Improving financial literacy with relevant stories -Vinit Kapahi

Financial literacy is, by far, the most effective vaccine against financial anxiety. While the country’s financial literacy rate has increased due to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic, India has the lowest financial literacy rate among major emerging economies.

According to a recent SEBI report, only 27% of the country’s population is financially literate and possesses the proper money management awareness and skills.

The “life skill” of money management is not introduced into educational institutions until it is too late. To fight financial illiteracy, education must begin in the classroom. With adequate financial literacy, people will be empowered to create a solid financial plan that matches their life goals and expectations.

They also need to know how to deal with financial uncertainties arising from job loss, national or global economic downturn, geopolitical unrest, or prolonged illness. However, the widespread misinformation and dated facts available on the internet make it difficult for people to find meaningful financial planning information.

Given this delicate scenario, banking and financial services brands are shouldering the responsibility of bridging the gap and fostering a financially conscious society. Here are my four cents on the role of BFSI marketers in resolving the situation:

Create your own stories

The famous author, historian, modern philosopher and academician Yuval Noah Harari argues in his book 21 Problems for the 21st Century that the brain of “Homo Sapiens” is not designed to process complex numbers, statistics and information not structured. Instead, we learn from the stories that are constantly forming around us, and then they are passed from one sapiens to another.

This is crucial insight for BFSI marketers, who often obsess over numbers and romanticize them through their communications with the public. While instilling goal-oriented investing is a key communication issue, they should be grounded in human interest stories featuring different characters and life scenarios.

A good story keeps people at heart, which helps readers identify with the protagonist, understand the plot, and absorb the larger message. Likewise, marketers need to understand the financial nuances of their audience and use them to create stories.

Stories based on real situations such as studies, marriage, birth of a child, retirement, vacations, etc., teach lessons, give a nudge to think and act in a specific direction, and can be passed on by word of mouth. stuffy. Isn’t this the ideal way to strengthen financial literacy, which is often considered a complex subject?

Keep your feet on the ground

Marketers are by nature creative people. Their natural effort is to unleash their creativity when creating or telling stories. However, these stories still flow to the sword’s edge and have a chance to feel real or fanciful.

Only stories that err on the side of realism can successfully convey the message of financial planning. Consumers today may not understand a complex message. Still, they can definitely see through the gadgets and aren’t shy about calling it digital channels. A rule of thumb here is to weave stories that relate to customers.

Like in a movie, the customer is always the hero of the story, while the brand plays the supportive role of trusted best friend, giving the hero the confidence to make critical financial decisions.

Be the hero’s best friend

We often turn to our best friends and trusted family members for insight or help when in doubt. As a supporting actor, BFSI Marks has the opportunity to be the hero’s best friend in the story. Just stay “truthful” and “trustworthy” throughout your communication. The recipe for the magic sauce that inspires confidence is purpose, integrity and ethics.

Consumers are looking for brands that positively impact societal issues, provide accurate, reliable and unbiased information, and care about their heroes.

Build a positive dialogue

Stories carry with them emotion, which acts as a powerful tool. Emotions can influence people’s opinions and motivate them to act. These emotions can be love, friendship, patriotism, etc. However, one emotion that marketers should not tap into is fear.

Often, certain narratives attempt to persuade people to buy their offerings by instilling fear in them, with the underlying message being “your family will be miserable without money” or “it’s too late to invest”.

Such an approach will only instill fear in the minds of consumers, without educating them financially. Instead of relying on fear, we should embrace positive dialogue and meaningful marketing messages that resonate with customers.

With a population of 1.3 billion, the importance of financial literacy will have a lasting effect. Brands can go a long way with a customer-centric marketing approach to instill financial literacy in the masses.

A financially savvy India would be an important force in the world. With changing priorities and media consumption, being mindful and considerate as a marketer is of the utmost importance. It’s high time for us to be part of the consumer’s journey rather than waiting for them to join ours.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise indicated, the author writes in a personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be taken to represent the official ideas, attitudes or policies of any agency or institution.