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Can Coinland Help Commonwealth Bank of Australia Teach 1 Million Australian Kids Financial Literacy by 2015?

Social media banking. Can Coinland Help Commonwealth Bank of Australia Teach 1 Million Australian Kids Financial Literacy by 2015?

Yesterday, Mark Murray, General Manager Consumer Marketing of CBA, officially announced the launch of Coinland, a virtual money management world for kids.

About Coinland
Basically kids register on the site by providing the email address of their parents who are asked to confirm the registration. Only then, kids can start playing the game.

Please find below more info on the game from ourkidz.com.au.
Children create a personalised avatar which represents them in the game, alongside their guide Platy,  who shows them how their actions impact their savings goals. The Bank’s saving super heroes, the Dollarmites interact with players to bring money management to life. They also meet Mr Save-a-lot who teaches children about money, while Gobbler – Platy’s nemesis – entices them to spend!

During their Coinland adventures, children use their character to:
* earn virtual coins by looking for jobs in the Daily Coin newspaper such as Splash the Rabbit or Pizza Mayhem which rewards them with coins for keeping the rabbits at bay or making pizzas;
* watch a series of animated movies embedded in the game which will help to reinforce the value of saving and to let players know what they should be doing in Coinland;
* save their coins by depositing them in the Bank;
* spend coins to pay for treats such as a new skateboard, playing games or going to the movies; and
* connect with friends by adding other players to their buddy list via safe chat using pre-defined messages.

As children progress through Coinland their efforts are recognised through Merit Awards – from earning their first coin and opening their first bank account, to recognising their contributions as a regular saver. Parents are also kept informed of their child’s progress through regular emails from Mr Save-a-lot so they can stay involved.

CBA has also published so far 5 videos on their CommBank YouTube channel to talk you through their initiative.

Promotion & Social Media Presence
CBA-YouthStudents-CategoryPage
Except for the videos on YouTube, I am afraid there is not much to report on the promotion front.
I would have loved to find at least a basic page on facebook and a link or a button on their Youth & students category page ortheir Under 18’s product page

Not an Isolated Initiative, but a Commitment to Support Financial Literacy
It is important to point out that Coinland is far from being the first initiative launched by the bank in the digital space to support its financial literacy strategy. In 2008, CBA won the IAB Creative Award in the financial services category for their interactive Dollarmites micro-site, which is listed on their under 18’s page.

CBA-Dollarmites
It is most delightful to see the bank leveraging the online channel and launching social media initiatives to support its strategy and promote more traditional, and highly valuable, activities such as here a roadshow of events throughout Australia.

Proximity is key. Not sure about the sells pitch though: “Soon you’ll have lots of money in the bank and Mum and Dad will be asking for a loan from you.” Any thought? 😉

CBA-1millionKids
As a matter of fact, back in November 2009, Ralph Norris, CEO of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, announceda 5-year / $40 million investment in its long running school banking programme to demonstrate its commitment to financial literacy in Australia.

The bank aims to educate no less than 1 million kids by 2015.

Please find below the speech delivered by Ralph.

Social Media & Online Games – a Great Way to Teach Kids and Students
CBA is not the first FI which is trying to launch online games to provide financial education in a fun and entertaining way. As a matter of fact, Social Media and Online games are great tools for educating not only kids, but also students and young adults.

Wells Fargo became a pioneer in this space when they launched their immersive game Stagecoach Island, back in 2005 initially on Second Life.

I invite you to check ING Direct’s planetorange.cathat helps Canadian kids, from 1st to 6th grade, learn about earning, spending, saving and investing. and TD Bank’s own Wow! Zonea website created to provide a fun and interactive place where children and teens can gain a better understanding of the value and worth of money.

CBA-TDBank-WowZone CBA-INGDirect-OrangePlanet
So, you are considering adopting a similar approach to educate your market? You must know that you don’t have to re-invent the wheel. A few startups provide online platforms available for white labelling.

CentsCity, a Finovate alumni, is one of them.
CBA-CentsCity

My Take on CBA’s Coinland
I welcome another interesting social media initiative from the Australian banking industry. You have to give CBA the kudos for their commitment to educate young Australians about money and personal finances management. It makes total sense to me to leverage the online channel to start engaging and building trusted long-term relationships with your future clients as early as possible. Needless to stress out the immediate positive impact of engaging with their parents too.

One more time, I will share my usual concerns with such social media initiatives. First of all, financial institutions (FIs) must convince their target segment of the value of taking part in their initiative, and find the best way to REWARD them for the time they spend visiting, contributing and promoting it.
Kids are spending a considerable amount of time interacting with their peers online and having fun on established social networks such asfacebook or club penguin.

The question here is why would Australian kids spend less time on social networks they enjoy tremendously to interact between each other onCoinland? More importantly, what would convince them to
do so? Where is the REWARD?

Mark stressed how important it is to give kids a good reason to come back, he said “we’ll also be regularly refreshing content to ensure that children have a reason to return”.
Providing fresh, appealing, and fun content is one way to capture the kids attention, but I doubt it is enough to sustain a decent level of engagement in the long-term. Make it more fun, organize competitions, give kids the opportunity to earn points and more importantly redeem those points to get hold of attractive prices such as wii games or clothes.

Also, CBA’s success lies in its ability to promote Coinland on their own assets and fully leverage popular social media channels such as twitter, youtube or facebook, to spread the word and attract kids. It is  never too late, but I wish CBA had made sure to do so from the get go….

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