Erwin predicts, writes about the future & developments today.

Brand: Rabobank

(all brands)

Rabobank helps through video

In its branch office in Herten, Rabobank Roermond offers a video connection to the main office in Roermond (video, Dutch). It's a national scoop. Under the name of Rabovision the system is supposed to ensure that the office branches in smaller villages can stay open longer.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

This is how new working methods of brands, of companies, are shaped increasingly. On the one hand the most simple questions are handled through brand agents, on the other the questions that are left are getting more and more complex and need more and more specialist knowledge. The chance that someone is stationed in the neighborhood grows ever smaller and so video conferencing fits seamlessly into this picture. Core of the success is eye contact, something which is a huge difference with, for example, contact though a webcam where you get a top view of the person you’re speaking to. In the next step we’ll be doing this from home (when a camera is truly inside the screen, instead of on top of it), with multiple screens (like e-paper that you hold in your hand and is connected to the conversation), 24 hours a day, with national contacts and for some clients even abroad.

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Rabobank’s Yvette researches

Yvette, Rabobank's brand agent, has sent an email to her relations to ask about their experiences with her. The text in the email turns out to come from the University of Maastricht and contains a link to the survey site. Here Yvette's relations will be asked questions such as 'during my conversations with Yvette we talk about things other than just finances' which people can answer themselves.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

Brands are increasingly represented by brand agents, artificial characters that, in time, will look like humans and with which we engage in dialogue. For now it’s just in third person, but in time Yvette will ask ‘Do you mind if I sometimes ask you personal questions?’ Not during email, but during a spoken conversation. The facial expression of the customer will say enough. Then market research will be a continuing logical part of the dialogue between people and brands. Using Yvette to send an email and as part of a survey is a step in this direction.

Private payments through Rabobank SMS

Anyone with a Dutch bank and cell phone number can now transfer money privately with a text message (SMS) by using Rabobank SMS betalen (Rabobank Text Message Payment, Dutch). Useful for such things as sharing a cab, buying a birthday gift together with several friends or paying in a restaurant. There are a few simple steps:

  • open a mobile wallet on and put money on it

  • send a text message to 6689 with the cell phone number of the recipient and the monetary amount (for example 0621567657 10)

  • you'll receive a text message confirmation of 6689 with a password – that's just a normal Dutch word; in my test it was 'kwaal' (illness)

  • send a text message with the password to 6689

  • you've paid. The recipient will now receive a text message with the amount paid and the cell phone number of the person who made the transaction

If the recipient doesn't yet have a mobile wallet, they'll receive one automatically on the payment. Then the recipient can pay with the money again immediately and this allows the mechanism to spread virally very fast.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

People don’t want to transfer money to a number, but to a person. A cell phone number is already more a ‘human’ than a bank account (which could also represent, say, a company). Soon it’ll be a standard function in Live Messenger, transfer money. Currently through Rabobank, but soon everyone will have a wallet hidden behind their telephone number. Sooner or later a financial coaching brand can help you with the simple sentence ‘transfer ten euros to Erwin’. Given the setting around that time the brand won’t even have to ask you which Erwin you mean, but transfer the money immediately. This mobile product brings this future another step closer.

Rabobank has talking ATM

Rabobank has now placed at least a hundred talking ATMs (Dutch) in its establishments and this year the amount of machines with speech and a receiver will come to a total of 750 (demo (Dutch)). The talking ATM is extremely useful for the blind, the poor-sighted and for people in wheelchairs. A voice guides the user via a telephone receiver through the process of getting money.

Future vision by Erwin Van Lun

And this is how the dialogue is given more shape. For now just in the establishments, but soon we’ll be able to ‘call’ an ATM with our cell phone (potentially with headset) and we’ll no longer need a receiver. We’ll be recognized immediately (from voice, fingerprint or both), say what we want, confirm and receive our money immediately. If we then, calling longer, still have financial questions (‘since I’m talking to you anyway…’), we can ask those immediately too. For now only at establishments by the Rabobank in the Netherlands, but soon they’ll be found all over the world, wherever we’re going.

Rabobank publishes baby pictures on website

Rabobank publishes pictures of parents with their newborn babies on its website. In this case at the local branch of Genemuiden. Thus brands act on the 'think tribal, act personal' principle. By realizing that customers, people, members, always have relationships with others, and giving them their own spot in this way, they will be able to attract many people out of the direct surroundings of their existing customer database. Besides, by being present in a (very) early stage of life, a lifelong bond is created between person and brand. It is an example of long term thinking, of which coaching brands are bound to bring us many more examples.

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Rabobank makes interactive TV program

In Rabobank's new TV program on RTL, My First Home, digital television viewers can react directly through the red button. When they do that, a page with more information about the products and services of Rabobank appears. It is the first time in the Netherlands that the red button is used in a TV program (rb, Dutch). Television, internet and gaming integrate little by little. With that, interactive worlds come into being, to which people like to come. Brand worlds which people experience from the couch, the office, or on the bus. And of course from every other place in the world. This is a small step in that direction.

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