Young & Free is an innovative, social media meets product promotion meets user-generated-content campaign that is achieving significant on-going success for credit unions in the U.S. and Canada.
The great divide
There is a decade-plus age gap in the credit union industry. While the average age of a North American is 37 years old, the average age of a credit union member is pushing 50. Credit unions are not replacing maturing depositors with young borrowers fast enough.
Gen Y, Millennials, Net Generation, Echo Boomers, Generation Next—no matter what label you give them, the fact is, credit unions are failing to attract the next generation of members.
It's not looking good. Gen Y and Z are your credit union’s future, they just don't know it. Attracting the next generation of credit union members needs to move from the back burner to a strategic imperative. Credit unions that continue to ignore this issue will not exist in 20 years.
The first step
Take the first step and have us conduct a Young & Free Market Assessment. This is a risk-free way to see how we work together and to see your credit union's potential with the young adult market.
There’s hope for your credit union
Your credit union doesn't have to fade into the history books. With Young & Free, your credit union has the potential to not only stop its membership decline, but to add hundreds of brand new young adult members. It's a proven strategy built on a flexible platform with unlimited potential.
Our proven recipe consists of a voice in the form of a hired Young & Free Spokester. A head start in the form of a market-leading young adult account package. And useful information in the form of daily blog posts, weekly videos and a constantly growing collaborative catalog of rich content delivered on dedicated regional microsites and on the social web.
An award-winning brand
We start by developing a unique supporting brand identity system. Each program works independently and collectively. Young & Free is a 100% credit union brand that is built to appeal to the 25-and-under crowd and to work with your credit union's established brand. The combination is both powerful and memorable.
A compelling product offer
A key to success for all of our partner credit unions is offering compelling products and services that are better than anything else being offered locally. We help name the product and design a unique and complementary logo. We also work with our partner credit unions to develop a share-of-wallet strategy and product bundling options that work with the credit union's existing electronic capabilities.
Young people go through numerous changes in their lives. They go from high school to college, from living with their parents to living independently and from single to married to name a few. Each of these disruptions represent opportunities for credit unions with the right product and service mix to connect.
An integrated web presence
Each Young & Free program is showcased on our website platform that has a proven combination of design, messaging, navigation and participatory tools to attract applicants and visitors and to keep them involved. The modern, responsive website platform automatically scales to all screen sizes, including smartphones and tablets.
Prior to launch, we write all of the web copy, setup profiles and pages on major social web services and film and produce a launch video. It doesn't stop there—once the web presence is launched, we are constantly producing content and interacting with a rapidly growing audience.
A search for a voice
The goal is to make as big a noise as possible in the local marketplace both on and offline. We want as many members of the 25-and-under crowd to know about the Young & Free Spokester search and about your new product offer.
To do this, we create and execute a custom integrated media plan. We incorporate your existing media relationships and we support your local public relations professionals. Our integrated marketing approach and reach into the social media world through a proven online media plan works so well that we find that most Young & Free Spokester applicants are non-credit union members anxious to become members.
Word-of-mouth on steroids
Through 30 searches, more than 1,000 young people have applied to become a Young & Free Spokester. We encourage all of our applicants to run aggressive campaigns to make themselves stand out and to help spread the word. The applicants drive a ton of traffic to the Young & Free sites. Beyond the required video and blog post, applicants are constantly tweeting, most create Facebook fan pages and many go above and beyond by creating posters and extra YouTube videos! More than 1,000 young people spreading the news about our partner credit unions and you get the picture! On Facebook alone, our applicants have created more than 300 fan pages that have attracted more than 100,000 likes.
A window into a generation
Each of our selected finalists are given the task of creating a video that seeks to answer the question, "What do young people really want from a financial institution?" These three-minute videos give us a glimpse at how the finalists interact as well as offer up some great info. Here is one of our favorites.
