How consumer friendly can a credit card campaign be? Daily consumers are "blitzed and belted" with card ads that promise to enhance our lives. A new eye-opening campaign aptly named Brighter Campaign offers a refreshing approach. As a long time consumer advocate for responsible debt management, I had never seen such an ad and was impressed by its fresh message when I first viewed it.
Instead of “charge, spend, and charge some more”, Discover’s new campaign promotes responsible, sensible use of credit. This new approach is so distinctive that it had even this very conservative reporter thinking, “Gee, maybe I should consider a Discover Card!”
But even if you have no interest in getting a card, I think every consumer should view this ad at least once to realize that at least one company is taking a proactive approach to assisting consumers.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Discover Card’s Larisa Drake, VP of Brand Communications, concerning their new “Brighter Campaign”. Following is some Q&A; related to my interview:
Mike: “This new ‘Brighter’ campaign appears to be a reversal of traditional credit card marketing strategies. Where did the concept develop from and is Discover planning on continuing this path?”
Larisa: “The ’Brighter’ concept stems from our company mission to help people spend smarter, manage debt better and save more so they achieve a brighter financial future. "Brighter" is at the core of everything we do, from the development of our innovative products to the services and features we provide to help card members reach their financial goals.
This concept is especially timely right now, given the financial pressures that consumers are feeling in these challenging economic times, and we intend to continue providing consumers the tools and resources they need to have a brighter financial future.”
Mike: “Discover seems to pride itself on innovative strategies. Can you elaborate on some of Discover's other innovations?”
Larisa: “As the pioneer of cash rewards and 24/7 customer service, Discover is a company that thrives on innovation. Two of our more recent examples include the Discover Motiva Card, which rewards cardmembers for good credit management, and the Paydown Planner, a tool that helps guide cardmembers’ spending and payments by calculating the period of time it may take to pay down a balance. These are both prime examples of how Discover delivers on the “Brighter” commitment.
Mike: “Is there any concern that the "brighter" campaign could result in less profit by advocating responsible card management?”
Larisa: “No. We want consumers to know that we have listened to them and what they want from a credit card. Discover Card offers them innovative products and services to help them achieve their financial goals and achieve a brighter financial future. Hopefully, by knowing that we are on their side, consumers will be further engaged with Discover Card and continue to keep it top of mind and top of wallet.”
Mike: “Do you sense that cardholders feel that Discover is sincerely interested in helping them?”
Larisa: “Consumers consider it unexpected that a credit card company acknowledges the fact that consumers face a balancing act between spending and saving, and actually provides products and services that help them manage it –- whether it’s helping them get the most from the money they spend, making a plan to pay down their balance or budgeting for a future purchase. We offer so many tools and features to help consumers with financial management.
For example, Discover Card members have the ability to earn unlimited rewards on all purchases, and then redeem the Cashback Bonus as a credit to help pay down their balance. The Discover Motiva Card was the first credit card to reward card members not just for their spend, but also for paying their minimum balance on time. The budget planners we developed are customized with card members' unique account information, making it easy for them to calculate what it will take to pay down their balance or make a big purchase. It's counter-intuitive programs, tools and features like these that help demonstrate to consumers that we're on their side.”
Mike: “Would you like to add any additional comments?”
Larisa: “I'd like to reiterate that Discover Card understands the financial pressures people are under, and the balancing act consumers face when it comes to spending versus saving. We are committed to helping consumers spend smarter, manage debt better and save more, and offer the tools and services that allow our card members to make financial progress and in turn, achieve a better quality of life.”
I appreciate Larisa's insights and am encouraged to hear some positive news about the card industry for a change! Please share your comments regarding the card industry on our active credit forum.