With their eye-catchy advertising campaigns, Indian banks are getting younger & trendier by each day. But it’s their rising focus on customers that has actually helped them grow leaps and bounds, says Manish K Pandey
I’ll be honest. The name of the book was (or rather, is) What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There! The title caught my slovenly disinterested eye during one of my decrepit jaunts through the American Library, and I lumbered down for a skeptical look. Though I was more impressed by the notary recognitions the book got when it was launched in 2007 (NYT/USA Today/BusinessWeek best seller, WSJ #1 business book, HBS Working Knowledge series member) than the claim that the author, Marshal Goldsmith, is the world’s best known CEO-coach (so what if Alan Mullaly consults him... bah!), the fact was that the book both discomforted and disconcerted me... Goldsmith peddles 20 (bad) habits why successful people don’t become more successful. The discomforting part was that I qualified on 15 of those bad habits. The disconcerting part was that I was not even successful. But the interesting part was that the book’s running philosophy propagated the idea that all those factors that might have been important previously for becoming successful, would not remain the same as time passes! Applied to our cover story, it meant that all those banks in India that had been basking in the glory of being the leaders during the mid-2000s, realised by the end of the decade that leadership was a fickle and infidel mistress, vanishing at the sight of a more attractive legion.
Banks, over time, realised the gospel of leadership (or failure) – which was that it didn’t matter even if you had an inferior product or service, if the consumer was convinced that your product/service was superior than the competitors’, you would get leadership. The power of marketing your brand was overwhelmingly unimpeachable, especially in banking. Try as you might to provide a better service, those were the banks that marketed better, that took away the Roman crown! And that’s what led us to the ICMR – 4Ps B&M India’s Best Marketed Banks Survey 2010, an answer to what went right and what went brilliantly ‘righter’.


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