Has Mobile killed the bank branch?



Neil Ballinger, Head of UX at Nimbletank

Now that Smartphones are bedded into our culture, banking as we know it is on its way out 

Banking as we know it, is on its way out. Traditional products, services and the branch are becoming redundant. It’s not time to call in the demolition teams yet, but there can be no denying that smartphones and their surrounding technology have completely changed the way younger people think about banking.

Mobile devices have changed us from a nation of owners to lifestyle livers.

A trend most evident in town high streets, where shops have closed down and turned into trendy restaurants and cafes because we no longer spend our time going from store-to-store with shopping bags. Instead, we sit on our sofas buying clothes and homeware on our smartphones.

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Smartphones are saving us from the mundane tasks of life. Such as a weekend appointment to visit to your bank manager to open a new account, order a credit card or discuss a mortgage.

Mobile has disrupted the way we need to look at banking. No longer are users looking to create a relationship with a bank manager. Saturday appointments will be a thing of the past, when you can simply download an app and order a card to your door. An unpleasant process has been turned into a simple one.

Millennials are holding the Scythe

Banking and financial services are being driven forward the emergence of the Millennial generation, empowered by their devices. Millennials find no importance in building relationships with bank managers. They think of money, credit, pensions as utility services that they can carry around like their music. As house prices become less affordable and having a healthy pension to retire on is becoming less realistic, Millennials are saving to spend in the here-and-now, making life-long relationships with banks obsolete.

Smartphones and related technology are giving young people the technology they need to view financial products as utilities rather than relationships to be built. With the emphasis within the Financial sector and Fintech centred around making their products simpler, more accessible and user-centric, it’s easy to imagine the landscape of the physical bank being done away with very soon.

Challenger banks in the West such as Atom Bank and Monzo are already rethinking the relationships people have with their banks. Smartphones are at the centre of both of them. The implications of Fintech companies such as these go way beyond customer service and the physical context of a bank branch. Challenger banks are tapping into the lifestyles of their consumers and creating new services to improve and simplify their lives.

Exciting advances in Fintech are happening all over the world. Among a multitude of truly innovative companies, China’s WeChat allow users to split their bills with friends, Spixii, a UK company have created a Chatbot using powerful AI technology that will buy and manage all of your insurance policies through you, all through an app. Thirdly, StashInvest in the US allows customers to make and control investments from their smartphone app.

Similarly, to Challenger banks, all these services are turning a boring, complicated or tedious process into a simple utility task.

Technology is dictating

Mobile is not the only technology that has emerged and helped to change the face of banking. AR, artificial intelligence, voice UI, smart assistants have all changed our expectations of how we interact with faulting services. Technologies such as Chatbots, which are dramatically redefining the customer services industry and products such as the Amazon Echo illustrate where traditional banking models are failing.

They’re not evolving. They’re sticking to the same models and are not changing their approach with the changing values of their customers. If a bank sells you a credit card, it differentiates its product by offering you sub-products such as air miles, cash back and rewards. Whereas, modern technologies are becoming invisible and are only focussing on improving the lives of customers.

Customer centricity is key

Physical banks are a thing of the past. They’re a need from an age where we lacked technology to manage our money how we wish. Their death won’t be immediate, but as the values of the general population aligns to those common within millennials, they will disappear.

Why are Millennials so important in this? Often thought of as the neglected demographic, they focus more on utility and experience than ownership. Whereas they don’t own as larger proportion of the world’s wealth – as older generations die and incumbents are born with the same expectations of Millennials, they will have a stronger and more shaping influence on the world of finance.

There has never been a better time for big banks and financial players to think about customer experience and value innovation.

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Mobile First – Plan > Tech > Create


Chris Minas Co-Founder and Managing Director Nimbletank

The days of adding technology and digital on to the end of a Marketing or advertising campaign are, thankfully, numbered. Strategists and planners are thinking about the vast array of possibilities with mobile technology as a key component from the moment they receive the brief, enabling the creative team to execute innovative campaigns.

