Over the years I’ve published more than a million words and this is the first time I can remember using the term “vision statement,” and in a headline no less. I’ve spent enough time in large companies to know that when you hear “vision statement” it’s time to run for the exits. Usually, even the employees don’t buy it, let alone the customers it’s supposed to impress.
However, BankSimple’s vision statement is not only believable, but also sets a great tone for the startup’s upcoming launch. It’s also cleverly positioned on the homepage to “jump up” above the fold as you scroll down.
Why does it work? Everyone knows that BankSimple, with its Twitter DNA and $3 million in venture funding, will have good tech. So the startup focuses on people and service in its vision statement to make it clear that it’s not some aloof, high-tech company where it takes a search warrant to find the customer support number, but an actual human-powered organization (see details below). Nice touch (note 1).
Breaking “the vision” down point by point
It’s no surprise that the non-bank bank is tackling the fee issue. It’s in the news and it’s always high on the list of customer dissatisfaction. But notice they are not using the word “free” or saying “no fees.” They are just saying they will be transparent with pricing and will not surprise with penalty fees when you can least afford them.
Everyone talks about service, so this isn’t particularly novel. But the use of “prioritize” and “real” will resonate with the segment they are targeting.
Grabbing the mobile positioning is brilliant. That’s absolutely where the market is headed, so you might as well make it a key differentiator. And while no one knows what “true mobile banking” means, it sounds good.
I’m not sure this adds a whole lot to the vision. In the text by this point, the bank talks about “plain, simple language.” Sounds OK, but not as compelling as the other points. I’d have nixed it and kept it to a tidy four-point vision instead.
The tagline for this point is, “You’re a real person, not an account number.”
Bingo. Here’s a pure-play online bank run by uber-techies, but they are saying they are really all about the people. High tech. High touch. Love it!
Note: Yes, I’m aware that BankSimple abbreviates to BS. And no, I’m not its biggest fanboy. See this self-proclaimed “love letter to Bank Simple.”