Growing Up in the CSR

A little confession to open…

On my first glance at all those bicycles appearing near stations and London hotspots, I took my hat off to Barclays not Boris.
My excuse is going to be that I was in Europe when Boris’ scheme came in….
But it got me thinking.

What if Barclays had have had the idea?
Last year’s September tube strikes saw people literally fighting over these bikes.
At busy points, you can see people desperately googling (its in the dictionary, I promise) where else they can drop off their bikes.

Demand is high.
The cause is good.
And my first thought was, “I need to get a Barclays account”.
High demand, a good cause and a great incentive to join.
I’m no Dave Trott or Bill Bernbach but I’m pretty sure that would’ve been an ingenious move for a bank who have been seen as partly to blame for causing this recession.

Last year’s defacing of the Barclays branded bikes was another nod to the current negative feeling towards Britain’s banks.

That aside, they must be delighted with the sponsorship.
But are they slightly kicking themselves?
Probably with a higher price and definately sound legal cover, this would’ve provided both great PR and increased acquisition at an acceptable marketing cost.

A friend is starting work soon with HSBC’s Corporate Social Responsibility department.
Championing themselves as ‘Tree Free’ they spent $22.5 million in 2009 on portraying a ‘we give back’ image.
I am going to avoid a cynical onslaught, but it seems that in schemes like Boris’ Bikes are where banks need to be.

Natwest have led this charge.  As their adverts say, they appear committed to helping communities.
They promise in their Customer Charter to have 15,000 staff days a year allocated to helping communities.
A great CSR program.
Helping communities and helpful banking.

Win back the public by helping them.
An interest in what people want, and money in their pocket.
That’s not too hard is it?

While they’re at it, if they’re clever, maybe they can make some money too.

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