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Hilarious video: What if your local café was run by a big bank?

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Running a small bank like Gateway in a market dominated by four giant banks is not easy. Australia’s “Big Four” banks have a daunting array of advantages over smaller competitors. They have substantially bigger budgets, greater scale economies and more recognisable brands.

The big banks also have an army of people dedicated to marketing and seemingly bottomless pockets for advertising. They can and do outspend their smaller rivals in online, TV, radio and billboard advertising - not to mention naming rights to stadiums and celebrity endorsements of their products.

Going head-to-head against these corporate behemoths with our limited resources is not an option. So, like all David and Goliath battles, the trick is to outsmart the big guys and the Internet can help. Across all industries, smaller players are utilising digital marketing strategies to outmanoeuvre their bigger rivals.

Gateway has recently gone online and loaded a video into its sling to level the battlefield with the Goliath banks. The creative behind the video was developed in partnership with an integrated communications agency (Illuminate Communications) and the video is now available on social media sites including Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube.

In a perfect world, we would like the video to go viral and be watched by millions around the world. You can watch it by CLICKING HERE. Get ready to have a chuckle as the video takes aim at impersonal service.

Poor customer service - when you’re not at its mercy - can be very funny. In this video, we create a skit where we transplant the telephone banking service from a big bank into a café environment to reveal how poor the experience can be. It’s replete with relatable scenes that will strike a chord with everyone.

Our humorous depiction of poor customer service has a serious side - it allows us to differentiate ourselves from the pack. While providing truly personal and intimate service is the Achilles’ heel of larger financial institutions, it’s the raison d'être for a customer-owned bank like Gateway.

Personal service is our thing and - when competing for the hearts and minds of prospective customers - it can give underdogs the upper hand. In our case, we hope that it will enable us to slay some giants (metaphorically speaking) and gain some market share.

The take-out message from the video is the importance of the human touch in customer service. The one thing that the big banks cannot emulate is being small and having the personal touch. No matter how digitised our world becomes, people still crave human interaction.

The shift to automation has reduced the nostalgic human touch and the banking industry is under fire for its heavy reliance on self-serve delivery systems. High-technology, therefore, must be accompanied by a high-touch experience across all channels to create a user-friendly experience.

At Gateway, we use high-tech processes to let Members lodge a loan application over the web with little fuss or bother. But we follow up with a friendly call to acknowledge receipt of the application. While some companies use automated phone systems to shield themselves from customer conversations, we encourage them.

Our call centre staff are empowered to reward loyal customers for whatever reason they want. This could be sending a gift when someone mentions that they are getting married or having a special anniversary. And we use technology as a complementary communication medium – such as confirming the status of a loan application via an SMS message.

The key to success in this brave new world is for businesses to combine “high-tech” with “high-touch”. In the financial services sector, we bank on technology to provide Members with 24/7 access to their money. But clever institutions combine Internet and online wizardry with personalised service to stand out from the crowd.

For us, every day is an epic battle against the Goliaths in our market, but we are not cowering in fear. Thanks to social media marketing, we can get in front of customers without breaking the bank. With video marketing in our toolbox, we are perfectly positioned to operate as insurgents against entrenched corporate competitors.

Paul J. Thomas, CEO


avatar John Clark
Personal service will always win out.
Some people will argue that pricing is every thing but in my experience pricing is just one part of the equation.
Give me service, quality product and reasonable pricing and you are on a winner
The video is excellent.
Well done
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CEO Paul Thomas