HSBC Canada: Campaigns for Diwali and Mid-Autumn festivals bring big bang results

HSBC Canada has seen remarkable achievements in leveraging its global and strong Asian roots to bring a unique set of initiatives for clients in Canada – initiatives that go a long way in building out and retaining an important customer base.

As one of the world’s largest banking and financial services group, HSBC knows how best to position itself to capture opportunities in different markets. It’s the same case in Canada too, where HSBC has been serving both Canadian and global customers for over 40 years, leveraging its scale and international banking expertise to serve the local market.

Digitalization of the banking experience has played a big role in building that global connectivity. HSBC Canada is a leader in that, and rightly took the Best Digital Banking Sales Initiative award in the 2023 Global Retail Banking Innovation Awards hosted by The Digital Banker.

The winning project is the bank’s Guaranteed Investment Certificate/Term Deposit campaign linked with the mid-Autumn and Diwali festivals, effectively providing customers with a secure investment option during a period of market uncertainty, enabling them to realize better returns amid higher interest rates.

The focus on these two festivals makes sense. The Mid-Autumn festival is one of the most important Chinese festivals (falling in early September in 2022), while Diwali is India’s biggest and most important holiday every year, falling in late October 2022. HSBC’s wealth and personal banking customer base in Canada has a high penetration of Chinese and South Asian clients, inspiring HSBC Canada to incorporate the two festivals into its 2022 Q3/Q4 strategy for GIC/term deposits.

UNIQUE TECHNIQUE

GICs and term deposits are Canadian investments that offer a guaranteed rate of return over a fixed period of time. While the returns are lower due to its lower risk profile, its appeal got a boost due to market volatility and the higher interest rate environment in Canada and globally.

The highly integrated campaign was launched in four languages, featured three main offers, and honoured important cultural moments for the Chinese and South Asian customer segments. HSBC Canada’s offers also surpassed that of peers given it matched the highest 4.5% interest rate offered by the Royal Bank of Canada for one- and two-year GICs.

The results were excellent. The campaign exceeded targets, with digital gross sales growing a whopping 1,159% year-on-year and HSBC seeing a 1,560% year-on-year spike in the digital opening of new GIC/ term deposit accounts. The campaign also accounted for 21% of the bank’s 2022 digital gross sales – making for an impressive feat.

LANGUAGE OPTIONS

HSBC Canada also got the Highly Acclaimed nod for Mobile Banking Initiative. This recognition was because HSBC Canada introduced traditional and simplified Chinese language versions of the banking app – adding to the existing English and French offerings in the country – becoming the first global HSBC entity to offer a single app in four languages. This created a more inclusive and personalized experience for Chinese-speaking customers, allowing HSBC to acquire and retain this segment in line with its strategic goals.

This is certainly important. Roughly 30% of HSBC Canada’s customer base speaks Cantonese or Mandarin. Of those who are not actively using digital channels, 25% are Chinese speaking.

Rolling out this project additionally demonstrated the kind of success that can be achieved through collaboration. The turnaround time for the initiative was just four months, but it required intense collaboration between the business and technical teams across Canada, as well as an exemplary development approach, providing HSBC’s global teams with a template for scaled market language translation activities.

In the first quarter of 2023, over 12% of log-ons to the HSBC Canada app were in a Chinese language – laying the foundation for the development of a range of Chinese language in-app features.

The awards are certainly warranted and reflect the way HSBC has used its global and Asian footprint to provide a novel localised approach to customers in Canada.

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