Friday, October 16, 2009

HSBC values values

You may know HSBC's brand-building efforts from walking through airports. The bank's quirky graphics and cryptic captions catch your eye while you tromp to and from planes. In recent months the bank has invested in a dramatic endorsement of local values – and the bank's ability to embrace and respond to them – and benefit from their variety.

Is this true? Can a bank value values? Can it not? Is this stance sheer hypocrisy coming from the octopus that gobbled up local banks around the world and obliterated their quaint local names? The head spins.

I refrain from opining at length and refer you to the excellent financial brands website run by Jeffry Pilcher, who comments here from time to time:

I am tempted to condemn this stuff as overweening pretense. But gee, it's so beautifully done and reassuringly humanistic. I might run out and find an HSBC branch and festoon it with emblems of my own values – a photo of Alan Siegel, defaced Merrill Lynch logo, quotation from Herb Schmertz and, from my raggedy garden, the last rose of summer.



Jeffry Pilcher said...

This is not my favorite effort from a financial institution. For HSBC, the world's biggest bank (what it calls "The World's Local Bank"), I expect more -- more participation, for starters.

Also, it's a pretty big cop-out to deflect and defer your organization's values onto your customers by saying, "We value what you value."

brandsinger said...

Give em heck, Jeffry!
You run a nice web site.

David Wertheimer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
David Wertheimer said...

Actually, the HSBC local values campaign is seven years old. It rolled out in 2002 with a series of airport ads that were more striking and clever than the ones on display this year.

At the time, it was more about comprehension: the thought that, for someone like me, a New Yorker in London, the bankers from Shanghai understood my local market. It struck me as a stroke of genius back then, a nice way to humanize and localize a (literally) foreign brand. The new ads are a decent reworking of the original and I still enjoy them.

brandsinger said...

Thanks, David. I'm stuck with a cynical, bitter, defensive frown whenever a bank talks to me of values, but your openness to HSBC is refreshing! Keep on the sunny side, dude.


Jeffry Pilcher said...

Hi Claude,

Would you please delete the comment in this post from me? Or change it in a way that gets rid of the picture (e.g., attributing it to "Anonymous" rather than my Blogger profile)?

I'm trying to get all pictures of me off the web (for personal reasons), and this post w/my photo comes up on Page 1 in a Google Image search.

Sorry to be a bother.

Thanks much,

Jeffry Pilcher, Publisher
The Financial Brand

P.S. - Please delete this comment when finished.