Tough Questions for HSBC


I have applauded HSBC Bank and ad agency JWT for its advertising campaign before.  Particularly of note is their meaty business strategy which asks the question “When was the last time your bank asked you the right questions about your business?”
Advertising that asks a question is often lazy advertising but when it strikes a nerve it can be very effective. This is one such case. HSBC knows bankers don’t proactively do anything other than lend you money, take your money, and take their fees. So this strategy is a good one. 
But here’s the “but.” They had better start asking some smart questions. And I don’t mean “How’s business?”  The questions have to be the “right” questions. Thoughtful questions. Questions that make you feel a little uneasy perhaps. Actually asking customers smart question is going to take what we called in the 90s a “sea change.”  If HSBC can create a culture of relationship managers asking business-sensitive questions, they can differentiate themselves and steal some serious share. It’s easy to advertise, but hard to execute. I like it.