December 3, 2020
Connectivity has proved invaluable for many aspects of business continuity in recent months, with technology enabling a range of otherwise manual processes and procedures to take place digitally. Indeed, on a daily basis, inviting people from various corners of the globe into our virtual offices – our homes – has become the norm.
Breaking down geographical barriers in this way can make the world seem a somewhat smaller place, particularly given that we are all currently aligned in the common goal of overcoming the devastating effects of the pandemic. But it is important not to lose sight of the fact that, when it comes to the business needs of clients, rich variances and trends continue to exist within individual countries and regions. And, to provide effective services and solutions that span multiple geographies, means being able to identify those nuances and adopting strategies tailored to those specific needs.
This is applicable to any industry. When it comes to finance, today’s global economy is more interconnected and interdependent than ever before, with advances in technology, transport and communication supporting the growth of globalisation, global value chains and international business operations. For banks, being able to provide finance capabilities involving a wide range of markets is therefore increasingly essential.
Global reach, local expertise
Banks understand that delivering this effectively requires global reach to work alongside local knowledge. This enables clients to benefit from greater process consistency and standardisation – through uniform, integrated technology platforms and products; as well as customised solutions – achieved by understanding the unique cultures, and legal and regulatory needs of different localities, as well as the individual needs of local businesses.
Consider, for example, the ways in which you make payments and how they have changed in recent years. Then take the breadth of payment preferences that exist across the globe. In the US, while the use of cheques is in decline – a trend further fuelled by the pandemic – 4.4 billion commercial checks alone were collected in 2019 through the Federal Reserve. Elsewhere, a number of countries are driving efforts to decrease the use of cash. In South Korea, cash deposits and withdrawals are no longer accepted in more than half of the country’s bank branches. Yet, in Latin America –  – cash usage is expected to remain resilient well into the future. In China, mobile wallets account for over a third of the country’s total payments, with 81.1% of smartphone users adopting mobile payment technology (compared with just 12.5% in Germany). What’s more, the People's Bank of China (PBOC) aims to launch a digital currency by February 2022, which could potentially eliminate the need for both physical cash and online payment services like PayPal.
The depth and breadth of requirements in the payments space alone is clear to see. For businesses carrying out international operations, accessing finance capabilities that can meet the scope of their local and global needs is possible via two key routes. Either by partnering with a single, connected, global bank with a global infrastructure and on-the-ground expertise in the markets in which it operates; or through banks that leverage local-global partnerships. Such partnerships between local and global banks are a powerful means for banks to share expertise and capabilities, with local banks providing rich local knowledge and global banks supplying global connections and sophisticated technology – thereby enabling end clients to draw upon the benefits of both banks’ skillsets.
Through these approaches, businesses can tap into new markets, drive business growth and utilise cutting edge solutions to enhance their processes.
Communicate global, communicate local
Similarly, having access to a global communications agency with offices in regions throughout the world positions businesses in all industries to maximise opportunities to meet their PR and marketing goals. Equipped with acute knowledge of global communications, local market needs and target publications, and with established contacts, local language skills, capacity in local time zones, and dedicated teams delivering consistency of experience, global agencies are adaptable and able to draw upon a host of capabilities and resources to generate results for clients – regardless of the location, and whether a campaign is local, regional or global.
Equally, the combination of skillsets and reach can be applied across sectors and areas, with expertise that can be draw upon in marketing, research, content production, strategy, design, technology – and across industries – within the same firm.
This cooperative approach supports clients regardless of their stage of growth, with the capabilities to help drive coverage for those looking to expand their geographic footprints and, for international businesses, the delivery of standardised operations and global strategies with local approaches.
As we sit in our homes and converse with global contacts, delivering solutions to meet the specific needs and business goals of individual clients across various regions should be top of mind. By harnessing local expertise and global reach, both banks and communications agencies can deliver high quality standardised offerings to clients wherever they do business, with customised services tailored to individual requirements.
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