If you’re not sure of the FCA’s intentions of the Consumer Duty are… watch some cricket!
I thoroughly enjoyed the recent England v India Test series (despite the disappointing end). Whilst watching I reflected on just how different it was from The Hundred cricket I was watching over the summer. However, that was the point. I then realised that this is a great analogy of what the FCA is seeking to achieve with its Consumer Duty in developing products and services for distinct target markets.
A quick bit of background
Test cricket is the longest (and oldest) form of the game; it typically lasts 5 days, tends to quite strategic and often ebbs and flows in terms of action. Over the years, shorter formats of the game have been introduced and this now includes the very popular T20 (twenty over cricket) where the action is more condensed and faster paced.
Therefore, a slightly shorter format of the game may not appear to require much new thinking – especially as The Hundred is only 20 balls shorter than a T20 game! However, this is where the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) took a more holistic view of the overall offering as well as its target market and tailored their ‘product’ to those specific needs. As such, The Hundred offers some practical insights applicable to the Consumer Duty initiative.
The target market was intended to be very different for The Hundred and this led the ECB to think very differently about how to attract and communicate to them. The ECB wanted to create a product that attracted younger and more diverse crowds (a market segment that is not currently as well served by the longer forms of the game) to watch, and ultimately play, cricket by creating a more accessible and family-orientated event. To appeal to this new target market, The Hundred shortened and simplified the proposition by making a number of changes.
By dropping the game down to 100 balls, the game could take place in 2.5 hours – roughly the length of a trip to the cinema and therefore short enough to maintain interest for younger kids. Calling it The Hundred, also made the game length easier to understand. It also got rid of concept of ‘overs’ (6 balls bowled by the same person). They reduced this down to 5 balls which is more relatable and understandable (and is nicely divisible by 100) and renamed them as ‘sets’ rather than ‘overs.’
By making these changes to the product (amongst others) it made the new target market more likely to understand the game and it therefore became more accessible. The Hundred did not require prior understanding of some of the nuances of other forms of the game. By thinking about the needs of their target customers, the ECB was able to “deliver a product that was specifically designed to meet the needs of consumers”.
Not only did The Hundred simplify the game, it also simplified how it engaged with its new target market, many of whom would be unfamiliar with the complex array of jargon that cricket traditionally uses. Alongside changing ‘overs’ to ‘sets’, The Hundred also simplified the level of detail it provided to its ‘customers’. For example, detailed statistics about a bowler’s performance figures were replaced with simply how many balls they had bowled, how many wickets they had taken and how many runs they had conceded. Equally, on the scorecard, rather than give the detail of the nature of the dismissal it simply stated ‘out’. Further, commentators and stadium announcers avoid using unnecessary jargon and, where they could, took more time explaining relevant elements of the game. As such, the approach to communication was designed to be more inclusive as the ECB challenged themselves to simplify the language so that it was understandable by the target market and did not simply reply upon jargon, regardless of how well it is understood and used in other forms of the game.