ANZ chief executive Mike Smith has committed to making social media engagement and digital services a "key business priority" for the Australian bank over the next three years.
Writing on the bank's new social communications platform BlueNotes, Smith explains his recent 'Road to Damascus' conversion to the power of social media and digital business following a trip to Silicon Valley in May last year.
"It was a bit of 'light bulb' moment" he says. "It was already clear to me that digital financial solutions were redefining our business. What wasn't quite so clear to me...was that social media had become completely main stream and was driving a fundamental shift in the way people find and consume information, and how they expect organisations like ANZ to communicate."
Smith has since become a LinkedIn 'Global Influencer', an experience which has served to reinforced his view that "there's now both a need and an opportunity for business to move faster in becoming socially-enabled enterprises".
For many of the bank's customers, the digital and social future is already here, he says. "As a business we need to respond more quickly to participate in the opportunity. That's why I have made accelerating ANZ's progress with digital solutions for our customers, and engagement through social media a key business priority over the next three years."
The shift is not without its challenges, he states, requiring the bank to rethink all of its specialist support functions in marketing, communications, legal, risk and technology, and how all staff across the bank, from the CEO down, should communicate with customers.
In February, the bank appointed former Farifax publishing executive Amanda Gome to a newly-created position to lead the bank's social and digital media strategy.
Another business journalist, Andrew Cornell, has been called upon to guide the development of BlueNotes, which covers the economy, financial services, investment and society from both within ANZ and from experts outside the bank and is pitched as a way for the business to become more transparent, more engaged and more responsive in its communications strategy.
Smith's post on BlueNotes has attracted three positive comments, but as one sceptical Australian journalist points out, the bank may yet have a way to go in inculcating a culture of transparency among its staffers: