Content strategist Jennie Kim lays out the three components of a winning content strategy and...
Investment In Knowledge
Once separated from LendingTree.com’s transactional pages, Smart Borrower Center is now front and center in the website. “We wanted to deliver our decision-supporting tools and resources at the point of purchase,” says editor-in-chief Nicole Hall,12 who manages LendingTree’s financial education programs. Raising awareness is also part of the strategy. “Today’s college stud-ents, for example, enter adulthood saddled with unprecedented debt,” she says. “Our goal is to help people avoid problems and make good decisions.” In addition to driving customer acquisition and retention, she says Smart Borrower Center builds brand loyalty and trust. “People know they can rely on us for information and answers.”
It’s a trend with legs. In 2001, Capital One and national advocacy group Consumer Action created MoneyWi$e, a free national multilingual personal financial education program. In 2008, they launched MoneyWi$e Online, an interactive Web-based resource.13 Two years earlier, Capital One, a Jump$tart Coalition sponsor, had partnered with Junior Achievement Worldwide to bring financial education to students across the U.S.
Also in late 2008, Visa teamed up with McDonald’s on McDonald's Practical Money Skills program.14 Billed as the largest employer-based financial literacy initiative in the U.S., the bilingual (English and Spanish) program offers printed and Web resources to more than 500,000 restaurant-level employees throughout the majority of McDonald's 14,000 U.S. restaurants.
In its September 2007 “Analyzing the Relationship Between Account Ownership and Financial Education,”15 the New America Foundation’s Asset Building Program documents substantial evidence of the positive impact education has on consumer financial behavior.
After analyzing the home pages of 55 U.S. and European financial firms (mostly Fortune 500 companies) from October 2008 to February 2009, public relations firm Weber Shandwick found that 66 percent were silent on the global fiscal meltdown. When these firms did communicate, only 15 percent were making direct efforts to reassure customers about their personal financial security in February—from 12 percent in October.
"It's not enough for leading financial services companies to communicate only in good times,” said Barb Iverson, president of Weber Shandwick's financial services industry practice group, in a statement.16