Developed by British Columbia-based Currency Marketing and made popular by Common Wealth Credit Union, Alberta, Canada, Young & Free is a financial management package designed to engage 19- to 25-year-olds toward effectively managing their money.
"Young & Free is the perfect fit for our culture," said Texas Dow Channel Integration Manager Trey Reeme. "As soon as Tim mentioned that he's licensing it in the United States, I immediately knew that the success Common Wealth had was not unique to them. There is nothing like Young & Free here, and it sets the bar not just in financial services but in the use of social media to engage new members and have conversations with Gen Y."
TDECU is the first in the U.S. to offer Young & Free and owns the exclusive rights to it in the state of Texas.
The award winning Gen Y geared campaign engages through a microsite (www.youngfreetexas.com), social media and other nontraditional media. To reinforce the idea that this is a resource destination by and for Gen Y, the search has begun for a Texas Dow Young & Free spokesperson. Prospective spokespeople who feel they have what it takes to best connect with their peers apply at youngfreetexas.com by submitting both an original video and blog.
Texas Dow will select the finalists, but the spokesperson will ultimately be selected by their peers online on the youngfreetexas.com site.
The lucky winner will be hired for a year to keep the site fresh, entertaining and educational with blogs, YouTube videos, polls and vlogs, while spreading the word about Young & Free. Some perks of the position include a $30,000 annual salary, a Toyota Prius with a gas allowance for one year, an Apple MacBook, a Canon digital camera, a Flip digital video camera and an Apple iPhone with a paid contract.
"We're excited especially in our market to see who'll be picked to be the voice of the 25 and under crowd," said Reeme. "The spokesperson will be someone who'll think outside the box of what most credit union professionals would know. We're not looking for a carbon copy of ourselves; we want the most unique, creative talent out there who'll see this as their dream job."
To find the right person, Texas Dow is drawing on all its traditional marketing skills to attract potential candidates and drive traffic toward its social media campaign microsite.
"The Young & Free campaign sort of flies in the face of traditional marketing and rather than reaching out with a message about rates or products, this is more about building a conversation and acting as a resource for information and to find free things to do. I'm on the upper part of Gen Y, and I still can't pass up a free deal," said Reeme.
He added that while the average Texas Dow member age is about four to five years younger than the credit union industry standard, it is important to always continue reaching out to the next generation.
"We know we always need to look at the younger demographic. This is a group that is largely uninformed or misinformed about the credit union difference, they don't know the dangers of payday lending or how high interest credit cards are not a good deal. So we want to make them aware that we exist for one and that they can trust us to look out for their best interests," said Reeme. "That is why credit unions were formed to promote thrift and make members lives better. The 'free' aspect is the credit union philosophy."