New Age Banking: Hip, Cool and Social

What links hotel heiress Paris Hilton, former boxing champion Floyd Mayweather and Oscar winner Jamie Foxx? They are massive fans of cryptocurrencies (or at least that’s what they tell their Instagram followers). So what does that tell us about the image of banking?

millennial banker

Celebrity endorsements in the USA are as common place as Starbucks. So it’s no surprise that cryptocurrency exchanges have paid big sums to associate their brands with influencers around the world, and become shirt sponsors to football teams with global brands.

Now if we hop across the pond to the more conservative UK, we are still seeing an ever-increasing brand presence for financial services and FinTech brands. And we are seeing their presentation in a slick lifestyle brand way.

The social ubiquity of FinTech in itself, seems to have bridged the gap between the traditional banker image and the twenty-something hipster. Has cryptocurrency been a driving catalyst to create a buzz in financial services?  It seems a whole new generation see FinTech as the future unicorns, like big tech was in the noughties.

I’d make a bet that you’re more likely to see a Monzo, Revolute or N26 card in student unions, or the bars of Salford Quays and Hackney than a Lloyds or Barclays one.

So, what’s driving this age of banking cool?

In Europe, rather than pure celebrity endorsement, financial services brands have moved to a more immersed celebrity partnership strategy. WilI.i.am is a keen FinTech investor, and not only owns a chunk of Atom Bank but was also on its board and is involved in regular PR.

Snoop Dogg is a major shareholder of Klarna, the Swedish Payments giant, and is again regularly involved in advertising campaigns. This week in London we see the appointment of Luke Lloyd-Davies, head of Elton John’s management business and CEO of Elton John’s private office, on to the board of Metro Bank.

The move of non-exec boards away from the stereotype of middle-aged white men is not a new phenomenon. But are we now seeing this taken to the next level? The examples I’ve mentioned here are just the tip of iceberg. There are more and more partnerships with people in the public eye that financial services brands are using to change the way we see them.

And the way that they see us. So, are we now in age where it’s cool to bank with a cool bank? Would love to hear your thoughts?

At Interim Partners our diverse network of chair, non-executives, advisors and mentors continues to drive the conversation surrounding the challenges for forming the optimal effective board. If you would like to be considered for our network or are looking to benchmark your boards effectiveness, please get in touch.

 

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