How can we educate teenagers about money on their terms?
If you ask a teenager what their top priorities are, they are unlikely to mention budgeting. Study might well be one, and sports, but they are also likely to mention technological pastimes, such as mobile apps, and social networking sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, increasingly Tumblr and YouTube. Financial institutions need to try to engage with teenagers in their own space. It is crucial that banks begin to engage with teenagers quickly if they are to become confident at managing their personal finances as quickly as possible.
The financial services industry, by its own admission, lags behind consumer companies in the quest to engage young people online. However, top consumer sites are adept at running social networking campaigns. Household names like British Airways and Marks and Spencer have greatly benefited from embracing the social media world - seeing results, both in brand awareness, and in brand loyalty. Facebook too has been used very effectively by brands seeking publicity and looking to build up a fan base.
Understandably, financial services are harder to get excited about, but they could still do more to engage with teenagers. The good news though, is that where they have tried to attract young people through social media, they have succeeded both in raising awareness of their brand, and converting customers. Aviva, for instance, ran a campaign where a magician asked young passers by questions about money under the guise of showing them a magic trick. The Aviva Magic Money campaign was widely viewed on YouTube, and was positively received, while fulfilling its remit of educating young people about money matters and the importance of learning how to budget.
The more that banks and financial institutions reach out to teenagers, the more confident teenagers will be about handling their personal finances.