HSBC is known as the “World’s local bank”. Originally called the HongKong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, HSBC was established in 1865 to finance the growing trade between China and the United Kingdom. HSBC is now the second largest bank in the world, serving 100 million customers through 9,500 branches in 79 countries. The company is organized by business line (personal financial services; customer finance; commercial banking; corporate investment banking and markets; private banking), as well as by goegraphic segment (Asia-Pacific, U.K./Eurozone, North America/NAFTA, South America, Middle East).
Despite operating in 79 different countries, the bank works hard to maintain a local feel and local knowledge in each area. HSBC’s fundamental operating strategy is to remain close to its customers. As HSBC chairman Sir John Bond said in November 2003, “Our position as the world’s local bank enables us to approach each country uniquely, blending local knowledge with a worldwide operating platform”.
For example, consider HSBC’s local marketing efforts in New York City. To prove to jaded New Yorkers that the London-based financial behemoth was “the world’s local bank.” HSBC held a “New York City’s Most knowledgeable Cabbie” contest. The winning cabbie gets paid to drive full-time for HSBC for the year, and HSBC customers win, too. Any customer showing an HSBC bankcard, checkbook, or bank statement can get a free ride in the HSBC-branded Bankcab. The campaign demonstrates HSBC’s local knowledge. “In order to make New Yorkers believe you’re local, you have to act local,” said Renegade Marketing Group’s CEO Drew Neisser.
Across the world in Hong Kong, HSBC undertook a different campaign. In the region hit hard by the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak, HSBC launched a program to revitalize the local economy. HSBC “plowed back interest payments” to customers who worked in industries most affected by SARS (cinemas, hotels,...
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