For any idea, product or service to thrive in its market, a Unique selling proposition is inevitable. In fact it is the very face of modern marketing concept which was first introduced by Rosser Reeves, a pioneer of television advertising. So far we have come across a potpourri of creative USP ventures. To cite a few; Federal express’, ‘when it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight’ – this USP became very successful because it was introduced at a time when package delivery was time-consuming. Dominos Pizza’s ‘Pizza delivered in 30 minutes or it’s free – during a time when kids were starving but mom and dad were too tired to cook, M&M’s ‘The milk chocolate melts in your mouth, not in your hand’ – and the like. USP’s give a product an entirely new face and thereby strong acceptance.

Recently, cutting through all this clutter, an exclusive USP, which arrested the attention of many of people, was introduced in the banking industry by the esteemed Federal bank. Its revolutionary launch of 100 new branches and ATMs across the country was looked up in awe by competitors and others. P K Francis, Asst. General Manager, Federal bank, Calicut zone, said in his welcome speech at the inaugural ceremony of the Thiruvambady branch in Kerala said,

“We are differentiating our service from the rest in the banking sector by providing it a ‘humane’ face”.

Taking in the deep-seated meaning of the word ‘humane’, the throng applauded vehemently. Humans, usually called the most highly evolved species, still have a long way to go in terms of mental highness – defined by human values. Unless humankind acquires these sui generis values, there is no point in setting them apart from chimpanzees-next-door. Where one attains human values is the peak of evolution. The very subject of ‘business ethics’ is often considered an oxymoron, like ‘cold fire’. But I insist that everyone must put in some effort to think through the unparalleled ability that business could posses if spiritual values were brought into it. Our former president Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam said,

“The stronger the spiritual wealth, the stronger will become all other forms of wealth. If you increase material wealth alone, man will be lost in luxury and worldly pleasures. Spirituality helps the human being to live happily and peacefully. Prosperity of the nation with spiritual strength is definitely the foundation for the economically developed nation.”

Further, Kalam also speaks about the fusion of science and spirituality which he believes can lead to national development. Likewise the fusion of business and spirituality can also play wonders. This is exactly what the Federal team has attempted to do with their century launch. And this venturesome attempt is undeniably a huge success. Its hidden USP, ‘humane face of banking’ symbolizes the divine blend of business and spirituality.

Federal Ashwas gold loan scheme, which was introduced with the purpose of providing credit against security of gold ornaments to distressed poor, farmers and artisans to repay their debt to informal sectors epitomizes a spirituality-laden business move. Various other noble services offered by Federal bank also show its humanitarian approach to the world of business.

According to Doug Rauch, former president, Trader Joe’s, business has several levels of interactions. The lowest he calls exploitation (or Win/Lose). This is where one seeks gain at any cost to others. The end justifies the means; values are ignored. The next level is Competition. This is where the majority of business and individuals live today. The focus is internal: on the business or self, not on the big picture. Whether an interaction is beneficial to another is not a concern. Developing the value of ‘Win/Win’, the only interactions or relationships an individual would welcome in a business environment would be mutually beneficial.

It is this ‘Win/Win’ culture where both parties gain in an atmosphere of free choice and mutual respect which leads Federal bank forward. Jeethe raho Federal !

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