsements.

I think that’s about it. I mean if you could put a McDonald’s in a Wal-mart and a Starbucks in a Borders, I’m sure you can fit a Eat in a NatWest.

1 comment:

Taige Zhang said...

Notice how a pharmacy (Boots) is implementing this strategy very well with its meal deal