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Are you a bank?

“Ford is a bank
that uses cars
to sell finance packages
to its customers…”

Edward de Bono

“Ford is a bank”, de Bono famously said to the car giant’s Board to provoke them into thinking more creatively about their customer proposition, “that uses cars to sell finance packages to its customers.” This kind of lateral insight into how re-shape your customer proposition led to industrial giants such as GE setting up GE Capital Bank, to help customers finance their purchases. Finance arms now account for 50% or more of manufacturers’ and some retailers’ profitability.

There’s another de Bono insight over in the Leadership blog that shows the value of re-thinking what your customer proposition is.

So, are you a bank? Or something else? I’ll post something I heard Philip Kotler the marketing guru say a while back that may help you with this kind of radical reframing. You remember Kotler’s famous ‘Four Ps of Marketing’? Well, whether you do or not, they’re old hat because they are supplier-centred rather than customer-centred.

Kotler realised this and translated them into ‘The Four Cs’ of marketing – each taking a customer perspective instead of a supplier perspective. Looking outside-in at your organization like that – just changing the language to change how you see your organization – is immensely powerful. I’ll dig out the Kotler stuff and post it in a day or two so you can see what I mean.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you to annoy your colleagues by asking them “Are we really a bank?” as a provocation. Er, don’t do it if you ARE a bank, though. Actually, on second thoughts, do…

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