The Challenge

People know saving is good for them, they just don’t do it.

Statistically, Americans are not very good at saving money. People understand the importance of saving but aren’t motivated to take more control of their finances. In an environment where people, particularly of millennial-age, actively avoid learning about basic financial concepts it’s near impossible to start a serious conversation about money.

The Insight

Trick the brain into thinking financial wellness can be fun.

The human brain has an area called the reward center — a group of neural pathways activated by reward-related or reinforcing stimuli. We’re not scientists but appealing to the audience’s competitive instincts, coupled with their predisposition to play games, seemed like a smarter strategy for connecting with our client’s audience.

Hands touching an iPad screen.

The Research

Pain avoidance was the root of all evil — not money.

We interviewed financial advisors and learned that when people put together a simple plan, they’re significantly less likely to face financial distress. In contrast, when we talked to customers, we learned the majority of people know they should talk to an advisor but actively avoid the conversation for fear they’ll be told their financial picture is bleak.

Computer screen with Missions and Milestones wording on the screen.

Smarter Experience

Built to customize, scale and optimize.

Our client’s services and products are sold through partner institutions. But the prospect of building a customized version of the game for every institution would have been prohibitively expensive. So, we created a turnkey publishing tool that allowed the client to easily customize the templated interface, adding logos, images and copy, for example. We also built a performance dashboard that allowed our client as well as their institution partners to track engagement by individuals and departments. Learnings could then be used to inform future seminars and follow-up communications.

Screen showing a financial quiz.

The Outcome

Gamify financial learning…everyone wins.

We built an interactive game where players earn a reward each time they complete a learning “mission” related to basic money management topics. Topics such a budgeting, savings tips and goal-setting were presented in a variety of engaging formats such as videos, calculators and quizzes. Each time a player completed a mission, they earned an entry for a chance to win a fun, “smart” prize like an iPad or a smart speaker. The more missions completed, the more learning — and the more chances to win. Players could also see in real-time how they scored against the peers — providing recognition as well as rewards.