Desjardins – Lucie Rémillard, Isabelle Houde, Alexandra Ste-Marie, Karine Pinard, Isabelle Rémillard
Creative Director: Martin Cinq-Mars
Art Director: Guillaume Carrier-Turcotte
Copywriter: Véronique Gingras
Strategic Planner: Andréa Fortin
Account Executives: Kathryne Beaulieu, Féeniscya Roy, Karine Farmer
Agency Producer: Elyse Bleau
Director: Yan Giroux
Production Company: ALT Productions
Project Managers: François Mouchet, Julie Doré-Renaud
Mac Artists: Patrick Labelle, Caroline Guimond
|Business Results Period (Consecutive Months):||June 2016–November 2016|
|Start of Advertising/Communication Effort: ||June 2016|
|Base Period as a Benchmark: ||June 2015–November 2015|
|Geographic Area: ||Province of Québec |
|Budget for this effort: ||$500,000 - $1 million|
From consideration to conversion, 2016 represented a huge strategy shift for Desjardins. A shift that allowed Desjardins to far surpass its business objectives for acquisition and retention.
In 2016, Desjardins set itself the objective of increasing young Quebecers’ long-term consideration of the brand. Eighteen- to 24-year-old Quebecers are elusive: They’re either studying or working, or both. They’re urban and rural; they consume TV and Netflix, radio and Spotify. Desjardins needed to be present in engaging environments that would allow young adults to spend more time with the brand. A 100% digital targeted campaign was asked for. The campaign’s success is founded on how this specific target audience was reached.
The approach was for Desjardins—a champion of financial literacy and autonomy—to dispense financial advice without moralizing, and share knowledge without “pushing products.” While it wasn’t new for Desjardins to offer financial management tips to young adults, this time the starting point wouldn’t be a financial product. Instead, target-relevant tips were designed around real-life stories and everyday events. This approach was unconventional for a services campaign, especially in the financial sector.
Indeed, the multi-step transition to financial autonomy can be daunting for young Quebecers. While preparing for tomorrow today is a balancing act, some low-pain shortcuts can encourage good habits and increase financial control while at the same time generating pride points. As a result, expressions such as “so adult” have made their way into popular culture and social media vernacular. And it is by leveraging this insight that Desjardins encouraged young Quebecers to embrace adulthood—one step at a time. The campaign’s success lies in how this pivotal insight was brought to life in a new communication approach for the brand.
Desjardins, the leading cooperative financial group in Canada, inspires global trust through the commitment of its people, its financial strength and its contribution to sustainable prosperity. As an International Co-operative Alliance member, Desjardins shares the same ideals as thousands of cooperatives around the world. These ideals are expressed through a set of values that has defined the cooperative’s identity since the beginning. Support and understanding are the basis of Desjardins’ commitment to individuals and communities.
The strategy of Canadian banks entering the playing field was to offer various educational programs across the country and emphasize their interaction with young Canadians. As a result, Desjardins needed to cement its leading position in terms of financial education. The objective was ambitious and the gross marketing budget was limited. They needed a new way to meet the challenge.
In the short term, Desjardins aimed to improve brand perception by 50% amongst the target (18- to 24-year-old Quebecers) by the end of the campaign (November 2016, online post-research) and to motivate 50% of the target to do business with Desjardins.
More precisely, Desjardins wanted to:
- Reduce departures to 0% amongst the target*
- Increase acquisitions amongst the target by 1%*
- Acquire 20% more sign-ups for the university student offer (account with no monthly fees, credit card with rewards and no fee, line of credit at an attractive rate and exclusive advantages and discounts for Desjardins members)*
*Compared to the same period in 2015.
A survey by Quebec’s financial markets regulator revealed that most Quebecers aged 18 to 24 think they will achieve financial independence by age 27. The reality is that 43% of 30- to 33-year-olds still haven’t. Their good intentions aren’t reflected in their actions, as demonstrated by their prolonged transition to adult life: They graduate later, live at home longer, enter the workforce later and delay starting a family.
The multi-step transition to financial autonomy can be daunting. Each accomplishment is a pride point that young adults like to share with their peers. As a result, expressions such as “so adult” have made their way into popular culture and social media vernacular.
While preparing for tomorrow today is a balancing act, some low-pain shortcuts can encourage good habits and increase financial control while at the same time generating pride points. Desjardins leveraged this insight to encourage young Quebecers to embrace adulthood—one step at a time.
#SOADULT is a series of small financial victories. By taking small steps, young adults gain autonomy and start on the road to adulthood. By understanding the environment of young adults, showing empathy and adopting an expression and tone common amongst them, Desjardins aims to earn their trust and attention.
Understanding and interacting with young adults is a unique and exciting challenge in terms of communication, understanding of values and message tonality, technology use and media consumption. And by defining a clear consumer insight, we were able to develop an appealing sandbox for the creative. This powerful insight included many distinct behaviours, each of which could deliver creative ideas that were both unique and relevant at the same time.
