Word Association – "Big, Strong and Friendly!"

Yap Koon Hong interviewed Mike Rees, a banking CEO in Singapore about the bank’s support of the growing rugby movement there. It’s a beautiful example of a company taking the long-term approach toward making their customers feel good about them.

Q : No one expects the Sevens to attract a big-enough crowd to break even, let alone make money. Why’s your bank into sport?

A : When I came to Singapore 10 years ago, I remember visiting the local car showroom. The salesman asked me which company I worked for. I said Standard Chartered. He said: ‘Oh! Big, Strong and Friendly!’ That’s branding, that’s trust, that’s longevity. (The point is) you can make a quick buck, but is that sustainable for the 150 years that we’ve been around? You’ve got to be a member of the community and being a part of the community is about the branding. That’s what our initiatives like the Singapore Marathon and the Sevens are about. That’s how we maintain the longevity of the company, and that’s how we maintain sustainable returns for our shareholders.

Not about boobs and beers, but all about branding – APRIL 4, 2004

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