By COLLINS NWEZE
Wema Bank Nigeria Plc is taking banking to the youths, especially the millennials through Alat, the fully digital bank it launched last year. Alat is widely accepted locally and internationally and has opened a new chapter in digital banking.
The bank is deploying its digital banking platform, Alat, to attract more youths into its customer base. This is through using the social media platform. Alat, Nigeria’s first fully digital bank, is a branchless, paperless bank, which provides financial services through its Android, iOS and web applications.
It was designed in response to the growing needs of Nigerians for a financial institution, which understands their needs, responds quickly to them and helps them save money.
Besides, many banks can no longer ignore the power of social media. Lenders with eye in the future always think of digital means of meeting the banking needs of the youths, also called the millennials.
One of the banks making inroads into the youthful population is Wema Bank Plc. The lender’s Alat, a digital bank has caught the fancy of many millennials. The millennials – the generation born between 1980 and 2000 are unlike previous generations in so many ways.
They are highly opinionated, educated and are digitally native. They have a reputation for being tech-savvy, collaborative, optimistic, achievement-oriented and socially conscious. Brands that are keen on reaching them must go to places where they can meet them.
For instance, Alat engaged the services of Maraji, a social media sensation, to promote its virtual dollar card. A single post by the female comedian was viewed by over 200,000 people on Instagram alone and that re-empahsises the power of social media today.
Wema Bank’s Head, Brand and Marketing Communications, Funmilayo Falola, said social media has also served as a boost in major conferences. For instance, discussions that happen in conferences like Handle It Africa, reinforces the importance of social media and ends with fresh ideas that can help individuals and businesses further exploit the opportunities presented by the different available social media platforms.
“Alat is not just a bank, it’s a lifestyle. It is a bank created to help customers achieve their personal and financial goals, in line with Wema Bank’s vision to be the financial institution of choice in service delivery and superior returns,” she said.
She said the bank has over the last one year, raised its use of social media to engage its customers and has continued to roll out digital banking solutions tailored to people’s needs. Alat has, over the last one year, won eight awards, both locally and internationally.
Falola reiterated the importance of social media to brands. “If 75 per cent of the global workforce in the next seven years are millennials and millennials spend more than six hours on social media every week, any brand that is serious about the future needs to be on social media,” she said.
She continued:“That said, brands need to be strategic about the platforms they use. You do not need to be on all social media platforms as a brand. Look for the platforms unique to your target audience and come up with an effective strategy that will ensure you achieve your set objectives.”
The need to bring in the Millennials into any lender’s customer base is reinforced by statistics that showed that by 2025, Millennials will make up 75 per cent of the global workforce. As their population grows, so is their influence. Award-winning author Jeremy K. Balkin called this the “Millennialisation of Everything.”
Financial analysts said social media have started transforming banking relationships in very significant ways. Customers have relied on popular social media platforms to easily reach out to banks in a bid to seek quicker resolution to their complaints.
“Banks have also used these platforms to improve customer service by prompt response to queries and provision of useful information to customers. This trend is expected to continue, as we are beginning to see Financial Technology (FinTech) use social media data to help people get access to credit.
“There is even a school of thought with the belief that social media platforms may be the banks of the future. No matter what you think of the possibilities social media bring, one thing is certain, any brand that wants to remain relevant in the future must take social media seriously,”she said.
For instance, Femi Oguntamu of Penzaarville, a Lagos-based digital marketing startup debuted Handle It Africa, a social media conference themed: Social Media: Language of Expression. The conference was made possible by the support of organisations like Wema Bank.
The bank, which launched Alat, Africa’s first fully digital bank in 2017, is supporting Handle It Africa this year, in line with its passion for supporting small businesses, which implement innovative ideas for growth.
This year’s theme: Social Media: Expanding Influence, Broadening Thoughts, will deepen discussion on the influence of social media.
In this view, many brands have become very active on social media, where millennials spend at least six hours per week.
In 2017, 71 per cent of internet users were social network users and these figures are expected to grow. These statistics show where every brand that wants to remain relevant in future needs to be.
The growing influence of social media in brand enhancement and marketability of products have encouraged brands to increasingly engage the services of viral-ready comedians, who offer attractive instant visibility, extending over 150,000 viewers, given their huge following online.
Source: The Nation
By COLLINS NWEZE