Citi is widely recognized as a premium international bank across the Asia Pacific and EMEA region. This is largely driven by its highly successful Citigold wealth management platform that has attracted affluent individuals and families across cultures. However, with increasing competition from international and regional banks as well as a reduction in Citi's own physical branch network, the bank had to find new sources of client growth.
Studies showed that acquisition leads from referral programs were 4 times more likely to convert. So Citi decided to concentrate on establishing client referrals as a key channel for acquiring new affluent customers. The team took an audacious target of 15% channel contribution across Asia. The campaign had to be flexible enough to appeal to affluent clients across 15 cultures* as diverse as Poland and the Philippines.
The key challenge was that referral programs were in every category from taxis to telcos to dining; and everyone is competing for the customer's attention to tap into a finite set of friends and family with a message driven by cash and short term rewards. Banks were leading the pack with high incentive amounts but it clearly wasn't working for the affluent wealth referrals.
*15 markets across Asia, Europe, Middle East