Emotion-Driven Marketing And Gen Z

Three takeaways from the third day of the 2018 Money 20/20 conference.

On the third day of Money 20/20, topics included finding an emotional connection in marketing, applying mobile innovation to improve the customer experience, and Gen Z. Here are three things you need to know.

No. 1: Tying Emotion to Marketing

As marketers, it’s easy to let data dictate actions. And while data is a useful tool, marketing is a storytelling discipline. Or so says Andrea Brimmer, chief marketing and public relations officer for Ally Financial.

Consumers react as emotion, as people. Not robots, she says during an early morning conversation on the show’s third day. Brands that they want to do business with are still the ones who provide an emotional connection. Not those that did the best programmed targeting.

To this point, in January the bank launched The Ally Big Save, an interactive mobile game aimed at making savings dreams a reality. On February 4, the day of the 2018 Super Bowl, users who downloaded The Ally Big Save app were prompted to enter a savings goal that was important to them. Each commercial break, app users could log in and drag falling cash into a virtual piggy bank. Using AR to interact with the environment in their house, users were challenged to collect as many points as possible to increase their high score to submit for an opportunity to win a cash prize to help them reach their savings goal. Watch the ad here.


All told, 15 users won cash prizes to help achieve their savings goals and the promotion generated more than 300 million impressions for Ally. For Brimmer, this was a success. Not only was the bank able to give something back, it wasn’t a handout: it was a lesson in economic mobility. Ally created an emotional connection.

We wanted users to be more mindful of their money and to create a better financial life, she says.

No. 2: A Mobile Innovation Of The Wrist

HSBC has partnered with Samsung to bring wearable Gear S3 watches with customized software into the bank branch. The program, currently in pilot, is limited to HSBC’s flagship Fifth Avenue branch in New York City.

For the bank, the program is one part of a $130 million initiative to upgrade its branch technology in its U.S.-based locations over the past two years. But unlike other changes, the Samsung partnership keys in on the employee experience first and foremost.

HSBC’s flagship branch is three stories, and to ensure employees aren’t tethered to desks but also able to communicate to co-workers these smart devices are optimized for communication. Devices are preset with prompts and replies, associates can send custom messages, and there is even a little microphone that allows employees to speak with one another directly.

Some of our staff say they feel like James Bond, says Jeremy Balkin, HSBC USA’s head of innovation. He adds that employees feel more empowered and can work faster and more efficiently. Add to this the novelty of the technology It’s a conversation starter, Balkin says and the first reactions to the pilot program have been a success.

But that doesn’t mean HSBC won’t iterate. It already has and plans to do much more.

For security reasons, the S3 devices that employees wear is a stripped-down version of what the average consumer might purchase. For instance, there is no pedometer. And rather than using the bank’s internal wifi network, devices are own their own Verizon LTE connection.

It’s a business instrument, Balkin says. It’s locked down to just the use cases that are needed.

But one of the first pieces of feedback HSBC received was to turn the pedometers on: employees wanted to create an internal step competition and set wellness goals.

We wanted to protect their privacy, Balkin says. But they’re asking for it.

Balkin anticipates this change improving customer service in the short-run, using technology to facilitate more one-on-one human interactions in a branch model that is not dying, but is changing.

The experience has to change, he says. The human connection is still important. Financial services is a human business, but technology can help free employee’s time and allow them to deepen relationships by creating more personalization. We want people to fall in love with banking again.

No. 3: What Gen Z Wants

In a late afternoon session, Josh Rathour, CEO and founder of UNiDAYS, the world’s largest student affinity network, talked Gen Z.

While millennials have soaked up much media attention in the past few years, Generation Z folks born after 1996 are just now entering the workforce. They will be the most diverse generation in the U.S. by 2020, and at their peak will hold some $143 billion in purchasing power.

To learn more about this generation, UNiDAYS polled 1,000 Gen Zers to see how they feel about money. Here’s what he found:

Debt is bad. 76% of undergrads surveyed work. Of those, 26% expect to graduate with no debt; 26% expect to graduate with less than $25,000 in debt.

They’re careful with credit. They’ve seen how credit abuse can run one’s financial future. 83% of those surveyed say they save for big purchases vs. using credit; 52% don’t have a credit card; and 61% plan to get a credit card for the express purpose of establishing a credit score.

Mobile is everything. 95% of those surveyed use their phone exclusively to access their bank account.

Branches are valuable. 45% of those surveyed are hesitant to open an account with an online-only bank; 70% of those say it’s because they want a physical branch location.

Business ethics matter. 93% of those surveyed say it’s important to bank with ethical companies that give back; 86% said they would choose a company that is more ethical even if the incentive is lower.

Read More CreditUnions.com Coverage Of Money 20/20

  • What’s Next For Biometrics?
  • The Need For Social Impact


October 25, 2018

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