With much of the globe in the midst of World Cup fever, it's good to remember that the "beautiful game" can teach us lessons that go beyond the realm of sport. With that in mind, here are some truths the World Cup has taught us so far that can also be applied to the banking industry. They say that sporting competition can be used as a metaphor for any life situation, and here we'll put that theory to the test.
Adapt or Perish
Spain's dominating run on the world scene came to an abrupt end, and the team will not advance past the group stage of this year's tournament. That's largely because Spain's vaunted "tika-taka" style -- which involves intricate ball movement and pinpoint passing -- has grown stale, and other teams have figured out how to neutralize and overcome the strategy. Spain relied on the same system that won them the 2010 World Cup, as well as the last two European Championships, without adapting it for changing conditions.
Similarly, banks cannot rest on the laurels of past successes, or be content forever offering products and services that are popular right now. With technology offering up an easy venue for disintermediation in financial services, banks must be looking ahead, and anticipating the next threat that may be on the horizon.
Consider the Customer
Keeping your customers, or fans, happy is key for any successful enterprise. In 2010, the French national team disgusted its country's citizens -- and much of the rest of the world -- with its petty, childish infighting and bickering. The scandal led to France's sporting minister dressing the team down, and even a meeting between president Nicolas Sarkozy and team captain Thierry Henry on what went wrong. Likewise, England's 2010 World Cup team alienated its fanbase as reports of player squabbling and even racial abuse appeared in the press.
However, this year both nations have fielded squads with many younger, scandal-free players and play a pleasing style of football that has their home fans unashamed to root for them. Banks also need to remember that their customers can turn into "brand advocates" -- to use marketing speak -- if treated well. These are the people who will advocate for you to their friends and family, and on social media (and yes, I have seen people advocate for banks on social media).
Bryan Yurcan is associate editor for Bank Systems and Technology. He has worked in various editorial capacities for newspapers and magazines for the past 8 years. After beginning his career as a municipal and courts reporter for daily newspapers in upstate New York, Bryan has ... View Full Bio