Millennials – is there a demographic that the media loves to talk about more? Or one that has a more profound effect on brands, whose marketing teams bend over backwards trying to keep up with all things trendy, digital, and social?
And banks – is there an industry today that is more maligned, or held in greater contempt by consumers?
Putting these two together may hardly sound like a match made in marketing heaven.
We were pleasantly surprised, then, to see the results of NewsCred’s recent study, The Trust Transaction, showing that UK Millennials, particularly 18 to 24-year-olds, are the most trusting and loyal demographic when it comes to attitudes towards banks. They also have the highest potential for engaging with their content.
Our study with over 1,000 UK consumers found that:
- 81% of 18 to 24-year-olds trust their bank, compared with the average response of 67% across the entire respondent pool
- 66% of 18 to 24-year-olds trust a bank more when it offers them helpful, useful content, significantly higher than the survey average of 56%
- Over half of 18 to 24-year-olds (59%) say they’d spend longer on their bank’s website if it provided interesting articles, compared with the average of 36%
Perhaps less surprising is the high level of digital engagement that our 18 to 24-year-olds survey respondents show - but this is more good news for banks, as it shows social opportunities are there for the taking.
Eighteen to 24-year-olds are the most likely of all age groups to engage with their bank on Facebook - 25% of them say they do this, compared with the survey average of just 11%. Thirty-seven percent say they’d be inclined to share interesting articles from their bank on social media, nearly double our survey’s average response. Eighteen to 24-year-olds are also the most likely to engage with their banks via app (56%) or text message (50%).
With our study revealing such high engagement results, it would seem that banks have it covered when it comes to communicating with Millennials. Yet despite this initially rosy outlook, there is one big barrier between banks and Millennials that we uncovered.
While 18 to 24-year-olds are the most digitally engaged demographic, they read personal finance articles notably less often than all other demographics. A quarter of them said they only read personal finance articles a few times a year, and nearly as many said they never read them at all. Compare this with the largest average survey responses, where 28% say they read personal finance articles a couple of times a week, and 20% monthly.
Engaged But Not Interested
So it would seem there is quite a disconnect between the engagement, loyalty, and trust levels exhibited by 18 to 24-year-olds and the lack of content available from banks that actually appeals to them. How then can banks communicate frequently and consistently with this all-important audience if reading about personal finance is not top of their agenda?
The answer is by thinking “outside the bank.” There’s no reason banks need to focus solely on personal finance content. By associating themselves with lifestyle topics - and the money people spend on the things they love - banks can build instant empathy and interest from the very beginning of their relationship with young consumers.
Our results show that 18 to 24-year-olds are the demographic most interested in seeing non-finance-related content from their banks, specifically about travel, careers, their local area, music, technology and gadget guides, recipes, health, and fashion and beauty. In fact 18 to 24-year-olds are on average 13 percentage points more likely to be interested in non-finance-related content than the survey average.
Don’t Show Me The Money
Some financial brands have already broken away from providing solely money-focused content. HSBC has taken the aspirational career route, with its recently launched ‘Your Future Self’ content initiative, which centres around documentary-style short films featuring four individuals and the stories of how their time at university shaped their career.
Banks’ credit card counterparts have embraced creative content to offer greater value to their members as well. MasterCard and American Express, for example, have both pioneered content marketing initiatives focused on travel – highlighting the world of excitement, freedom, and adventure that your credit card can offer, rather than just its features or financial advice.
Launched in October 2013, MasterCard’s Priceless Cities is a portal that grants cardholders exclusive access to tickets, offers, experiences, and rewards, tailored to a city of the customer’s choice. And last year, American Express partnered with TripAdvisor to invite cardholders to post reviews as an ‘Amex Traveller.’ Amex Travellers gain access to exclusive lists of popular venues among the community of other card members, as well as special offers on restaurants and hotels via TripAdvisor.
In Millennials, our study shows that banks have a positive, eager audience, keen to interact, but only if the content fits with their lives. Whether it’s through a combination of creating original content, licensing relevant content, or working with an agency, thinking outside the box – and outside their industry comfort zone – is crucial for banks when it comes to reaching and retaining engaged Millennials.