The New Brand Advocates: Connecting and Engaging the Youth MarketAndrea Booker |
Recently, I came across an article in the American Banker about the Young & Free Campaign for credit unions. The program’s designed to increase credit union membership among the Gen Y segment by hiring Gen Yers as spokespeople for one year.
The role of the spokesperson involves running the website for the campaign, creating a following through social media, blogging, video and tweets, as well as attending community events to raise awareness about Young & Free and the sponsoring credit union.
Currency Marketing launched the Young & Free Campaign in 2007, beginning in the Canadian province of Alberta[AB1] . It’s since spread to nine credit unions in the US and Canada. The program attempts to develop a connection with Gen Y on more than just a “what-can-you-give-me” level.
The ORNL Federal Credit Union of Oak Ridge, TN, has experienced a 50 percent increase in Gen Y membership since the campaign’s inception. Credit unions like ORNL understand and have capitalized on the youth market’s growing receptivity to social media advertising and promotion.
According to Pew Internet Research [AB2], young adults (18-29) and teens (12-17) are leading the trend in social networking site usage. Any institution looking to expand its customer base needs to take into account the 82 percent of young adults who say they use social networking sites. According to the Council on Financial Competition, [AB3] 49% of executives selected leveraging social media capabilities as a major focus during the next six to 12 months. Joining the conversation between consumers enables institutions to assess and frame their thinking through genuine relationships as opposed to superficial acquaintance.
Yankelovich Monitor [AB4] reports that one of the main reasons for visiting social networking sites is to communicate with friends and family. A whopping 73 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds cite this as their primary motivator to engage in social networking. What’s also important to note is that older age groups don’t lag far behind. While Gen Y tends to be the early adopters, a growing number of adults are becoming more social media savvy and are making these channels a part of their everyday life.
[AB2] Trends in Teen Communication and Social Media Use: What’s Really Going On Here?, Feb 2011
Data from Nov 2010
[AB3] Voice of the Consumer: The Role of Social Media in Consumer Financial Services,
Council on Financial Competition Agenda Poll, December 2010
[AB4] Understanding Financial, Brand, and Information Attitudes of Young Adults (18-39) Prepared for: MasterCard