The new banking experience?

Remaking the Banking Experience: OCBC and DBS seek to capture Gen Y

Don’t you find retail banks no longer appeal to us, the youngsters?? That’s the reason why Singapore’s two local retail banks are having a fight for Gen Y, the young adults with increasing spending power. To conquer this evolution, traditional banking experience is set to change for this market with new brands like DBS Remix and Frank by OCBC, their newly launched programmes. They sure know we love to be branded ya? *hehe*

By positioning themselves as a lifestyle product for the younger generation, aged 16 to 29, they have introduced new branch concepts and services marketing which seek to engage them holistically so as to play an active role in their banking activities!

I’ve just learnt about this SCREAM technique in class and it can best reflect the thought of how these banks challenge the norm. Let’s now check it out their great marketing communications efforts, from location based advertising to spontaneous customers’ participation.

Substitute – What alternatives can be used to communicate with the Gen Y? 

The outlets of DBS Remix and Frank by OCBC are located prominently at high traffic areas patronized by students and young working adults, such as SCAPE in Orchard Road and two universities, Singapore Management University (SMU) and Nanyang Technological University (NTU). These specially designed branches have relieved the conventional look and feel of a banking branch.

Interestingly, OCBC has transformed their traditional branches at the universities into OCBC Frank themed retail stores that sell Frank themed savings account and debit cards. With these specialized branches, OCBC is able to identify better with the younger audience

For DBS Remix, they are banking on digitalized platforms with touch screen information booth, digitablets and row of laptops for their customers to go online. This innovative “retail store-like” banking channel is definitely an alternative way to build engaging relationships with these students and young working adults, to bank along their life stages.

Are these visually appealing banking stores really taking over traditional mediums of advertising such as brochures, newspapers and posters? As youths selective towards the type of information and advertising medium, these eye-catching banking stores certainly provide an edge for OCBC and DBS to break through the advertising clutter and effectively reach out to them.

Combine – How can they combine different services or functions?

The new banking concepts by DBS Remix and Frank by OCBC have basically integrated both lifestyle and banking needs into the daily life of these youths. Banking needs were traditionally seen as a rigid and monotonous. However, the transformations of the branch concept and services marketing have made it possible to position the banks into a lifestyle product.

An attractive feature of these new banking concepts is how these two banks have altered the physical aspects of a banking branch to attract the youths.

DBS Remix has two distinct areas – the digital banking lounge for events (LEFT) and the 24 hr auto lobby with touch screen panels and self-service banking machines (RIGHT).

No longer does Frank by OCBC just want to hard sell their products to the young in a single boring and serious manner. They strongly utilize visual merchandising to create an assortment of things.

There is a wall collection of credit card designs that replica a CD store, as well as a fashion shop presentation with item displays and dressed mannequins. These intriguing and modeled retail stores layouts will greatly entice the youths to walk in and have a look.

What do you think of these new open concepts? Boo or YAY? Hold on to your judgement! There are also  young looking service personnel to interact with the Gen Y in these relaxed atmosphere. Who knows you may have a new friend as well?

For the non-physical element, both brands offer e-accounts with online banking services such as e-statements for convenient and timely viewing.  This is well accustomed to the fast paced and active lifestyle of young people living in Singapore. In addition, personalized websites like and directly link generation Y to the pages of their interests where ease of navigation is highly appreciated.

Isn’t it brilliant to combine these physical and non-physical dimensions into the new banking programmes? An experiential lifestyle banking experience is then delivered with the functions of marketing, interactive relationship and business . Bravo! This refreshing recipe seems really promising.

Rearrange – How to capture the importance of customers’ roles for greater positivity? 

As a platform for young customers to pursue a holistic banking lifestyle, our roles have been rearranged. Banks need to seek our expressive and participative views before developing new banking programmes. And so it can better cater our needs as consumers and stay appealing to us.

Customer roles are therefore evolving and their importance need to be felt. So how did these new banking stores came about? Frank by OCBC was formed with their research on the consumer behaviour of their target segment. DBS Remix organized I-Designed-A-Bank’ contest to gather ideas and co-designed the ideal branch with the winners as well as NUS design students. With this strong commitment towards the youths, it seeks to captivate their great interest towards & make us feel part of it!

Recognizing the integral part of good communication, Frank by OCBC and DBS Remix employ popular social media tools like Facebook and Twitter. They can constantly interact with the youths which allow them to update regularly in regards to events, promotions, financial tips or even relevant topics to discuss with these students or young working adults. No longer is correspondence a one-sided affair that yields little interest, customers can now play an active role of providing spontaneous comments and feedbacks for the banks. CERTAINLY, banks can react timely to their changing needs at a faster pace for greater positiveness.

Eliminate – What redundant weight can the banks shed? 

