AlwaysWoW! For a Great Great WoW in Life

Thoughts from me about things that are cool, that are WoW, that blow me away. Observations about businesses and people from a wide variety of life. Daily encounters - and thoughts outside the box, inside the box and without any box. New thinking, and challenging old thinking. Passionate about life, about respect, and about integrity.

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

The Greatest Race on Earth and what has it got to do with banking?

It started two days ago. A super event called "The Greatest Race on Earth". It covers over 5447 miles, began in Nairobi (Kenya), moves to Singapore on December 5, then onto Mumbai (India) on January 25 next year, with the final race in Hong Kong on February 27.

55 teams participate with each team consisting of four runners with a team member running in one marathon each. For Malaysia police long distance runner Shaharuddin Hashim participates.

The race goes in a way that as one country marathon is over, the next athlete runs in the next country, picking up the baton from his colleague who ran the previous marathon.

Over one billion people will watch the race on TV or can be followed on the web.

Its main sponsor is Standard Chartered Bank, and its Singaporean CEO Euleen Goh had some interesting comparisons between the banking business and the marathon.

Let me bring some of those quotes that were also published in The Edge (Singapore):

"You cannot be still because you will be overtaken, which is why we like the
marathon. Anyone can participate. And you can keep going."

She (he? - sorry, but I don't know if this is a male or a female name - please tell me)also said that the company is identifying niches to serve its customers - "Marine Parade was our first branch after QFB where customers can sit down on sofa sets, watch Bloomberg and have a chat with our relationship manager." - But this is followed by the statement that competitors are upstaging it by offering similar services. "This comes back to, can we stay at it? We have to. We have to keep doing things differently because we will be copied. Maybe part of our role is to add the fizz, add the buzz, add the choices."

Or, may be they do what customers really require. Make customer's feel like a real WoW whey then enter Standard Chartered's premises. Not like - okay - this one I have seen already and that one I have seen somewhere else. Hm - the bank looks just like any other bank.

Design is a differentiator, for sure. But it also is the internal culture that drives the differentiation to competitors. So Standard Chartered might want to ask themselves - everybody is doing what we are doing (what is already great) - but may be instead of running with all the other banks in the same race, may be we should run a different race altogether?

Like, for example, offering services that customers require - not just offering choices for the sake of offering choices and than hope that it will be picked up by customers. What is a different ballgame - do you see the difference?


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