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The Orange Code


How ING Direct Succeeded by Being a Rebel with a Cause

Since 1996, ING Direct has grown from a mere concept to a global enterprise, with over 20 million customers in nine countries. From the time this internet-based direct bank first launched in Canada, it focused on serving ordinary people who felt abandoned by today’s money-hungry financial institutions. In an industry dominated by big banks with little patience for their customers, ING Direct has always strived to be different—a rebel with a cause, if you will—and in doing so, they’ve become the most successful online banking venture in history.

The Orange Code recounts ING Direct’s intriguing story, explaining the philosophy of its founder Arkadi Kuhlmann—who believes in the power of individuals to control their financial destiny—and his long-running partnership with Bruce Philp, the branding consultant who helped him make ING Direct a cause to its own people and a household name across North America.

In an entertaining and inspiring style, Kuhlmann and Philp discuss their unconventional approach to business strategy, leadership, and management that built ING Direct. From refusing to promote credit cards to college students to pointing out frivolous expenses, Kuhlmann and Philp not only address the practical principles that have propelled ING Direct to the top, but they also help you understand how the cause of personal financial empowerment has made everyone a winner in the ING Direct story.

While the idea of a business as a cause—with a brand as its constitution—might seem idealistic and even naive in theory, it’s not anymore. The level of success achieved by ING Direct holds some important lessons to a business world that could use a little of both right now.

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