Earlier today I commented on a tweet which mentioned FNB will bring the new iPad to South Africa. Simply, I was curious as to why FNB, not Apple (The Core Group) were bringing the iPad to SA, given that I know FNB as a bank, they handle your money etc. Promptly I received a response which I noted because someone I respect had a good chuckle at my expense.
This was met with quite a few retweets by people who were either laughing at me or at the cocky response from @MichaelJordaan – CEO of FNB. Not taking it too seriously, without hesitation I replied…
I quite appreciated the sensible responses from a few other people who informed me how FNB are trying to encourage clients to make use of electronic channels as a medium to do banking. If that’s the whole truth, I applaud their efforts. Giving them the benefit of the doubt, I decided to visit www.fnb.co.za as I wanted to see how they were offering the iPad. I arrived at their seemingly well designed home page and after clicking on an iPad image, I read that FNB gives you an Apple iPad, Samsung Galaxy or Smartphone at a reduced rate, with your Cheque Account. 24 Months to pay. As long as you’re a FNB cheque account customer, you probably qualify for their deal. This isn’t empowering anyone any more than it is signing people up to their business. This I understand, given that I know a little about marketing and advertising. Good for them and it answers my question “What the hell has FNB got to do with iPads?”
I know a designer who works on the FNB brand and wasn’t too surprised that their site looks quite descent on the surface. As far as banks go, FNB seem like a forward thinking bank, I have noted they have an App, which is fantastic in a geeky way, but it’s device specific and not the only way to access their content from tablet & mobile devices. As typical South African standards go, I wasn’t too surprised that the site is not responsive, it doesn’t adapt to multiple devices, making it quite difficult to bank online on mobile phones etc. People don’t seem too bothered about viewing sites on their tablets, when held horizontally they look like they do on computers browser, but what about when you display it vertically (portrait) and on your phones which have an endless amount of screen sizes? Thats where it would be in their best interest to have a rethink of their existing site and perhaps design it to adapt better to the devices they say they the want to empower people to use.
iPhone 4 portrait screengrab
iPhone 4 landscape screengrab
I honestly don’t believe that FNB care any more about empowering people by using devices like the iPad any more than they are building brand loyalty through association, leveraging the cool factor. That’s great marketing. However, if they were concerned about empowering, they would already have built their site to adapt better on devices, make the buttons etc large enough to be selected on touch devices, legible enough to read on smaller screens and reduced site speed by removing the +- 40 images that make up the page and rather used CSS, as phones accessed the internet well before the iPad was released. But they’re cool, @MichaelJordaan has many fans who would sooner laugh at his response to my comment than actually think about what FNB are, and what they are supposed to be doing, which in my opinion is banking. I’m not in a battle with FNB, I quite respect their marketing efforts, they seem like they’re ahead of the competition, sociably they seem to be doing the right things too and I’m certainly not going to get into it with every retweeting fan, I’m smarter than that.
I’m no social guru either, and nothing can be taken back, but now that they have this gem of information from me, the right way to deal with my response online would be to acknowledge what I’ve said and say thanks for the advice, we have noted your point about our site not being responsive and we’ll look into it.
For anyone who cares, let this be a lesson to you. Don’t expect to get an informative answer from brands, you might just get a cocky response. People you respect and others you don’t will point and laugh. But maybe you’ll get lucky – like I have, by actually getting an opportunity to turn this around and hopefully make a suggestion that could actually benefit the brands users.
I buy Apple products, from Apple. I bank, at Standard Bank.