Gen Y - brand agnostics and savvy

Credit unions need to keep it real to woo Gen Y from banks

The Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) recently invited me to present tips on reaching Gen Y. Like most organizations, they want to know how to attract the largest consumer group in history. With Occupy Wall Street and Bank Transfer Day leading the news, there’s never been a better time for credit unions to be heard.

The first step in building relationships with this generation is knowing everything about who Gen Y’ers are and what drives them.

Meet the Gen Y’ers:

  • Believe they can be and do anything.
  • Believe miracles are possible.
  • Want to live first and work second.
  • Care about servicing their community.
  • Don’t like to be told what to do or what’s cool.
  • Want to experience the world for themselves to develop their own judgement.
  • Don’t want to be marketed to.

Gen Y respects authenticity. If you want to be listened to, be real. This generation can see through B.S.

Gen Y socialize on smart phones

Where are they? On their phones. They are more than half of mobile users in the US. Also nicknamed the Connecteds and Net Generation, they’re almost all socially networked. They do everything online, including research before buying.

When purchasing a product or service they look for:
  • Low cost
  • Good quality
  • Fast service
  • An “experience”

Living in an era when information is everywhere and everyone is constantly connected, how can NWCUA members and your organization reach Millennials? Relate to what’s important. Know that they listen to their friends. They care about their community and they care about living life well.

Give them what they want and:
  • Differentiate credit unions from banks. Seize the 99%.
  • Offer tools for living well that Gen Y will want to use. Financial literacy hasn’t been taught to them in schools. Make money management “an experience” with an app that helps them manage their money and reach their goals of buying a house or traveling the world.
  • Communicate credit unions’ community involvement. Offer an online program teaching financial literacy and curriculum for teachers.
  • Engage them on social networks. Let them lead on Facebook, and be a real resource for them on Twitter.

As evidenced by the 690,000 people who dumped their banks in a single month around Bank Transfer Day, Gen Y will like what credit unions offer. Be easy to find, easy to use and make their decision to switch easy.

am:pm pr tips

As for any other organization? Anticipate what members of Gen Y will want from you and what they’ll look for on your website. Don’t add fluff. Make sure to give them something that they can recommend to their friends without sacrificing their authenticity.

stick stock kids

Young millennial pros teaching new tricks to old marketers

izzy lucaI confess that I’m obsessive about how millennials are changing how we all communicate.

In an interesting Advertising Age article last week, MTV senior VP of strategic consumer insights and research Nick Shore outlined lessons marketers can learn from the “digilife” of Gen Y (born 1977-1997).

millennial graphGeneration Y grew up in a digital world. Their older Gen X siblings (born 1965-1976) make up the small bridge generation between Boomers and Gen Y. As Shore notes, “Many Gen-Xers were already in their 20s before email became part of everyday life – and maybe into their 30s before the BlackBerry did.”

My cohort, the Silent Generation, is already out of the workforce (though I have refused to act my age and retire). Email was something revolutionary when it emerged in the 90s. Today, Gen Y considers email the new snail mail, preferring texting and tweeting rather than sending messages to wait in someone’s inbox next to Netflix ads and pleas from Nigerian bankers.

Gen Y adults came of age comfortable with the full array of digital tools. And their use of these tools is reshaping our world and how we communicate.

Their most significant influence is evident as young adults all over the world are using digital tools and social platforms to empower their generation, boost their self-confidence and push innovation even faster.

The Gen Z cohort (born 1998-present) is even more fluent in the digital world. Two weeks ago, one of our grandchildren used an office phone to call her mother. When she was done, she studied the handset and finally asked how she was supposed to end the call. She’d never seen a phone with a cord before and had no idea that putting the handset in the cradle would end the call.

Who knows what the next communication innovation will be? All we know for sure is that what we rely on today will seem as quaint next year as that corded phone.