In the mid 1990s, I lived in Hong Kong and worked for an American company while married to a Japanese citizen. We had income and outgo in multiple currencies which was really complex. I did my banking with HSBC in their amazing Central Hong Kong building. I always remember the international aspect of the bank.
Fast forward to the past year or so. As I travel the world delivering talks and have the opportunity to travel through airports in places like Sydney, London, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Amsterdam, and other locales, I keep seeing HSBC advertising at the airports. They’re everywhere around the world. This reinforces my image of HSBC as a global bank.
Business without Borders is a terrific example of brand journalism at work. It is a site specifically designed for an important HSBC buyer persona -- people responsible for expanding U.S. businesses into international markets.
Unlike in-your-face product advertising that you see from most financial institutions, HSBC is actually supplying valuable information that their customers and potential customers can use to drive success. Bravo HSBC.
If you take a look at the site, it looks remarkably like a media property such as WSJ.com (see the two screen shots below). I’ve said for years that corporate websites of the future will be focused on brand journalism and the content driven approach and will look more and more like media sites such as WSJ.com. Here is a great example.
With a dedicated editorial staff, Business without Borders offers valuable free content with premium stuff available to those who register.
Besides the original content written by the brand journalists at HSBC, there is content from The Economist Intelligence Unit, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg Master Class.
The site also includes a member section with resources such as video testimonials from businesses that have successfully expanded internationally and access to corporate governance best practices, internationally recognized business customs and exchange rates.
This is great stuff. While other banks run television commercials, HSBC is educating and informing their market.