Superannuation content that dares to be different

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Get off the beach
By Susan Burchill, staffer. 19 June, 2018
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It’s a scenario we’ve seen marketers use countless times before, that old trope of the grey-haired-couple- cavorting-on-the-beach – a desperate attempt to get consumers to take an interest in saving for their retirement. But millennials remain unconvinced. Take heart from these three examples of brands who’ve dared to get off the beach and into less predictable, more engaging scenarios.

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We’ve said it before – younger people don’t engage with superannuation, certainly not as much as they need to if they want to enjoy financial freedom in later years.

The research shows that Australian funds “are lacking on the communications front,” as consulting firm Mercer puts it, quoting CoreData research. “Members – particularly Gen Y members – are craving more personalised content that is tailored to their specific circumstances and stage of life.”

How Mercer caters for the young and old

Mercer got busy re-tooling five of their key platforms, including building a consumer insights and analytics platform - Mercer Edge, from scratch. Now they can give members contextualised information and insights relevant to their stage of life, at the time when they need it.

But in this conversation about content, it’s Mercer’s blog we want to look at - Mercer Magazine. As consultants to big companies, they deal with trends daily. They know that millennial readers have common concerns and ambitions at various life stages. And they engage their audience (both B2C and B2B) through this lens, with topics including the #metoo movement, tiny houses and '6 great ways to get your yoga on'. Heading closer to retirement territory, they’ve published articles about cities of the future that cater equally for the elderly and the young, along with content that explains how 'present bias' can railroad your financial future.

There are specific superannuation-related topics too – ‘80 not out: Don’t turn your back on your future self’ discusses the psychological and other reasons why people of all generations fail to prepare for their retirement even though we’re living longer.

This editorial ticks a lot of boxes. First and foremost, it’s enlightening, conveying information about our world, recognising our opportunities and our bad habits – all of which sit in millennial territory. What it does is quietly sell Mercer as purveyors of global insights.

While Mercer isn’t a superannuation fund per se, its blog stands as inspiration for funds who want to create content that is persuasive without being a hard sell.

Spaceship's superannuation content uses language Gen Ys understand

Now here’s a fund that’s moved away from the beach – into outer space.

Spaceship boldly goes where no super fund has gone before in Australia by “investing where the world is going”. With their tech focus, avowed “transparency” and straightforward promise, they are talking a language that Gen Ys understand.

Even critics of the fund’s performance admit that Spaceship is a study in financial marketing. Their Super101 series, which breaks down super jargon and covers topics such as What is Super?, support their overall business objective to simplify super and encourage young Australians to engage. We spoke to Spaceship directly about their clever approach to content.

The imagery, look and feel are contemporary, magazine-like. There is self-referential and wry humour here. It is not the staid language of institutional brands. Yet it is not dumbed down either – it assumes a decent level of intelligence.

Their separate blog provides investment information and explanations of commonly bandied-about terms, all neatly layered with millennial references. Like Mercer above, they explore millennial tech and trends – Reddit, crypto and the “enterprise value” of Facebook.

This should be the norm when talking with this generation, but it’s not.

Mind you, Spaceship got in trouble with ASIC for the language they use, so maybe that’s why other brands steer clear of colourful turns of phrase. As Spaceship said, "…the challenge for all industry participants is to meet both regulatory standards and innovation demands from consumers.”

The challenge for all industry participants is to meet both regulatory standards and innovation demands from consumers.

The grandmasters of Flash: Prudential

How could we not mention Prudential, those marketing maestros who’ve delivered us 'Day one stories', 'Your brain is to blame', 'The 4.01K race for retirement'… we could go on (and we have here).

They continue to find new ways of looking at retirement saving, spend big marketing money doing it, but ultimately they get out in public and get people talking.

The latest greatness from Prudential, launched in March 2018, is The 80-Year-Old Millennial study and quiz. (Even the name is intriguing.) They consulted with futurists in tech, transportation, education, entrepreneurship, and ageing to help compile questions which they then put to 1,000 millennials. The answers, they say, will help them “understand and anticipate the needs and challenges they may face in 50 years”.

The quiz is online for anyone to complete, and tells you where you fall compared to others – are you a technocrat, idealist, trailblazer, contrarian, late adopter, traditionalist or a Tried and True? Only one way to find out.

It’s a meaty idea that absolutely answers the findings of CoreData’s 2016 Member Engagement Research - that three in five (59.6%) Australians aged 29 and under are disengaged with superannuation – with almost a third of them (31.9%) ‘highly disengaged’.

Many Gen Ys can’t and don’t envisage a time when they will no longer be working. This quiz and the study talk directly to millennials about their fears and hopes. The quiz is slick, the graphics are very now. This isn’t grandpa’s quiz.

And in their usual, smart way, Prudential don’t flog their products, at least until you’ve finished reading a story.

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When Susan was a youngster she didn't know what she wanted to be, but somehow she fell into advertising; then digital was invented so she worked on websites for a while. From there it was a small leap over to TV producing, scriptwriting, promo writing, and some copywriting.... Then when content marketing became a 'thing', she somehow fell into that. It's worked out ok so far - luckily she's always landed on soft things.