How a digital Disney reveals banking’s Tomorrowland

Disneyland and banks don’t have a lot in common. One is generally considered the happiest place on earth and the other is full of rides and costumed entertainers. But a new development at Disney is bringing the ambitions of both groups closer together.

Click image to zoom Tap image to zoom

It’s well known the world is in the midst of a data explosion. This will have an enormous influence on what customers expect from business, including banks, and how they want to interact with them.

"Organisations, including banks, which can harness the power of this data and turn it into personalised customer experiences will truly thrive in the future."
Matt Boss, Managing Director of Retail Products & Marketing, ANZ

Disneyland’s newest innovation, dubbed ‘MagicBands’, is a wrist band that promises to offer guests at the park a “more immersive, personalised and seamless experience than ever before”. 

The bands provide Disney with the ability to track everything a visitor does in the resort - including what they buy, eat, ride, visit and how long they stand in line. Disney intends to use this data to improve its parks and individual customer experience. 

The world is seeing a shift in generations, from those who grew up with the internet to those who have 'discovered' the possibilities of what data can provide. These ‘data natives’ expect their world to be 'smart' and, like Disney, to seamlessly adapt to them and their preferences. 

I believe organisations, including banks, which can harness the power of this data and turn it into personalised customer experiences will truly thrive in the future.

Expect more

Data is shaping customer expectations and influencing what we’re doing at ANZ. There’s no question customers are starting to expect more highly personalised and relevant experiences. Banks need to get smarter with data. 

Think about the information banks have. They know where you live, what you earn, how much your house cost, how much you spend on bills and where you shop, just to name the obvious few. 

The power of this data is very compelling and can help separate financial institutions from many other industries. 

Banks need to use this information to better help customers. So when a need arises, or a particular event is triggered, they can respond in a relevant way to each of them. 

This is where the real value will come from - the ability to deliver personalised and relevant experiences. 

What’s becoming more important is the ability to do this in real time. It’s no good for Disney to just identify that you queued for 60 minutes; it needs to act quickly to improve that experience.   

It’s the same at banks. If a bank knows a customer is having an issue, it needs to act on that information straight away, not after the nightly batch process runs.

Word of mouth

Customer behaviour is changing. They are spending more time researching – both through organisations’ websites and also via third party reviews. It’s the same for banks. According to Accenture, 83 per cent of consumers believe it’s important to read user-generated content before making a decision about financial services. 

Before, brands were controlled by mass advertising. Now brands, products and services are being influenced by customers and their individual experiences. 

At ANZ we’re building a program to better understand and serve our customers. We’re still at the beginning but my vision for this program is that at least 90 per cent of the insights we create will have nothing to do with selling something. 

Instead, they will be about helping us to provide an improved experience, service or product proposition so our customers can make better decisions or be more in control of their finances. 

So how can banks help customers make better decisions? This will take a different mindset, different skills and a different vision from what is sometimes found in a bank’s marketing or product department. It takes the skill of putting customers at the very front of your thinking and building great experiences, not just crafting great messages. 

If you think about where banking value used to come from it was the asymmetry of data between the bank and the customer. Now value comes from the symmetriesin how banks use customers’ data.


Customer data comes with a great level of responsibility and requires a high level of trust. 

According to recent research from the Association for Data-driven Marketing, the level of trust consumers have differs across different types of companies and institutions. After government, financial institutions rank second. Trust is a key advantage banks have built over time. 

Banks need to continue to find ways to demonstrate to customers that we protect their data and use the information to add value back to them. With trust, customers want to share more data with you, as long as they get value in return.

This can be an issue when customers don’t know what they are trading their information for. Banks have a massive responsibility to our customers to protect their data and privacy. This needs to be at the forefront of all thinking. 

Customers will share information, as long as they can see the benefits.

All in the execution

ANZ’s strategy is not overly unique. What will differentiate us from other banks is our ability to integrate our execution of these elements.

As a bank, we have to make a choice: do we invest in new devices and technology or, like Disney’s MagicBands, the ability to better understand our customers and apply that in a more meaningful, relevant and seamless way?

As we know from research, it’s easier to predict changes to customer behaviour than it is to predict changes to technology. We also know that banks have the information and the trust that is needed to succeed in this space.

It’s the ability to think differently that will drive success. So, rather than invest in a core system transformation, ANZ is investing in analytics in order to deliver highly personalised experiences to our customers. Ultimately, we think that this is what will differentiate ANZ.

This article is an edited version of a speech delivered by Matt at the FST Media’s 9th Annual conference in Sydney. 

Matt Boss is Managing Director of Retail Products & Marketing at ANZ.

Photo: Hatchapong Palurtchaivong /

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

editor's picks

11 Nov 2014

Smart cities: our new infrastructure opportunity

Mike Smith | Former Chief Executive Officer, ANZ

I have been a frequent visitor to China over 30 years. Its continuing transformation and growth is nothing short of remarkable. The country’s far-sighted focus on opening up has supported industrialisation and urbanisation on an unprecedented scale.

11 Nov 2014

Asia and digital – the twin revolutions

Pam Rebecca | Former General Manager of Digital ANZ

What is digital? Is it data, platforms, an app? A website? Social? Content? The list goes on. And that's just beginning with the customer side of digital. There's a whole other list of questions when it comes to what is often called digitisation - transforming the underlying processes that support your business.

13 Oct 2014

Six things you need to know about leading digital change

Pam Rebecca | Former General Manager of Digital ANZ

As someone who has been interested in computing and technology since I was a teenager (in the days when a teenager interested in technology was so not cool), I cannot imagine living in a more exciting time as the world makes a tectonic shift towards digital.