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People & Lifestyle

Lifestyle Banking – Not just a marketing Phrase!

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Mariam Agyeman-Buahin

Lifestyle banking sounds like a cleverly coined marketing phrase, depicted by a billboard splashed with models draped in haute couture, with pouting lips poking out of their intricately painted faces. On the contrary, it involves leveraging data and customer journeys to deepen relationships with the customer. This concept uses technology and consumer data to identify new opportunities to solve timely pain points or create delightful experiences. The key to decoding and delivering lifestyle banking, is a great customer experience strategy. There are some key considerations that must be made when actualising lifestyle banking for customers, and for the sake of an institution’s bottom line.

  1. Lifestyle and Life Stages

We cannot talk about lifestyle without considering life-stages. Customers in their 20s to 30s will be at a different life stage than those in their 30s to 40s and the same applies to those in their 50s to 60s.

In In their late 20s two 30s customers are finalising on their higher education or just entering the workforce. Some of their priorities might be towards reducing their student loans, making their first ever rental payment, for their first car, further education, or future family. Their lifestyle may tend to be thrifty, trendy and driven by social happenings such as concerts and events.

In their late 30s to 40s customers are building families or building their careers. Their priorities may involve school fees, building a family home and supporting extended family. Their lifestyle tends to be quality and responsibility driven. Whether in consumables, or in time. They think more of the future in terms of investments, school fees, and business capital.

In the late 40s to 50s customers are relatively settled. Their priorities tend to lie more on Paying off debts such as mortgages, medical bills and retirement planning. They are more driven by a financially safe retirement and leaving something behind for their offspring.

Customer journeys for each of the above brackets will look completely different and so should their lifestyle banking experience.

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  1. Technology

As mentioned, lifestyle banking means meeting customers at their pain points. One of customers pain points in banking is the inconvenience of having to visit a brick-and-mortar facility. This is where technology comes in. Today, most financial institutions have a form of digital aspect embedded in their banking process, but most banks do not have an end-to-end seamless digital experience. Lifestyle banking will require digitally astute execution. Most customers today regardless of their life stage, hate inconvenience. Let us be honest, who would rather spend their precious lunch hour waiting in a bank lobby as opposed to having lunch with their beloved? Having a digital platform is not enough, banks must also deliver what I refer to as the holy grail of digital banking. Reliability, Speed, and Integration.

Customer will hate you when they are sitting at that lovely café unable to pay their bills using their app because your system is down. Customers will resent you when they are forced to retry severally before completing an online transaction, just because your system is slow. Customers will despise you, when they must enter the same data at several touchpoints, because your system is not integrated. Customers will dump you when they cannot link alternative financial products to their bank account, due to lack of a foresight into their lifestyle and thus technology needs.

 

  1. Data

When it comes to using Data for digital and customer experience transformation, sensitisation is key. A lot of customers are deeply insecure about data. They find it daunting to share information as they do not know who is going to use it for what. Often times they do not dive the real data, and this may lead to mistargeted experience strategies.  The mistrust deepens when they must re-enter data at several points of their experience. In this age of Cambridge Analytica scandals and increasing incidents of internet fraud, customers must be assured of their data security. This can be achieved by training on data security both for the bank and customer and enacting a one-time capture policy. Data should be collected more than once only for purposes of verification (this should be far and few between) and updating.

The lifeline of the data puzzle once it is secured, is analysis. Data that goes un-analysed is a complete waste of server space. Investing in expert data analytics is undeniably the best investment an institution can make when trying to deliver real lifestyle banking to customers. Further investment into Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based analytics will help gain valuable data insights about customers and match their needs on a deeper level. It is important to note that e-commerce, e-entertainment, e-learning and several other e-activities are all becoming the lifestyle ecosystem of the modern consumer. Accurate data analysis will thus empower institutions to develop relevant products, as well as createpartnerships and alliances to meet the consumer need.

 

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In Conclusion

“Lifestyle banking means being present in people’s lives anywhere, at any time and creating constant bonding with them. It means transformation to something more than just an institution – to a reliable partner, guide, and assistant. ” – Jonathon Bartlett, Senior Business Development Manager, Financial Services at intive. The above three are just the starting point in developing and actualising Lifestyle banking. Unpacking the above factors will reveal sub-factors such as emotions, user experience interfaces and new data driven features. Unlocking the potential of lifestyle banking will increase revenues, increase customer loyalty, and create lasting impact on how customers use financial products to solve real life problems.

 

Written By: Mariam Agyeman-Buahin. Mariam is a seasoned Marketer, brand consultant and Fin-tech professional. 

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People & Lifestyle

Holy Child alumni illuminate the path forward amidst national school power crisis

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In recent times, the narrative of power challenges in Ghanaian schools has escalated, with numerous public institutions such as Mfantsipim School, Accra Academy, and Mondo Senior High Technical School among others facing abrupt electricity disconnections. 

This persistent issue highlights the dire need for sustainable solutions in powering educational facilities, crucial for maintaining the quality of education.

Stepping into the spotlight with a pioneering initiative, the 1999 alumni of Holy Child School have set a remarkable precedent.

 In a bid to combat these electricity woes, these visionary women have successfully funded the transition of their alma mater to 75% solar energy. This initiative not only addresses the immediate problem of power outages and financial strains on the school’s budget but also serves as a beacon of climate-positive action with the potential for carbon credit benefits.

Founded in 1946 by the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, Holy Child School has long stood as a bastion of educational excellence and societal impact in Ghana. Its alumni include distinguished personalities such as Ghana’s Ambassador to France, Anna Bossman; Goldman Sachs Vice President, Sabina Dankwah; and University of Ghana’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Nana Aba Amfo, to name a few.

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The Solar Project

This solar project, a gift from the 1999 alumni commemorating their 25th anniversary and coinciding with the school’s 78th speech and prize-giving day, symbolizes a profound act of giving back and forward.

 In an exclusive interview with the Business and Financial Times, engineer Ing. Mrs. Sheila Enyonam Akyea, president of the year group, shared:  “This project builds on the foundation laid by our predecessors. We’re thrilled to extend their initial contribution, ensuring every corner of our school benefits. It’s our way of ensuring current and future students receive the same level of empowerment and opportunity we had.”

Project’s Committee Chair Ing. Mrs. Teresa Kyei-Mensah, mentioned the substantial investment the solar installation demands, emphasizing ongoing fundraising efforts.

she said: “Once completed, the initiative promises significant savings for the school and, by extension, the Ghana Education Service, redirecting funds towards essential educational resources,” she added.

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Solar power, increasingly recognized for its affordability and environmental benefits, stands as a viable solution for Ghana’s educational sector and its broader climate goals. With abundant sunshine year-round, Ghana is ideally positioned to harness solar energy, reducing the financial burden on public resources while contributing to global carbon reduction efforts.

The project was completed in January 2024 after a 1-month testing phase. The year group eagerly anticipate the handover ceremony at the 78th Speech and Prize-Giving Day of Holy Child School in Cape Coast on Saturday, 9th March 2024 marking a significant milestone in their commitment to sustainable development and quality education in Ghana. 

This initiative not only lights the way for other schools grappling with similar challenges but also underscores the powerful impact of alumni engagement in shaping a brighter future for the next generation.pastedGraphic.png