We’ve all seen more than enough negative headlines in recent weeks (and months…). It’s enough to make any super professional feel a bit down or at least frustrated over the reputation of the industry. Just a few days ago, one of the biggest players in superannuation was called out by out national broadcaster for deliberately preventing members from moving on to a new lower fee offer – specifically to protect their revenue. Then there’s the Royal Commission into Misconduct in the Banking, Superannuation and Financial Services Industry. At the time of writing, 2,810 submissions had been received – 9% from superannuation. The first round of public hearings just wrapped up last week. Round 2, focusing on the financial planning and wealth management industry, starts on 16 April. And it’s set to generate more than its fair share of clicks, views and newspaper sales.
So how do you put a positive spin on this situation? How do you show your current (and potential) members that you’re one of the good guys?
Like with many perception challenges, the key is showing – not telling.
You must show members that you’ve got their back at every turn. That you’re interested in more than just the fees you can take from them. That you’re a reliable source of support and advice for everything tangentially related to their super; retirement, ageing, aspirations of a comfortable lifestyle, better health through their working life, and more.
Understand what drives loyalty
Loyalty is incredibly important to brands across many industries. It’s what makes people stand in line to buy the latest super expensive phone, or a laptop with accessories you can’t get from anywhere else (*cough*Apple*cough*). Brand loyalty can make people opt in to paying a premium. It can also help protect a brand when it makes a wrong step.
With super, brand loyalty is a lot more complex than the objective measure of ‘not leaving the super fund’. If that were the case, creating loyalty would be as simple as having the lowest fees and the best performance – marketing would have nothing to do with it. Fees and performance aren’t meaningless. But things that make people loyal to brands are more complex mixes of emotional drivers. For this article, we’ll focus on three: dependability, happiness and inspiration.
Demonstrating (showing) dependability largely comes down to a consistent member services experience. Members like to access their information easily and organise transactions with as little hassle as possible. It sounds simple, but that’s what’s driving the massive investment in technology and automation of member services functions.
From a marketing and engagement viewpoint, the other thing you can do to demonstrate dependability is to always have an answer for their questions. That includes questions simmering under the surface they haven’t asked yet – or haven’t had the words to articulate. As the fund, you can be their ‘go-to guy’.
An education offering is the ideal way to do this.
Money101 education answers questions in two different ways. Our life-event-centric units provide solutions for broad “what should I do when…?” queries. In other words, it’s just-in-time information. Our core knowledge units articulate the questions they didn’t know they needed to ask (‘unknown unknowns’) and answer them in quick succession.
Inciting happiness means generating a light emotional connection that’s driven by entertainment and positive tone. It’s the opposite of the kind of messaging that’s driven by fear (“don’t end up living miserably on the pension!” “super is serious business, so we’re presenting it seriously”).
Money101 believes in using education for empowerment, not intimidation. Our instructional designers and developers are also big proponents of the power of multimedia to engage through entertainment. That’s why we apply a strict no-jargon policy to our content. Over the years, the most successful brands we’ve worked with have used characters and graphic styling to bring this emotional driver home. Case in point – meBank’s Ed program.
‘Inspiration’ means building a deeper emotional connection over time. One of the ways that brands do this – especially in the finance sector – is by consistently demonstrating that they share the same values, priorities as clients, customers and members.
Take the millennials segment. Research has consistently found that to get millennials engaged with super, it’s got to be better aligned to their values. Actually demonstrating this alignment means consistently delivering content that draws links between what they care about, and what you offer as a fund.
For example, many millennials care deeply about the social and environmental impacts of their consumer decisions. They like the feeling of making decisions that align with their ethics. But they don’t know how this applies to their super. They may not know that they have investment choice. They may not feel empowered to make a decision about changing their allocation.
Going back to the earlier point about paying a premium, millennials may be willing to accept slightly lower returns for an allocation that matches their ethics. But ‘willing’ doesn’t mean ‘happy’ or ‘comfortable’. Through education, you can show them that they can have their cake and eat it too – by painting a more holistic picture of their retirement funding options.
As a Money101 client, you can access a great range of resources and content to help you roll out your strategy for building deeper emotional connection. We offer engagement content that’s message-matched to the value positions you’re trying to demonstrate. It’s based on real data on what each audience segment really cares about. And our engagement content is updated on a rolling basis, so you can demonstrate your commitment to your members’ shared value consistently over time.
Get started today
We hope you’ve got a few tips and ideas from this wrap-up. If you’d like to discuss any aspect of your education offering, we’d love to hear from you. Contact the Money101 team on firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange a chat.