We’ve been reading a great trendwatching brief this week called FUNCTIONALL which covers why simple, small and cheap appeals to ALL.
They make the point that products and services developed for emerging markets also appeal in mature markets too. That’s because with these stripped down, focused offers, there is often a price advantage, they are easier to use and well-designed. Examples mentioned: The Classmate PC, Tato Nano, Tune Hotels, Zeebo.
It tied in with something I was mulling over in my head (which is always handy).
In the financial services world we grapple daily with ways to simplify the complex, without misleading consumers. And actually we are on a new wave…
· The aggregators have simplified the way we buy insurance;
· Barclaycard are simplifying payments with innovative wave technology;
· In 2010, Nokia Money will allow consumers to send money to another person just by using the person’s mobile phone number, as well as pay for goods and services and utility bills;
· With new free tools like smartypig and mint.com coming our way, we will be able to have one, simple view of our money if we want it;
· In the pensions world, we are seeing a revival of the simpler Personal Pension rather than the more complex and costly SIPP. Auto-enrolment for NEST will help simplify pensions planning for many.
But are we going far enough or are we in ‘choice paralysis’?
Verdict consulting research shows that over the past 10 years consumers have shifted from wanting a wide range with lots of choice to wanting an edited range of what they want.
So do we really need a range of over 100 fund links on pensions? Do we really need cover for all illnesses or all eventualities in our home? Do we really need to review all financial needs before giving advice and not just cutting to the chase and focusing on what the consumer wants to sort?
Quite an opportunity for brand to be the new Tata in financial services don’t you think?