Will Ashton Kutcher Accept to Join the Jury of TIAA-CREF’s new Facebook...

Will Ashton Kutcher Accept to Join the Jury of TIAA-CREF’s new Facebook Contest, Raise the Rate?

A couple of weeks ago, Wells Fargo launched the With You When facebook page and application which left me disappointed: I find the page far too static, it doesn’t urge you to participate, and the application is not that fun if you ask me. I advised Tim, Ed, and their team to check UBank’s own Facebook page and the “Savings Tips” tab in particular. The bank invites the australian people to share their tips and to vote for their favourites. Even though the process could be improved (categorization, reward), it is engaging and more viral thanks to the widget.

TIAA-CREF Launches its 2nd Facebook Application: Raise the Rate!
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I was delighted to find out about this new contest launched by another financial institution in the US, TIAA-CREF’s Raise The Rate. The contest is accessible via its own url,http://raisetheratecontest.org, which is redirected to a dedicated tab on TIAA-CREF’s popular facebook page which now counts over 12,150 fans which puts them in my top 25 “most liked” page on my Visible Banking Facebook Watch.

I much prefer this approach to the one chosen by the Saxobank team for their saxofan contest. You want to build a community and fully leverage a handful of key social media assets.

TIAA-CREF also launched an application named raisetherate which now counts about 90 monthly users. It is the second application / contest launched by the company on Facebook. The first one, “the Nest Egg challenge” had a pick at 133 monthly users in January 2010, now it has just about 60 monthly users.

Another Contest to Help American People Achieve Financial Wellbeing?
Both competitions aim to urge the American people to save more money by changing their spending patterns in order to achieve financial wellbeing. Needless to say that TIAA-CREF is not the first financial institution aiming to achieve such a goal. As a matter of fact, I can think of at least a dozen social media intiatives from banks or credit unions launched in the last three years with this very same goal. In addition, you can add the great job from startups like Mint.com via their facebook page and their blog.

About & My Take
I assume the key goals for the contest are to increase TIAA-CREF’s fan base on facebook, increase share of voice, NPS, brand advocacy, and be identify as a cool brand which cares.

The contest will run betwen May 01 until September 28. The winners will be announced on October 12. It looks like facebook users will be invited to vote for only two weeks between 14-28 September? Shame if it is the case.

As always in social media, it is in your ability to REWARD participants that lies the success of your initiative. On facebook, your apps or contests must be fun or entertaining enough to urge users to contribute and spread the word around them.

Straight away, I had a good feeling with this contest: prizes are clearly mentioned and appealing (here the reward is mainly financial, not only for individuals but also their school), the overall design of the page is fun, a few social media sites and types of content are used such as twitter or video, and they made it simple for users to share on twitter and facebook.

* WOM / Sharing buttons: twitter and facebook
* Twitter: on paper, it is a good idea to use some dedicated hashtags such as #savewin and #savefail. They just need to find a way to urge tweeps to use them…
* Facebook: I couldn’t find the app in the facebook search results…
* Video: I watched the videos which are ok, but not that fun if you ask me. I am much more interested in UGC and videos from real American people. Check the AmocoFCU’s earnorburn contest or the excellent Pay Yourself First Challenge by FNBO Direct.
* T-shirts: I wonder how many people would really buy those t-shirts. I suppose it is quite fun to give away 300 of them though.

You are using twitter and you are participating to, or promoting, the Raise the Rate challenge? I invite you to @ or DM me to be added to the dedicated list I created.

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Who Are The Judges: Mint.com’s Aaron Patzer, CNBC’s Maria Bartiromo, and “Dude Where’s my Car?” ‘s Ashton Kutcher
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I was wondering who would be selecting / judging the semi-finalists. I believe I found the answer on twitter: it looks like Aaron Patzer, Founder of Mint.com and now VP & GM, Personal Finance Group at Intuit, and Maria Bartiromo, Anchor-Business News at CNBC, have already confirmed their contribution. It already does give a lot of credit to the TIAA-CREF initiative: I don’t know Maria personnally, but I had the pleasure to interview Aaron three times between 2007-2009. He is a great, real smart, guy who achieved a lot with Mint.com in just a few years. I still have the “You’ve been saved!” t-shirt Aaron gave me at the very first Finovate in NYC back in the end of 2007.

Who else would be a great addition to the grand jury? Let me think… Someone high-profile and very influential on twitter? Who else but “the King of twitter”, Ashton Kutcher, who is the most followed tweep with over 4,839,850 followers. It is hard to grasp the level of influence Ashton has on the popular micro-blogging service. I can just guess how many times each of his tweets are RTed… It is surely phenomenal.

Ashton joining the jury would be a great operation for TIAA-CREF. A few tweets from @aplusk would surely help drive an incredible amount of traffic to their facebook page. Then, you may wonder how good and relevant this traffic would be, and if it would really drive the number of ideas that much.
Would you participate to get a chance to meet with Ashton? I probably would. And you?

Ashton, I would love to interview you on Visible Banking to talk aboutdnafoundation, the charity Demi and you founded to eliminate sex slavery worldwide, and find out how you think financial institutions should use twitter and social media in general to change the world.
By the way, what do you think of the Robin Hood Tax initiative?

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