Impact Investing – Can You Make A Difference and Make Money?

Impact investingSome call it Socially Responsible Investing.  Some call it Sustainable Investing. Some call it Responsible or Green Investing.  Some call it Impact Investing.  No matter what you call it, this type of investing focuses on companies who have a positive impact on society or the planet.

Many in the financial industry have shied away from this type of investing.    Why?  Because their focus has been on making money.   And there is a popular belief that you cannot be socially responsible AND focus on making as much money as possible.

One financial advisor I read about went so far as to say he would fire any client that came to him wanting to do “socially responsible” investing.

But is that belief true?   Venture capital firm, DBL Investors, in San Francisco would disagree.  DBL stands for “double bottom line,” which refers to focusing on the bottom line of making money and the bottom line of making a difference.  The fund’s managing director is Nancy Pfund. Continue reading

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Why Women Love Navy Federal Credit Union

Every time I speak or work with a client I am asked for examples of financial companies who are successful marketing to, selling to, and retaining female clients.

Well here you go.

Navy Federal’s digital platform scores high among women

Javelin Strategy and Research issued a report – Banking with Women Customers:  Strategies to Increase Digital Banking Engagement.  Some highlights from the report were shared in The Financial Brand’s article, “Attracting Women Customers for Digital Banking Engagement.”

“Although women are not as likely as men to try new technology first, they hold the key to mass adoption,” said Mark Schwanhausser, Director of Omnichannel Financial Services for Javelin Strategy & Research. “Banks need to incorporate online and mobile features that bolster women’s desire for simplicity and to avoid slipping into debt.”

Notice that very important point – women are the key to mass adoption.   If you create tech women love and use, everyone else is likely to follow. Continue reading

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The Future of The Financial Planning Industry – Key Questions

Investment News 40 Under 40

Investment News 40 Under 40

As financial advisors and financial planners look to the future, they are asking some key questions:

What are women looking for?  Is there a difference in how I work with male and female clients?  What needs to change in my practice, my meetings, my prospecting and marketing in order to attract and retain more female clients?  (Whether they are single or part of a couple.)

If the majority of my clients are older, what happens to their money when they die?  Will it stay with me or will their heirs take it somewhere else? What can I do to connect with those heirs now?

What about Gen X and Gen Y?   People in their 30′s and 40′s.  What are they looking for? What kind of financial planning and advice do they want and who do they want to work with?

And  how do I attract younger talent to my firm? How can I develop the next generation of great financial advisors?  I need to start thinking about a succession plan.

You will find answers to all of these questions in Investment New’s article about the Top 40 Under 40.

Meet the future of the financial advice industry.  The Investment News editorial staff presents a list of 40 outstanding young people taking the financial advice industry into the next era. Meet the future of advice, and get ready to be inspired by their unique stories.

Continue reading

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Are Women Risk Averse or Simply More Risk Aware

 

riskIt is a mantra we have heard so often we no longer question it….

Women are risk averse.

I do a lot of work with the financial industry, and this phrase comes up again and again.   But I want to rephrase it to be more accurate.

Women are risk aware.

And it has a lot to do with brain chemistry. Continue reading

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Gen Y Women and The Future

Gen Y WomanWho is Gen Y?  There are differing opinions on the exact dates, but a common timeline is those people born between 1977 and 1995.

There’s probably no generation that has been more stereotyped than Gen Y.    They’re entitled, they want instant gratification, they’re tech-savvy, they hop from job to job…..

I want to go past the stereotypes to see what’s really going on with Gen Y.   I am particularly interested in Gen Y women. Continue reading

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Barbara Walters’ Legacy

Why do we need to see women in leadership roles?   Why should it matter if a leader is male or female?   Shouldn’t we simply be inspired by the person and their accomplishments?   So what if that person is a man or a woman.

It does matter.   Here’s why.

It is very difficult to be something you don’t see.

We can all be inspired by great leaders. But there is a difference between being inspired by a leader and wanting to “be” a leader.

There is a phenomenon I speak of often.  I call it The “I want to be her” Effect.  And this is where Barbara Walters comes in.   She was a pioneer, creating so many “firsts” for women in the news business.  For the first time women who wanted to be involved in network news had someone about whom they could say, “I want to be her.”

What affect did that have?  What is Barbara Walters’ legacy?   This video tells the powerful story of the affect of, “I want to be her.”

(apologies for the annoying commercial at the beginning -wait it out, it’s worth it)

As Barbara Walters said, “This is my legacy.”    Congratulations to Barbara on a historic career.  Thank you for not just reporting on the world, but changing it.

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What I Learned at the Thrive Event with Arianna and Mika

Thrive Arianna Huffington Mika Brzezinski

After just attending the Thrive conference in NYC with Arianna Huffington and Mika Brzezinski, I walked away with many thoughts, but the main one was…..

If we could gather all the brilliant women on stage and in the audience, we could have the world’s problems fixed in, like, 3 days.

What was the purpose of Thrive?

Hosted by Arianna Huffington and Mika Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” the two-day event features conversations with influencers and luminaries on topics related to the four pillars of the Third Metric: Well-being, wisdom, wonder and giving.

It was a stellar line-up of amazing people sharing stories, ideas and practical tips on how to thrive in life.

