This is the third in a series of blog posts published on

Apps and games: Another great way to increase engagement is to offer fun mobile and web-based applications that help people manage their finances. Infusing applications and great content with immersive gaming elements encourages interactions that are easily shareable with peers.  A great example of this approach is the game “Nickled and Dimed” at The object of this game is to save Joe from getting barraged by bank fees, and, by doing so, build up savings. Similarly, Park City Credit Union in Merrill, Wisconsin offers an online simulation game with avatars called “Money Mission” aimed at helping teens learn real-life financial skills. Players are eligible to win scholarships.

Another example of an application that allows users to manage their money using their mobile device (there is also an app specifically for the iPhone) is PNC’s virtual wallet application. Credit unions have been slow to take the app plunge, although this is an area to add value and have some fun at the same time. According to ComScore, the Gen Y population, estimated at 79 million with about $170 billion in annual purchasing power, uses mobile banking more than any other age group (Jan 2012).

Another fun way to provide great content is via podcasts. Recently, I listened to a podcast given by a credit union on refinancing. The delivery was staged as a fun newscast filled with great information.

Social networks: One of the most important ways to reach Gen Y members is by allowing them to share information using social networks. This facilitates peer recommendations, and there are few things as influential as recommendations from a peer group. A credit union in Canada, for example, created a community, Young and Free Alberta ( to enable Gen Y users to discuss, share, educate and comment on issues relating to credit and money. In addition to a video series on different topics, the site offers contests including a chance to be the paid voice for Young and Free for a year.

Burbank City FCU also mixes media, including Facebook, to encourage participation. One contest, based on the premise that nobody wants to spend more time on banking, asks users to submit a photo of what they would rather be doing (stand-up comedy, skydiving, fishing, hot air ballooning, going to the dentist!). Contestants are then entered into a drawing for $100.

Fun should not be hard!

Integrating fun and humor into your social marketing strategies for all members—especially Gen Y members—can help you cut through the noise in a crowded market. Keep it simple. Start with a great story that connects at a human level and offers value. Experiment a little and see what works best for you. Educate, inform, entertain and delight your customers by surprising them.

Funny is great, but just having fun is a great start. Besides, you can’t get to funny without having ‘fun’ first. Really. Try spelling it!