Interviews

3 short interview of Brand professionals in Banking and Finance Industry

As the world of banking continually changes, ushers an era of all things digital. ICE Business Times speaks with the successful brand professionals who are making their mark in the financial industry. They explain the dynamics of the new age, the challenges of the market, and their passion for the job.

Anwar Ehtesham, Head of Brand, Dhaka Bank Limited

Anwar Ehtesham, Head of Brand, Dhaka Bank Limited

A Decade of Challenges and Changes
We are going through the most significant cultural shifts of our time. Attitude towards getting services, level of expectations from the service providers, service delivery/consumption process, media consumption patterns, information search methods, etc. are changing every day. Customers are getting more powerful and demanding; the banking Industry is also experiencing the same. Innovation and marketing are therefore getting essential not anymore for its growth only, but also for the survival.

Challenges in the Financial Industry
As per my understanding, the need of banks will reduce day by day, but the demand for banking (services) will increase at the highest possible pace. This dynamic indicates the rise of FinTech, payment gateways, more and more tech involvement into the banking system. So, banking industry must be in a position to embrace this shift and adapt accordingly. I think all banks should invest heavily in the technological capacity building. Dhaka Bank has already started addressing these issues. We have already introduced several technology-driven products/solutions namely, Dhaka Bank Go, Dhaka Bank Trade Cloud, Dhaka Bank BillsToCash, Dhaka Bank C Solution, etc. And we have plans to introduce more products in coming days. ‘Excellence in Banking’ end of the day is not a destination; it is the journey. Our core objective is to tap our products with everyday life which will mostly require technological advancement as well as customer need assessment.

“Customers are getting more powerful and demanding; the banking Industry is also experiencing the same. Innovation and marketing are therefore getting essential, not anymore for its growth only, but also for the survival.”

Passion for the Profession
Communications and Branding are perceived as support services in most Banks and NBFIs of Bangladesh (in banking terms, it is the ‘cost center’). However, it should have been one of the core areas. I enjoy my profession. It is because my profession involves dealing with people from diverse ideas as well as professions. I hardly find any monotony in my profession as every day is a new day; I don’t know what I’ll be dealing with in the next afternoon. Don’t get me wrong; we have preset marketing plans as well as budgets, individual and collective goals, activity calendar, etc. However, many unknown and unplanned agendas come to our priorities almost every month. I’ll say, this is the beauty of this profession and I love it.
We collect market data from different sources, i.e., competitors’ activities, industry insights, global shifts, supply and demand trends, social media content consumption and feedbacks, etc. In this hyper-connected society, it is challenging to meet the expectations of every single customer because the requirements and expectations are widely diverse. I think we are no longer in the era of generic banking; instead, we have already entered into the age of genetic banking. By genetic banking, I tried to mean that every customer is different (applicable to both retail and corporate customers) and needs to be treated differently. The more customization a bank can offer to its customer, the more success it will cherish in coming days.

Banking for the Win
There is a saying, ‘wherever there are customers to be reached; there is a need for a Marketer.’ I came to this profession by choice. I am more of a ‘people person.’ I love meeting new people; learn new things as well as share my thoughts with others. And I believe that marketing is the place that best matches my passion.
There are more than just one winning sides in this profession. I think this trade allows me to communicate directly (and sometimes indirectly) with the stakeholders. It gives me immense opportunities to deal with creative works such as design, image, copy, colors and most importantly the ideas and strategies. The job is sometimes a bit stressful. Working for late hours and on holidays is an everyday norm. However, it brings smiles when I see that our creatives and campaigns are not only making our organization profitable but also changing the overall industry landscape.

Md. Sarwar Matin, Head of PR & Brand Communication Division, Jamuna Bank Limited

Md. Sarwar Matin, Head of PR & Brand Communication Division, Jamuna Bank Limited

A Decade of Challenges and Changes
Yes, Banking industry in the last decade has changed a lot. Especially internet and mobile communication made it very accessible to everyone and expectation has gone higher. Now we have to be more customer-centric while designing our product. Whereas a few years back it was straightforward with four basic products, Savings, Current, Fixed Deposit, and DPS.
From communication side, it is challenging for everyone. Customers are scattered across so many vehicles that you have to be present in all of them just to get noticed. So, for this profession, the challenge becomes understanding when and where your customer will be. So I have to keep an eye open for all recent trends and fads so that my brand always stays on top.

Challenges in the Financial Industry
I think customers are getting a hard time choosing their desired product as almost every bank’s offerings are same. I think every bank should focus on conveying the idea that customers’ assets are safe with us and he or she will gain more with our products instead of putting a lot of percentage and zeroes on our communication. Moreover, understanding of which customer group will be most benefitted by a specific product and aligning communication, branding everything around the designated group’s lifestyle should be the other proposition for every bank.

