THE ERA OF PHILANTHROPIC FINANCE
You are never too young to learn how to manage your money and finances. This is the motto banking communications is following, as it discovers the importance of communicating to a young audience. Tommy Moore, creative director at communications agency DRPG, writes about how the financial sector is pushing to engage and communicate to young people to help them become informed financial consumers.
The world of banking communications has changed immeasurably since the mid 00’s as financial institutions have started to understand, more than ever, the vital role they play in society, our culture and our education. This dramatic change has been seen in marketing across each and every platform from advertising to social media.
One of the more fascinating things to come out of financial reforms is the way banks are now proactively engaging and communicating to young people to help build a “Financially Literate” generation. It’s no longer just a matter of stealing a crop of young people for student finance anymore. We’re seeing real concerted change in communication, education and engagement.
As a former teacher, I tend to work on many of our campaigns at DRPG to help connect organisations to education, young people and youth issues. This can be in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) through to employability and work readiness. What I have seen, across the entire finance sector, is a wholehearted and earnest push towards preparing the next generation to be informed financial consumers.
Lloyds Banking Group has its Academy, Barclays has its Eagles. There’s Nationwide, Natwest, Santander, Metro Bank. All of these organisations and many more are working hard to communicate financial education to young audiences. Some as young as 5!
The core competencies being shared are:
1. The attributes and skills needed to manage money well
2. The words, titles and products that the financial world uses
3. How to align finances with lifestyle choices
4. How to be an informed consumer
5. How your digital fingerprint aligns to money / finances
This is a fantastic cultural and societal shift. Banks across the spectrum have noted the real lack of awareness, education and passion for – financial literacy.
It is often something left to variably informed parents, or subjective internet chat. And now banks are filling that void with advice, workshops, lesson plans, action groups, tutorial videos. You name it, it’s out there for young people.
Is this an unwise move on behalf of the banks? On the contrary, it allows young people to grow up and truly differentiate a good deal, from bad. It helps young people avoid loan sharks, payday lenders and other pitfalls. It safeguards the next generation from the things that so terribly affect people today. And it means that banks will be able to clearly communicate their offering to young people as informed and proactive consumers.
We see a number of cultural trends too, emerging out of how banks and building societies communicate.
-Tackling the taboo around money
-Challenging conventional ways to pay and save (digitisation)
-A move towards more dynamic ways of making money (start-ups, youth enterprise etc)
Overall, we’re seeing banks become more culturally aware. In content marketing, advertising and social media we see much better and broader representations of age, wealth, race, sex, ability. We see banks talking about social issues, family and the value of staying connected to your community. See any latest emotive advert from Nationwide or Lloyds and you’ll know what I mean.
More than any other industry in my opinion, banks have now started to communicate the idea of change. Societal, practical and financial. And that’s more for the good.
Perhaps we’ll see these trends take root in automotive, high street retail and leisure. But as it stands today – we’re seeing financial comms lead the way in re-framing how we think organisations could and should communicate.
So, what’s next? Well only the future will tell. But what we do know is this. Brand purpose, vision and values will only become increasingly important to audiences. Those industries at the forefront will prosper, and those behind the times will remain there. And for that, I think financial comms has made a smart move and will strategically succeed in entering this brave, new and ethically-minded world.