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HSBC’s Kristien Turner: 2017 Is The Year Of ‘Story Doing’ — Not Storytelling

At CES, Turner stressed the importance of getting clients involved in representing their own stories — and breaking down silos that surround online and offline communication.

It isn’t news that consumers want to access information on their own terms — and in real-time. But HSBC recently made its own statement about the trend, confirming at CDXForum at CES that its chatbot technology had proved more effective at engaging users across platforms than banner ads.

Following a panel entitled “the new rules of customer engagement,” Kristien Turner, HSBC VP, International & US Hispanic, shared his thoughts on breaking down silos in consumer communication.

GeoMarketing: In your view, why was HSBC’s chatbot considerably more effective than banner ads across platforms? Is it the real-time quality? 

Kristien Turner: Chatbots are successful for us because banks have some fantastic research content, trade forecasts, and economic pieces to discuss and share with their clients — but the information is very complex. [It’s critical] that we serve it up in a very convenient and efficient way. The chatbot allows us to let the customer who is based in a particular country and interested in another to actually get that to information quickly and efficiently.

Unfortunately, in the past, with so many different reports and pieces to choose from, customers would get confused. The chatbot helped serve things up in more efficient, more streamlined way. Frankly, it was just more polished; [I think] there is an important lesson in that.

One major issue today is that there are still so many silos when it comes to communication with consumers — in-app doesn’t truly integrate with mobile web, or mobile web doesn’t transition easily to in person or in-bank. How are you addressing that issue at HSBC?

Great point. We’re in 72 markets across the globe. There are so many different teams producing all of this great content. What we are doing is working more collaboratively together; a lot more of the global programs are now coming out of London to ensure consistency and a consistent tone of voice. That’s really important and will continue to be important for 2017.

I also believe 2017 is going be the year of “story doing,” not story telling. What I mean by that is that we’ve focused a lot in the past on telling our brand story — or our client’s story, for that matter. What we haven’t done as good of a job at is inviting our customers to demonstrate and share their story.

If we’re financing a corporate client and doing business overseas, we want them to give their story about how our financing or our support is helping them grow and grow their business. Really inviting our customers to tell their story and getting them involved — and that’s important [across verticals.]

That’s something you did in an event with Elizabeth Arden and Net-a-Porter, which you mentioned in the panel. 

Yes. We did a fantastic event in 2016 around Fashion Week featuring Elizabeth Arden and Net-a-Porter. We had their senior women discussing the future of fashion, the trends that are now selling online, fast fashion; that was a great example for us of how we invited our clients to get involved in the conversation and share their different ideas, and actually it went viral. It really got a lot of attention.

Finally, what trends are you seeing at CES that might inspire other such initiatives in 2017? 

Obviously, there are a lot of great hardware solutions and a lot of great technology here. But as a marketer, I’m really interested in the software that is helping us do our job more easily.

So we’re looking into [solutions] that help us to aggregate statistics and bring together all of [our diverse] user data. There’s a lot out there set to help marketers across all different industries do their jobs in a smarter, more efficient way.