The great savings in cost, effort and time seek to complement these brands’ entire banking experience. Frank by OCBC and DBS Remix has introduced their all in one ATM cum debit card respectively – Frank debit card and DBS Visa debit card. Unlike usual savings account issuing two cards, these single cards provide convenience for their users.  as well as the shift towards online banking for these accounts, there are no issuance of paper statements and cheque books. These “zero maintenance” accounts will draw many students and young working adults, especially for those with no substantial financial capabilities! Sounds good eh. 🙂

Gone is the practice of getting into long queues and enduring the queue just to open an account. With DBS Remix’s e-queue system, it reduces time wastage. Customers can shop at nearby outlets while waiting for an SMS notification when nearing their turns.

To gesture an invitation to the branch experience, Frank by OCBC has taken away the hassle of customers opening doors for entry. The SMU branch showcases a clean outlook at the entrance without any doors, just like the retail stores in shopping malls.

With all these features, the generation Y is now spoilt with these branded bank branches to carry out their usual banking activities.

Adapt – What perspectives can they bring in from other industries?

As mentioned, the new concepts have been blended from various perspectives of retail stores, full-fledged banking services, and marketing communications, the power of new banking programmes aspire to deliver a completely fresh banking experience throughout generation Y’s daily life.

Resembling retail stores striving to appeal, these concepts entice customers to spend more time and know more about the bank products. Being young, both online and offline banking activities in a tailored arena allow them to express their personality and stand out from the masses. They will also be more accessible and open to share their thoughts through Facebook or Twitter which will enhance banks’ marketing communications.

Branding is certainly important to improve the value of these new banking initiatives!! These edgy and unconventional brand names for this segment – “Frank” and “Remix” allow young consumer to feel associated & be able to convey their personalities. These brand names are also pretty straightforward and easy to understand;

  1. Frank means honesty, trust, and progressiveness
  2. Remix suggests open-mindedness.

As such, the lingo of “I’m Franking or I’m Remixing” seems cool to share with their friends on a Facebook or Twitter status, as opposed to “I’m Banking with OCBC” which sounds serious. Inevitably, they create a perception in their minds that these banks do speak their language. Furthermore, Gen Y can see them as a friend to build rapport and bank with. Hooray!

Using Facebook/Twitter as a social platform to keep the banks updated about what the young is thinking, these brands helps to create a community for like-minded people. It enables them to share their aspirations and financial knowledge to better educate one another.

Magnify – How can they make their brands larger, stronger and broader?

Normal bank branches are usually situated in neighbourhood and business districts areas. However, do the youths and young people patronize them and enjoy their time there? Acknowledging the fact that they do go for the usual banking activities, it therefore presented both banks the opportunity to magnify the physical banking experience as well as banging on social purpose bank via the new concepts.

Frank by OCBC is a shopping experience concept that the Generation Y is familiar with. The mentioned Frank themed retail stores differ from the common OCBC Bank branches. Frank customers can slowly browse around these stores to shop for their favorite Frank debit card from 100 over designs. New designs will also be added to extend the card design collection, thereby increasing their desires to shop for the “new products”. The affordable pricing of $10 to $50 will increase the patronage frequency.

To further engage them, young looking service personnel are also spotted to assist their queries on any products and banking needs. By looking at the visual merchandises, customers can preview the illustrated promotions that this card offers them to shop with the selected merchants. This way, as customers better understand what they can expect for future services, Frank by OCBC will also be able to manage their customer relationships well.

YAY! Another great shopping choice for you ya? Extra features have been also added into the Frank account.

  1. Greater value seeking to motivate Frank’s users to work towards their goals with “saving jars” that has funds splitting functions in their e-accounts for dedicating structured spending and savings for their wish lists.
  2. Save more! These customers can, via the higher interest rate nature of Frank savings account, be encouraged to save more than the normal ones.

I think it is high time the youths get wiser with their online banking activities! Yay!

Some Frank card designs also do inspire cards holders to work and achieve their goals, like how a “Beetles” will depict one’s dream car.

On the other hand, DBS Remix’s location highlights the fact that SCAPE is frequently visited by young people. This certainly works well and is able to capture the audience with their 24 hrs auto lobby with touch screen information machine for repeated visits. It serves as an engaging tool for them to meddle with the screens and learn more about DBS products, other than just using the ATM machines. These value-added marketing definitely stands out from the usual clutter of information consumers face.

Having strong partnerships with industry practitioners, DBS Remix branch will continue to interact with this young audience by organizing seminar events after office hours. Programs lined up vary from financial literacy to money management skills. These classes will certainly serve to expand the learning boundaries of their customers and build their aspirations. BOTH BOO OR YAY? you need not be an account holder to join them, just find out more on their facebook page. Boo cause let’s hope its not some boring classes. Yay is that more places to hang out when you have no plans eh? hahah!

The Future Outlook

Undeniably, these new social purpose branches have redefined the banking experience through SCREAM techniques. It has definitely shown how DBS Remix and Frank by OCBC are able to reign in the banking game that is ruled by traditional boundaries. They have proved that nothing is impossible even in the serious, corporate arena. With these new marketing concepts at work in the youth market, it might be the next big thing after Apple.


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