Why a Belgian bank just bought the media rights to broadcast soccer games from their banking app.

Bounderies between industries are blurring more than ever. The challenge is to become a partner in life of customers which is only possible if you leave the traditional territory of your own industry. Today, Belgian KBC bank announced that they bought the media rights to broadcast Belgian soccer goals and highlights. A couple of weeks ago, another Belgian bank, Belfius, announced that they would create a neobank in partnership with telco player Proximus. Two fantastic examples of banks leaving their own terrority to offer a broader service to their customers.

KBC bought the media rights of Belgian soccer games

A bank that buys the rights to broadcast soccer games via their mobile banking app. That would have sound like the craziest idea in the world a couple of years ago. Today, it may be a smart move to reward existing customer and to find new customers.

KBC wants to offer soccer fans that don’t have the time to watch full games a user friendly solution to follow their favorite team(s). All goals and other highlights will be pushed in real time to fans their mobile phones during the game. It allows you to follow the game in real time without watching every single minute of it.

 

A world of super apps

Cool service, right. Still, the question rises, why would a financial services company offer this to their customers. Well, we are living in a world of super apps. If you look at the strategy of Facebook and Whatsapp, it is their goal to create a super app. These platforms started as media and communication channels. Once they had billions of users, they started to add new features. For instance, Whatsapp is offering payment services in countries like Brazil and India. Super apps offer people a one stop shop where all aspects of their daily life are being fulfilled. Maybe the best example of a super app is WeChat. WeChat offers communication, payment, day-to-day transactions in your life (public transportation, your insurances…), media and entertainment solutions on one platform. Big tech players are all moving into this direction.

That’s why it is so interesting to see an incumbent player like KBC follow the same path, only in a reverse direction.

Is the KBC mobile app still a banking app or is it becoming a broader platform?

In the past few years, KBC added for instance the possibility for people to buy train tickets via their app, to link their app to parking garages… The focus was to create easy to use solutions for your daily payments. Now they are gearing up. By adding media and entertainment to their app, they are actually making the same choices as Facebook and Whatsapp are making. The only difference is their starting point. KBC started with a mobile banking app. Then it evolved into a platform for payments. Now it is moving into a broader app where you won’t just have payment solutions but also media and entertainment possibilities. I’m very curious to see what their next step will be. I would be surprised if this would be their last investment in media and entertainment for their app.

 

Smart marketing

Next to the customer experience benefits, there is also a clear marketing benefit to this decision. KBC is now linking its brand to a very popular product: the belgian soccer league. Thousands of Belgians follow the league every week. It is part of their life. Well, KBC is now creating a very high visibility for their brand amongst soccer fans without having to invest in sponsorships of teams. Their focus will be on bringing fans to their own media/platform, which has an enormous commercial potential.

 

Saving time and money

If you want to be relevant for your customers it is crucial to understand their dreams, fears, worries and daily frustrations. Understand the behavior of the human behind the customer. The scarsest resources of people around the world are time, money and energy. Can you save time, money and energy for your customers. This example of watching a soccer game via a banking platform is an example where KBC is trying to save time in a fun way. A couple of weeks ago, KBC announced the launch of their virtual assistant Kate which is also part of this strategy. Kate will help customers to save time and money. For instance, the algorithm of Kate has the potential to tell you that you are paying too much for your energy bill. As a next step, she can make a suggestion who the best possible energy partner would be for you and she can even close the deal.

 

Understand the life of the customer and act accordingly

Over the last decade, all companies have been focussing on the optimization of their customer journey. Making every customer interaction as convenient as possible was the road to success between 2010 and 2020. Today, digital convenience is a commodity. If you have it: fine. If you don’t have it: you are in deep trouble. Consumers have created a state of zero tolerance for digital complexity.

If you want to make a difference in the next few years, it is about understanding the life journey of customers. It’s not about understanding the frictions in YOUR process, no, it is about understanding the frictions in the life of the customer. Once you have a clear view on their dreams and fears, you can create solutions that go beyond transactional convenience. In order to succeed, there is a need to leave the traditional bounderies of a specific industry. An industry is something artificial created by business leaders, customers look for solutions in their life. If Facebook offers you a great payment service, you won’t think: oh, but they are not in the financial services industry. No, you look for the solution, an industry is just something superficial.