HSBC – A Story of Digital Transformation

by Pete Stevenson, Executive Director at The Edge


Supporting Global Liquidity and Cash Management for HSBC

Financial Services organisations are investing heavily in their digital capabilities.  The aim is to match the experience we get on our personal devices – seamless, mobile, and invisible – while maintaining the highest levels of confidentiality and security.

High-tech stuff for sure, but how do you bring that journey to life when the environment is complex and ever-evolving? And how do you portray something that is, by its very nature, non-visual?

You won’t be surprised to hear us say that film has an important role to play here.  It offers different ways to suggest scale, bring to life abstract concepts (like data transfer) and link digital capability back to the benefits they bring to customers.

We’ve been working closely with HSBC’s Global Banking and Markets division to do just that – and we wanted to share with you some of our films that showcase how HSBC’s Global Liquidity and Cash Management (GLCM) is evolving.

Defined as: ‘the availability of liquid assets to a market or company’, liquidity and cash management for large businesses is a highly technical service and critical to their success.

Here’s what we’ve been up to…


This was an interesting challenge: how could we visually present – forgive the pun – quite a dry subject in a way that felt credible and was highly memorable?  We took ‘liquidity’ as our visual starting point and developed a moving and evolving graphic world, within which we featured live-action, animation and captions to represent the fluid nature of HSBC’s Global Liquidity and Cash Management Solutions.

The follow-up film – Payments – was another critical aspect of Cash Management.   The aim here was to convey scale and global reach, and suggest how the key attributes of any payment can be made visible and accessible to corporates.  Our treatment here was inspired by ‘pin art’ – the pins representing millions of payments, designed to sequentially animate and create the illusion of movement.




We try to keep in mind a saying attributed to Einstein:

“Everything must be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.”

In 1962, Time Magazine expanded on this further:

“We aim to render an account that is plain and simple, yet does no violence to the difficulty of the subject, so that the uninformed reader can understand us while the expert cannot fault us.”  

When it comes to scripting this kind of film it feels like a pretty good mantra to abide by (as well as for life in general we’d say!)

Both Liquidity and Payments went through a detailed design process and build, but once completed the real bonus was that we had a visual language for each subject that could be reflected in supporting material – such as web pages and printed collateral.

Elements were also re-used to create a series of simpler – and lower-cost – explainer films that drill down into aspects of HSBC’s Global Liquidity and Cash Management proposition.  Like this one for the…


Liquidity Management Portal


One of the things we hope we’re demonstrating here is how great graphics can help bring to life complicated, technical subjects in creative and thought-provoking ways.  When you get the design right, they feel grown-up and sophisticated – far removed from the cartoonish feel that animation sometimes has.

Saying that though, there are times when it’s important to bring in the human element as well.  Investment in digital capability delivers clear benefits to individuals around control, visibility and time-saving.  When using live action a technique called mirroring is useful.  Featuring people like our intended audience in the film and giving a sense of what this new world feels like, is a great way to get the benefits to stick in the mind.

This was a technique we used when developing this next example – The Future of GLCM. The film had to sit above the others, working as an overview of the whole of GLCM and HSBC’s ambitious plans. Our approach was to open a window onto the daily working lives of 3 global Treasurers, and show how this is changing. Filming took place in London but it was all cast and shot to feel international, reflecting HSBC’s diverse client base. Graphics are used very differently here, to give a sense of the digital systems and activity that support what Treasurers do day-to-day.


Future of GLCM



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