Technology First, Mobile double first

In days gone by, Planners, Strategists or Media Planners, I should say, have been key to encouraging, persuading or manipulating an audience to take some sort of action whilst also ensuring that marketing performance and business objectives were met. They achieved this through the strategic positioning of artwork and media placed throughout the various channels available to them.

The worlds of branding, as well as media placement have moved relatively slowly over the years. It has taken over two hundred years to evolve advertising from shipping crates (circa 1800’s), to the creation of visual brands and logos (circa 1928), where its rumored that Sandeman Port brewery company, hired an artist to create a visual identity.

Advertising has moved comparatively quickly over the last fifty years, developing into the global industry we all know and love, across OOH, print, radio and television broadcast. Across these traditional channels it has always been crucial to be inventive, innovative and competitive in order to be noticed.

Circa 1998 digital was introduced into the marketing mix and consequently took off. Although digital has been a huge part of the marketing strategy, it has usually been an afterthought to the overarching advertising campaign. At this point the desktop was the tool of choice for digital, and we often heard “Let’s build a website to support the campaign”. In 2007 smartphones were introduced and the desktop become the mobile. The digital afterthought then moved onto “Let’s build an app”. Next up will no doubt be the smart watch.

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What’s stopping mobile being as creative as it could, and should be?


Rhoanna Glenn, Media Practice Lead, Nimbletank

We’re now well in to 2014 and are starting to see whether this year’s predictions for innovation in mobile are coming true. More advertising budgets are indeed moving from traditional channels to mobile, as the industry starts to understand the epic power of mobile advertising. But why, when there is such potential for mobile advertising to be creative, can’t we find many examples of mobile at its best? We can think of four main barriers standing in the way:

1) Mobile is still an afterthought in many cases and brands often end up running standard media, rather than utilising rich media due to time constraints. We need to ensure than mobile becomes a starting point for every campaign. After all, mobile phones are central to peoples’ lives, and should therefore be a central piece to any campaign or media plan, not an afterthought. There’s no doubting that the more thought-out a mobile strategy is the more creative it can be.

2) The majority of brands are still relying on their media agency to develop, create and execute their mobile strategy, rather than a mobile agency. More often than not, they haven’t got the time or knowledge to produce an effective mobile campaign with outstanding strategy and creativity. Working in partnership with a full service mobile agency can ensure that mobile gets the full attention it needs.

3) Although this is slowly changing, publishers are not always willing to accept certain types of creative. Take interstitial ads, which lend themselves perfectly to creative content, but are not yet fully scalable.

4) Tracking and analytics can also become barriers when it comes to a brand’s faith in mobile and their ability to push agencies to be more creative. Brands who are unwilling or slow to include full tracking within their campaigns are missing out on crucial insights. Learning through iterative testing is proven to be worthwhile and enables us to discover so much more about the effectiveness of rich media units, compared to standard. Without the required analysis mobile will struggle to be recognised as truly effective. Continue reading

Samsung Gearing Up & Showing The Love To Developers

David Skerrett, Managing Partner, Nimbletank

David Skerrett,
Managing Partner,

At this year’s MWC there were lots of shiney products on display, from Google Glass controlled drones buzzing near the theatres in Hall 8, through to the much improved Samsung Gear range including Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo and the Gear Fit with heart monitor, curved screen and earth quake alert use case.

This year was not the year of mobile! But it may well be the year of the smarter world. It became clear at this year’s show that the smart phone is becoming the door way into a smart way of life: across wearable’s, health, homes and cars.

Samsung really turned up at the show, flashing some of their $8.5billion marketing budget, with a high spend and lots of product launches and developer love.

The Galaxy S5 was a safe launch with innovations such as finger print authentication and waterproofing already pioneered by Apple and Sony respectively. The specs all make this a great phone, available in April. The most interesting feature perhaps is the heart beat monitor, and its great to see new sensors and additio
nal health utility coming to mobiles. The S Health app b
ring this to life with software that tracks certain activity types along with calorie consumption tracking. It’ll be interesting to see how Apple’s rumoured HealthBook app competes. Continue reading