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DBS marketing strategy in Asia

DBS marketing strategy in Asia

Live more, bank less. DBS’ brand promise of empowering its customers with hassle-free banking, allowing them to spend their time on more important things in life that truly matter - shows the bank’s understanding of what brings value to its customers, and make it a priority to optimize the customer journey accordingly. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at DBS marketing strategy in Asia, and how the bank managed to build a customer-centric brand in the region.

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Founded 54 years ago, DBS Bank Limited, or more commonly known as DBS, has grown to become one of the most reputable banks in Asia. Headquartered in Singapore, DBS is present in various Asian markets, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Hong Kong. Its growth and success in the region can be attributed to various factors, all of which have led to the brand getting recognised by Global Finance as the World’s Best Bank for the 3rd year in a row in 2020.

DBS global brand mentions

DBS Bank mentions around the world

Humanizing the brand through storytelling

One of the key aspects of DBS’ marketing strategy is the brand’s ability to convey its message to its intended audience through effective storytelling. DBS understands that in order to get through to its audience, it’s crucial to first listen to what consumers are saying, and then tailor the brand message according to what matters to each audience segment.

“For example, talking to someone who’s fresh out of school versus somebody who’s about to retire is very different, as their lives and needs are also very different. That’s where new tools have enabled us to better target, optimize, and measure responses,” - Karen Ngui, Head of Strategic Marketing & Comms, DBS | Source: Hire Digital

Rather than deliberately pushing DBS’ financial services to consumers, DBS saw value in establishing a genuine, human connection with its audience, ultimately proving DBS to be a bank that truly understands the ins and outs of the consumer journey, their pain points, and what makes them tick. An example of how DBS did this can be seen in the DBS SPARKS Mini-Series - an online mini-series that portray the lives of a group of young bankers as they navigate their work, client challenges, as well as personal lives. By moving away from a solely product centric messaging, this campaign humanized the financial sector in the eyes of consumers. The success of the campaign is evident in the 200+ million views and over 23 million engagements that were generated.

DBS SPARKS mini series

Promotional poster of the DBS SPARKS Mini-Series

Championing sustainability

Another pillar of DBS’ marketing strategy is the brand’s commitment to sustainability. Today, the brands that are able to foster a strong and genuine relationship with consumers are the ones whose values align with those of their audience. As shown in Talkwalker’s Brand Love 2022 report, the loved brands of today are the ones that put environmental, social and economic sustainability at the heart of their brand communication.

The COVID-19 pandemic, rising cost of living, and the climate crisis - these are some of the many environmental factors that have shaped what the new consumer looks like today. Their decision making process is no longer straightforward, and they expect brands to not only meet their individual needs, but also drive sustainable practices that bring value to the larger ecosystem.

Brand Love 2022 consumer journey

How the new consumer’s decision making process has evolved

From DBS’s product offering, to its other initiatives that drive social impact, the brand’s commitment to sustainability is evidently weaved into all aspects of the brand’s strategy. Through its LiveBetter platform that was launched in 2021, DBS enables users to access eco-friendly tips and donate to local environmental causes. The platform also calculates the carbon footprint of users, and provides insights based on users’ spending patterns.

DBS LiveBetter platform

Options for users to contribute to sustainable causes on the LiveBetter platform

DBS also recently launched the DBS Newton Green, Singapore’s first net zero building by a bank. With over 1000 square metres of solar panels, self-powered solar air-conditioning systems, this building essentially consumes only as much energy as it produces.

Conversations around DBS Newton Green

Talkwalker word cloud of conversations around the DBS Newton Green

Creating a phygital customer experience

Alongside maintaining a strong digital presence, DBS also invests resources into maintaining physical client-facing touchpoints as critical parts of the overall consumer journey. Through DBS’ in-house data, the brand saw that while customers begin their banking journey through digital channels, they wish to still have the option of going to a DBS branch for in-person services when the need arises. By creating an optimal phygital customer experience, DBS ensures that it continues to drive physical human interaction with its customers.

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Driving relevance through regional initiatives

As a brand that is present in multiple Asian markets, DBS drives relevance and an understanding of the unique market needs through localized initiatives and campaigns. For example, Bank DBS Indonesia partnered with Foodbank of Indonesia to initiate the “Kulkas Berjalan” (Refrigerator Roadshow) program. With the objective of providing food donations to citizens affected by COVID-19, DBS and Foodbank of Indonesia collected leftover food from supermarket chains that are still fit for consumption, and then used the ingredients to create new meals for those in need.

DBS Indonesia Refrigerator Roadshow

Citizens receiving the food donations during the “Kulkas Berjalan” roadshow

A common theme across DBS’s marketing initiatives highlighted in this article is the fact that the brand puts the consumer at the heart of everything they do. By listening to the voice of the customer and understanding what brings value to the consumer of today, DBS has been able to break away from what is typically expected of a bank through their innovative campaigns. This also allows DBS to establish a genuine bond with its customers - one that can withstand the uncertainties of the consumer landscape.

Achieving customer-centricity with consumer insights

To become customer-centric in today’s digital world, brands need to have access to regular, real-time analysis of consumer conversations across multiple channels. With the right social listening tool, brands can achieve a 360-degree view of their customers and build a marketing strategy that is rooted in the latest consumer needs.

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