Thought Leaders Key to Revamp Teen Brand

Launched in 2008 as Virtual Piggy (VPIG), Oink quickly realized that it needed to rebrand in order to increase its appeal among the hip, young Generations Y and Z that its product was created for, as well as their parents or the “buyers.” The revamp needed to differentiate the brand from competitors in what is an increasingly congested market and maintain a trusted reputation.

“The name of our company, Oink, is very distinctive but most people are not aware of us,” says Dr. Jo Webber, CEO and founder of Oink. “Forbes described us as a ‘PayPal for Kids’, but we were challenged with finding a cost-effective way to promote our brand to consumers. Attracted by their results-driven and action-oriented approach, we hired PMBC to gain market awareness of the Oink card and the Oink app.”

In February 2015, Oink hired PR agency PMBC to revamp the brand to reach Millennials as well as members of Generation Z; together, not only are they defining the new “cool” but also make up 26 percent of the U.S. population and have roughly $44 billion in spending power. However, with this group’s young age comes various limitations for companies operating in highly regulated sectors such as mobile payments.

PMBC and Oink developed a PR campaign with the following goals:

· Bring a company established in 2008 back into top trending, national news stories

· Revamp the brand to align with the Gen Y and Z markets

· Build brand awareness among the business, tech and consumer media verticals

· Generate positive stories about financial literacy

· Feature CEO and founder Dr. Jo Webber as a though leader in the industry

· Promote financial literacy, financial management and the use of digital wallets and mobile payments

THE STRATEGY/EXECUTION

PMBC Group launched a three-pronged campaign across business, technology and consumer media in order to boost the media exposure for Oink’s CEO and founder, Dr. Jo Webber, in national media outlets, such as USA Today and MarketWatch. Focusing on media relations, PMBC placed Oink in stories primarily covering financial literacy, personal finance, financial apps, mobile payments and digital wallets. Reuters analyzed what plastic is right for your teen to become financially savvy and Mainstreet.com covered the best ways to manage college debt and avoid debt, both being tremendous financial hurdles for this newly financially independent demographic.

For business publications, PMBC focused primarily on offering Dr. Jo Weber as an expert resource, and used statistics from leading industry organizations about Millennials’ frequent use of digital wallets. The effort was to demonstrate how Oink could help build teens’ consumer confidence.

Indeed, many mobile payments are gaining adoption but missing this vital market. Oink understood that teens need personal experience in order to build their understanding of money and avoid bad financial decisions.

“We approached PMBC to raise awareness of the new Oink Card as well as the Oink app. PMBC used a thought-leadership strategy, finding a place for Oink in top trending news as well as leveraging our business partners and board of advisors to garner coverage,” said Joanne Wong, VP of marketing at Oink. “This approach resulted in an average 14 percent increase in traffic to Oink.com after we started working” with the agency.

PMBC was also able to leverage some of Oink’s biggest partnerships via its Board of Advisors, including Grammy award-winning record producer Rodney ‘Darkchild’ Jerkins and leadership speaker and entrepreneur Stedman Graham. Working with teen icons and underprivileged teens, respectively, they have helped introduce Oink into the market.

PMBC promoted the news of Jerkins and Oink providing exclusive offers to Oink users who are fans of the up-and-coming R&B group History in the Making and pop artist SAARA. FOX Business TV was just one of the top-tier outlets interested in Jerkins’ work with these teen sensations to promote financial literacy through Oink.

In their music videos, demonstrating how these teen icons use the Oink card in conjunction with the Oink app provided a positive example for teen viewers. Graham, who works to improve the quality of life for African-American youth, introduced a pilot financial literacy program in the Bay Area for young students. Appealing to African American and local Bay Area outlets, Oink received coverage for providing these young adults with real-world financial skills.

On the consumer front, PMBC worked with Oink to craft tips for teaching teens about smart investing, preparing taxes and building a post-college financial plan.

What is more, the PR team publicized strategic partnerships with well-known retailers and game publishers that offer loyalty programs, discounts and exclusive offers to Oink users. Currently available on the app are offers such as up to 40% off at the Nordstrom half-yearly sale, BOGO 50% off tops, shorts and swim at Pacsun and 10% off all college items at Target.

Oink attended the 2015 Game Developer’s Conference, where PMBC secured various booth meetings and interviews with consumer and tech press.

However, the main appeal for technology media was how Oink helps to solve the massive problem of family fraud. Apple Pay, arguably the largest company in the mobile payment space, is unable to directly reach Gen Y and Gen Z due to age restrictions.

Generating headlines: how young people find ways around the regulations by making purchases with their parents’ credit cards in the App Store, on Facebook and across other popular online sites. Oink’s technology, which is designed to solve this problem, drew ample media attention by being the first and only brand to be COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule) compliant, FTC approved and abide by international kids’ privacy laws.

THE RESULTS

The results from the first three months of the PR campaign generated 20 placements in such national media outlets as CNBC, CNET, FOX Business, MarketWatch and USA Today.

In addition, regional coverage included FOX 40 New York, NBC 24 Toledo and The Beach Reporter in Hermosa Beach, Calif. FOX 40’s piece covered “The Cyber Twist on Centuries-Old Piggy Bank,” while the NBC 24 Toledo segment discussed how to teach kids to save money.

The various media placements helped Oink create new partnerships with the gaming companies Crossfire and Playerize, as well as have the Oink Card win Best in Category in the Head of the Class category of the 2015 Paybefore Awards. For nine years, Paybefore Awards has conferred the most prestigious recognition of excellence in the worldwide prepaid, mobile and emerging payments industry.

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