The search is just the beginning
With the momentum rolling and the Young & Free Spokester in place, it is just the beginning. For the next year, your Young & Free Spokester is in charge of building a community of like-minded young people interested in coming to grips with their finances. Social networking, blogging, making videos and attending events all the while promoting your credit union and your young adult products and services.
It really is a tailor-made opportunity for a talented and creative young adult. No cue cards. No scripts. Just a young person being themselves creating a buzz and positioning a progressive credit union as a great choice for young people.
The network: Covering the continent one region at a time
Credit unions from all over North America focused on the same opportunity! Working together amplifies everyone's success. With seven live regions, seven Spokesters, seven credit union marketing teams and seven dedicated Currency employees, there are dozens of minds thinking about and moving Young & Free forward daily.
Tackling the attraction and retention of the next generation of credit union members together is powerful and embodies the cooperative spirit that makes the credit union industry a movement. By being part of Young & Free, your credit union will get to market faster, avoid costly mistakes and fruitless experimentation and benefit from the collective energy and experience of a group of peers with exactly the same goals.
Delivering financial literacy content
A tangible asset of our collaborative efforts is the Living Young & Free Show. Published twice per month on all of the regional sites and syndicated through Blip.tv to reach iTunes, Roku and Boxee for mass distribution, the Living Young & Free Show is a collaborative effort between Currency and all of the Young & Free Spokesters.
Each episode gives the 25-and-under crowd tips, tricks and hacks to get the most out of their money. Finally, financial literacy that's fun, entertaining and totally watchable!
It’s not a lonely job
Being a Young & Free Spokester with the total freedom to create is both exciting and scary. It's a tremendous responsibility to represent a credit union online and in person and the job would likely be overwhelming for a young adult left on their own. Lucky, that's not the case with Young & Free. Not ony do we have a dedicated coach on staff, we have multiple Young & Free Spokesters all doing the same job. This built-in peer network of fast friends bouncing ideas off one another and going through the journey together enables us to get the best out of our young representatives throughout their terms.
A year-round promotion
We provide unlimited management, coaching, ideas and support for the Spokesters and your team all year round. Young & Free really is a 365-day-per-year initiative with the potential to last for years.
We’ve learned that Young & Free is so much more than the Spokester. In addition to the daily web content, we've had tremendous success in driving continued traffic, participation and new member growth through on-going promotions and contests. Creative video and design contests, scholarship contests, music and dance competitions and member-only concerts and events to name just a few. This growing library of marketing and event plans, artwork and collective experience are available as part of our package.
Our overriding philosophy is that we will do whatever it takes to make your program a success. It's in our best interest and yours! No nickel and diming, just expert assistance in reaching your goals.
Interested? Let’s talk Young & Free
Fill out the short form at the top of this page and we'll get back to you with more information about the Young & Free Marketing Program, including costs.
First come, first served
All regions are exclusive and are licensed on a first-come, first-served basis. We will not license Young & Free to banks. One exclusive license will be granted in each region. Regions are defined geographically by state and provincial borders. The first qualifying credit union or group of credit unions in each region to sign an agreement will secure regional rights to the program.
Is your credit union Young & Free?
Your CEO, VP Marketing, executive and board must fully believe that attracting the next generation of credit union members is critical. Everyone must also believe that Young & Free is a fit for your credit union.
We believe very strongly that your 25-and-under account must have at least two appealing differentiators compared to your competitor's best young adult account. We know products that aren't different from the competition don't attract this age group.
Young & Free Market Assessment
Want an assessment of your credit union's potential with young adult members?
Take the first step and have us conduct a Young & Free Market Assessment. Priced at $7,000, this comprehensive package includes generation psychographics, demographic review, market potential, competitor analysis, product recommendations and your basic Young & Free look and feel all tailored to your situation. This is a risk-free way to see how we work together and to see your credit union's potential with the young adult market. If you continue, we apply the cost of the assessment towards the program. If you don't, you have a valuable package of information for your credit union to use.