“The most important thing I like about my job is that I always have to stay ahead of the competition without sacrificing relevance with the market. Moreover, keeping the brand’s taste, voice, and language unique while continually innovating the message is another challenge I enjoy very much.”

Passion for the Profession

I just love my profession; it is a multidimensional discipline. The most important thing I like about my job is that I always have to stay ahead of the competition without sacrificing relevance with the market. Moreover, keeping the brand’s taste, voice, and language unique while continually innovating the message is another challenge I enjoy very much.

Banking for the Win
I fell in love with this profession during my student life while working with an agency part-time. I have grown up in this industry and sat on both agency and client side of the table so for me it’s like living your passion. The winning side for any brand professional is seeing people talk about your brand every day. Because only I know how much hard work I have to put on to make those Billboard/TVC a reality.

Mahzabin Ferdous, Head of Corporate Communication, IPDC Finance Limited

Mahzabin Ferdous, Head of Corporate Communication, IPDC Finance Limited

A Decade of Challenges and Changes
Well, I would state to differ. The dimensions of the branding and product launching in this industry have just started to take a flight in the recent years. Previously, we had seen that it was focused more on one to one communication based on relationship. Lately, we witness financial institutions making it rudimentary to fight regarding communication than merely the customer base in the lure to establish the brand. Fortunately, now the scope of branding has augmented from sheer promotion to earning credibility and advocacy of the products that eventually upshot the overall business. Over the years, IPDC Finance has reconstructed itself from its previous situation, built its capability and realigned its focus on youth, women and underserved areas. Steering its next phase with a magnificent relaunching event itself speaks louder of the unique dimension and power of branding in the financial sector today. I feel privileged to originate from a diverse background yet be one of the catalysts in the transformation that is taking place in the industry as well as the organization.

Challenges in the Financial Industry
Unlike products of other industries, the financial industry does not limit its efforts on research and innovation within the development phase of its products. It perseveres to tailor make the experience of the service keeping in mind the convenience and stable livelihood of the customers. Thorough insights are to be extracted and adapted to build a perception of integrity and reliability of the financial institution among the potential clients. Contrary to immediate consumption of goods offered by other industries, financial institutions work with the highest involvement products and services which lasts for decades, which makes it very crucial for each beholder of the brand to provide extraordinary customer service for its clients to ease their journey. We are here to comfort the years of turmoil to envision one’s desire by giving them the financial assistance to break the inertia of living unbound. This belief is the rationale behind our pay- offline “Jaago Ucchashe.” We aspire to build stories together in the excitement of a new car, the serenity of your own home, stepping in your higher studies, unlocking your new startup or just relaxing on a beach during your retirement. The passion for exploring the unbound possibilities of our stakeholders drives the motivation in each one of us.

“The relentless pursuit towards the unbound possibilities of marketing and communications drives the passion for my job.”

Passion for the Profession
I am absolutely in love with the consistency of change that keeps marketers like us hooked to the volatile environment. The relentless pursuit towards the unbound possibilities of marketing and communications drives the passion for my job. It is time to truly embrace the potentials of digitalization already than considering it as the new big bubble. I find my profession as a stepping stone of a mere opportunity to achieve the extraordinary. Since then, as the Head of Corporate Communication in IPDC Finance Limited, I along with my team have taken every brand campaign as a leap ahead from the customary wish post to a cause-driven theme apart from regular distinctive product campaigns. But of course, merely goal-oriented activity is never justified without being able to assess its success. Therefore, we are in the process of a thorough brand health study as we are approaching towards our one-year completion of revamp. We expect the vibrancy, passion, and perseverance of the brand towards extraordinary customer service to play an extra edge in surpassing other financial solutions available in the market. The re-branding event embarked a new journey to unfold pleasant experiences at different stages of our customers’ life to let them live unbound. I am pleased with the customer response so far.

Banking for the Win
I wouldn’t hesitate once to proclaim; I was born to be a marketer. From being curious of the surrounding, spotting trends before others, ability to connect the dots between different things from the very beginning of my cognitive senses and amalgamate all for a more significant purpose has always kept me interested. From the very beginning of my career, I’ve learned about 360-degree marketing including brand building, brand revamping, executing strategies by working with different agencies for three years. But to have an end to end understanding of all efforts necessary to meet the business goals. I moved to the corporate sector with time, which helped me visualize the bigger picture of each decision taken.

A daydreamer and a night thinker, above all a doer, I intend to make the best use of every experience I encounter in life, regardless of the positives or negatives connotation of the experience. We are on a constant lookout for innovative breakthroughs in the field of marketing. There are times when we revise the whole concept overnight to adapt to the sudden trends in social media. How precisely the nature of the field I work in compliments the view of myself fascinates me. Here at IPDC Finance, I can feed and calm the impulsive nature of myself and my job simultaneously. I believe, having a profession that fuels on my passion are undoubtedly the winning side here.

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