Like many financial institutions, Credit Union of Southern California decided to streamline their checking accounts into two products. Their Classic Checking would be the basic, free version. The other would be Rewards Checking, an account that goes well above and beyond basic. It, obviously, offers rewards, along with earning dividends. It also provides the account holder some very effective ways to protect and recover from identity theft. Why wouldn’t everyone want the better account? Because it comes with a $5 per month price tag.
Our job was to come up with ways to present Rewards Checking as the better choice without disparaging Classic. We also had to make the monthly fee palatable.
The $5 fee was actually a bargain, we just had to underscore that fact. People pay considerably more to guard against ID theft. The dividends the account earns and the rewards that accumulate, could offset all or a significant portion of the fee.
We started with a tease campaign to employees; they received a short rhyme alluding to the account along with a relatable promotional item. This is often a key element for any product introduction. You want employees to buy-in. You can accomplish that by having a little fun and educating staff about the product. We take a similar approach with the consumer, in this case, Members of the credit union. Mailers, in-branch flyers, posters and cute standees announced the new checking options.
The $5 proved easy to spin because we really didn’t have to. Consumers have been conditioned to pay nearly that much for a cup of coffee and we took good advantage of that. We purposely didn’t play defense in copy. We opened with all the advantages before revealing the price tag. There are tried and true advertising tactics; one we used was reducing the monthly fee to a daily cost. Saying, “For 16-cents per day,” gives the price a prettier perspective. Most members opted for Rewards and to their credit, CU SoCal allows Members to make the switch to the Classic, free account easily if they prefer.