The Winner: DBS Bank: Shaping the Future of Banking

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Singapore-based DBS is one of Asia’s leading financial services groups with over 280 branches across 18 markets. Its nine-strong in-house communications team may be lean but it is successfully shaping perceptions of DBS as an innovative bank of the future.

In 2016, DBS was named “World’s Best Digital Bank” by Euromoney, a testament to the team’s success on this front, not just in Asia but among its global competitors.

DBS believes customers increasingly want to bank on the go and has made embracing digital a key strategic priority. The  media team has concentrated on making sure the bank is seen to be at the forefront of innovation.

In Singapore and Hong Kong, coverage centred on the bank’s many firsts – the use of chatbots in banking, for example, and the rollout of video-enabled ATMS.

web_ad_edelmanA key milestone in DBS’ digital transformation in 2016 was the launch of digibank, India’s first mobile-only bank that is paperless, signatureless and branchless. Because DBS is a smallish player in India, it needed help to amplify the brand and signed up cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar as brand ambassador. The media launch was a huge success, attended by over 150 media  outlets and webcast live, and the  development was covered in tech-centric US publications such as Wired and the MIT Technology Review.

Given these publications are known for covering the Googles and Facebooks of this world, this highlighted DBS’s capabilities on a global scale and gave it the cachet of an innovative firm. Apart from pitching compelling content, the in-house team believes the medium is the message and has been trying out new formats to raise the bank’s profile.

At the 2016 DBS Insights Conference, the bank’s annual thought leadership conference, the highlight was a dialogue between DBS CEO Piyush Gupta and former Philippine President Benigno Aquino. DBS leveraged Facebook Live to broadcast the entire dialogue and garnered close to 15,000 views, amplifying its insights beyond the physical audience.

This year, DBS created the first-ever mini-series on bankers. Called “Sparks”, each tale was inspired by a real-life story about how DBS makes banking a pleasure for clients, whether SMEs or affluent customers. So far, it has launched five episodes to great reception, garnering well over 12 million views and 800,000 interactions (likes, comments and shares) across the region.

Campaign Asia believes Sparks will help show the more humane side of bankers and called it “a fairly daring move in a sector usually dominated by safe, indistinguishable marketing. More importantly, it seems to be working”.

The award was presented to DBS’s Communications Team by Robert Holdheim CEO South Asia, Middle East, Africa at Edelman


Edelman is a leading global communications marketing firm that partners with many of the world’s largest and emerging businesses and organizations, helping them evolve, promote and protect their brands and reputations. Edelman operates in 13 countries across Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa (APACMEA) and has affiliates in more than 40 cities. Edelman was named The Holmes Report’s 2012 Asia-Pacific, 2013 Middle East, 2014 Asia-Pacific Digital and 2015 Korean Consultancy of the Year; Campaign’s 2012 Greater China PR, 2013 Indonesia Digital, 2013 and 2015 South Asia PR, 2014 Australia/New Zealand PR and 2015 Japan/Korea PR Agency of the Year; and Asia-Pacific Excellence Award’s 2015 Agency of the Year.
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