Continue reading

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Women-Winning Sales Scripts

woman on cell phone at office

Has this ever happened to you?

I was in the middle of an important work project when the phone rang. I did not recognize the number, but it was a local number, so I answered it in case it was something important.

It wasn’t.

It was my insurance company calling to “offer” (aka try to get me to buy) their roadside assistance program.  The offer was for two months free.

Why so many sales scripts fail to convert women

Here’s what went wrong…. Continue reading

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How to Talk About Your Customer Service

Customer Service

How many times have you seen a company tout their customer service?

“Our outstanding customer service…..”

“We’re completely focused on providing the best customer service……”

“You can count on excellent customer service…..”

Blah, blah, blah, blah……

The promise of “excellent customer service” may sound good to companies, but it doesn’t mean much to the average consumer.   They’ve heard it all before.   And too many companies don’t fulfill their promise.

Case in point – The other day I heard my former cable service provider claim they had excellent customer service.

I laughed out loud.

Get specific about your customer service

Specifics are always stronger than generalities.  This is especially true if you are using a cliché like, “excellent customer service.” Continue reading

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How Credit Unions Can Connect with Women

how credit unions can connect with women

What do women care about, perhaps even more than money?  Health.

I recently read interesting research that says there is a direct link between finances and health.  It makes sense.   When you look at life holistically (as so many women do), you see how different areas of your life impact each other.

Credit unions looking to connect with women should pay big-time attention to this research.

You can read about the research and how it’s being applied in the Credit Union Magazine article – “Jumiya: There’s a Direct Link Between Health and Finances.”

Funded by 46 credit unions and five state credit union leagues, the study’s results show that when individuals are healthier, they’re less likely to slide
into delinquency, default, or bankruptcy.

A Florida-based credit union is putting into practice some insights from a recent discovery: Consumers’ health and finances are intimately linked.

“We have a lot of retirees in Florida, but we also have a very young, fit population as well,” says Joe Brancucci, CEO $1.6 billion asset GTE Financial Credit Union in Tampa, Fla. “In California, you have similar positives. People want to be fit and healthy, especially baby boomers. There’s a whole culture around it.”

I immediately thought, “Holy customer engagement opportunity Batman!” What a great way for financial companies to connect with women!   Women are all about health.  They are constantly looking for ways to improve the health of themselves and their families.

“Get Fit” Program

GTE’s Brancucci shared how his credit union is implementing the research into a successful program:

Keeping financial difficulties at bay is at the heart of GTE Financial’s “Get Fit” program. Members can use a smartphone app to track how much they walk every day, merging the results into their account online.

They can redeem “steps” for rewards, such as special coupons to local businesses or cash.

“In January and February, our members logged 78.7 million steps, or about 39,350 miles,” Brancucci says. “We’re also trying to attract a younger set of members with this. So far, they think it’s the coolest thing since sliced bread.”

As of March, GTE Financial was the nation’s only credit union that officially rolled out a customized version for its members with the help of Walkmore, a team of Silicon Valley technologists.

Now that’s exciting stuff.  (FYI, Walkmore is doing a lot of interesting work.  go check them out.)   Credit unions could use this to attract women AND Gen Y customers in their prime borrowing years.

Here’s a video promoting the program.

Why the video works

I think this is a persuasive video.   They use animation/illustration. They dramatize the problem.  The video is simple and memorable.    I like the use of a younger-sounding voiceover guy, instead of the usual deep voice professional announcer.  It makes the video much more relatable.

Using pets in advertising is a winning formula.  I love the use of the dog in the video and the focus on the benefits of walking your dog.

Missed opportunities to reach women and younger people

I do think there’s an opportunity to create another video aimed at women and young people.  Here’s how you could do that:

In this commercial, the credit union representative is an old grey-haired white guy in a suit.    I would love to seen them break through that stereotype here and show a younger person, or a female as the credit union representative.

Next, if you are going to show an overweight person, then shame them, you better NOT feature a woman.   I understand why they chose an overweight man.    (Though I’d be curious to see how the commercial tests with that audience).   But how could you make a woman the hero of the spot?

You could dramatize the benefit instead of the problem.  Talk about the person she wants to be.

Tap into the power of self-identity

Some of the strongest brands in the world know a secret – brand is all about self-identity.   Have you ever met an Apple fan who wasn’t proud to be an Apple fan?  Customers publically tout their affiliation with a brand because they want the world to know,”This is who I am.”

BMW – I am a person who drives the ultimate driving machine.

Whole Foods – I  am someone who believes in organic, healthy food and a sustainable environment.

Michelob Ultra – I am an active and fit person who likes to have fun and adventure, but I also care about my health.  I live the ultra life.

Watch this commercial to see what I  mean.

People watch this commercial and think – Yes, that’s me!

Look for non-stereotypical ways to include women in your credit union marketing

Again, the health tie-in with this campaign is awesome.  It’s a no-brainer for reaching women and sought after Gen Y customers.  I hope other credit unions will build on the success of this initial campaign and create even more innovative marketing materials.

P.S. If you do decide to target women and Geny Y, make sure you follow through with your website.   Right now the GTE Website “Get Fit” landing page features an older man.

GTE Get Fit landing page

If you want to reach out to women, make sure you have images of women as well as men.

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