To maintain an overall innovative image and tone that was always at the forefront, the three watchwords were test, measure and adjust. Throughout the campaign, creatives were developed based on previous learnings, just as media purchases were revised in order to continuously optimize the campaign and ultimately exceed the business results originally targeted.
Young Quebecers are wary of financial institutions. What’s more, they do not see Desjardins as modern. Far from being in step with the times, it is first and foremost for them their parents’ financial institution. An institution that also speaks their parents’ language. Two constraints that Desjardins needed to overcome in order to achieve its business objectives—brand perception and acquisition/retention.
In order to modernize perceptions, Desjardins needed not only to change the way it addressed its younger target by adopting their language, but also to go back to one of the pillars of the brand when it was first founded: empowerment. That meant offering tools and support that promoted financial autonomy and contributed to socio-economic development. Desjardins’ purpose is different from that of banks: First, offer tools. Then talk product. That way they would no longer see the institution behind the cooperative.
#SOADULT is a series of small financial victories: Pay a credit card bill on time, save up for a project or start a rainy-day fund. By taking small steps, young adults gain autonomy and start on the road to adulthood. By understanding the environment of young adults, showing empathy and adopting an expression and tone common amongst them, Desjardins aimed to earn their trust and attention.
Eighteen- to 24-year-old Quebecers are elusive: They’re either studying or working, or both. They’re urban and rural; they consume TV and Netflix, radio and Spotify. Since Desjardins needed to be present in engaging environments that incited young adults to spend more time with the brand, they opted for a 100% digital targeted campaign.
To maintain Desjardins’ profile of expertise, the campaign was integrated into their well-known creative platform. Then disruptive elements such as sound effects and pineapples were added as a way to surprise viewers, hold their attention and encourage them to reconsider a Desjardins that they thought they knew.
Qualified viewers were exposed to a progressive and sequential series of #SOADULT videos between June and November 2016. Products were only featured in retargeted messaging, when they were addressed.
The campaign #SOADULT was undoubtedly more than simply a step for Desjardins: It was the beginning of a new way to communicate with its clients. The initiative helped to reinforce Desjardins’ position as an empathic and modern voice amongst a demographic that is wary of financial institutions:
- 74% of the target sampled said that the campaign improved their perception of Desjardins
- 69% said that the campaign motivated them to do business with Desjardins
Objectives were surpassed within weeks. Compared to the same period in 2015, Desjardins saw:
- 20% fewer departures amongst the target, surpassing the objective of simply stabilizing them
- 3% increase in target acquisitions, surpassing the 1% objective
- 46% more sign-ups for the university student offer, surpassing the 20% objective
The videos have been viewed more than three million times, 20% organically. Over 10,000 comments, shares and likes were recorded on social media, strongly contributing to the campaign’s reach.
In the financial category, most consumers are usually loyal. Indeed, even if it is easy to switch a mortgage from a financial institution to another upon renewal, some products such as registered retirement savings plan are more complicated to move. Therefore, acquiring a new young member before they become too involved with another institution is priceless for Desjardins.
Moreover, the university student offer includes benefits that are not directly moneymaking for Desjardins: accounts with no monthly fees, credit cards with rewards at no fee, lines of credit at an attractive rate and exclusive advantages and discounts for Desjardins members.
Consequently, it is not possible to monetize the results.
The 2016 #SOADULT campaign results were compared to the results of an equivalent campaign the year before (same budget, same target, same period).
The quantitative post-test conducted online with Ad Hoc Research in November 2016 confirmed that:
- The overall net effectiveness of the 2016 #SOADULT campaign is 39%, which is excellent and well above Desjardins’ standards (12%).
- The message was clearly understood and the campaign was greatly appreciated by students (89%).
- Nearly three-quarters (74%) of students found that the campaign encouraged them to do business with Desjardins, which was an excellent result and above the standard (64%).
- Nearly one in two students (48%) was exposed to one of the banners, which exceeds the standard exposure of one in five respondents.
A qualitative perception analysis was also conducted by Desjardins:
- The videos generated considerable engagement and attracted very few negative comments, which is rare for a campaign with such wide distribution.
- The target audience often mentions their friends in their posts so that they see the message. This enabled us to spread the messaging “organically” and widen the scope by adding a social endorsement.
- The target market strongly identifies with the individuals in the videos and relates to the campaign (shares and comments such as “this is so me”).
- All the components of a successful social campaign were brought together: humour, format, relatable characters and precise targeting.
Campaign spend vs. history and competition:
- The competitive landscape didn’t change either—other university student offers remained the same.
Pre-existing Brand momentum:
- Back-to-school has always been the peak season, therefore business results weren’t simply moved between time periods.
- The business results were not a continuation of prior trends as membership is declining overall at Desjardins.
Changes in Distribution/Availability:
- There was no change within the Desjardins university student offer compared to the previous year.
Unusual Promotional Activity:
There was no unusual promotional activity from Desjardins during the same period.
Any other factors:
The 2016 #SOADULT campaign results were compared to the results of an equivalent campaign the year before (same budget, same target, same period)