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ING U.S. launches mobile game to drive financial awareness

The Struct mobile game

Financial institution ING U.S. is helping educate consumers about their financial know-how with a branded mobile game.

ING U.S. decided to roll out the application as a way to connect with mobile gamers, which are a top app category. The Struct app is available for free download in Apple’s App Store.

“We know Americans need to do more when it comes to preparing for retirement yet industry data suggests there are more people in the United States who meet the definition of active gamers than those who save for retirement – 141 million gamers versus 61 million savers,” said Jillian Verspyck, director of marketing communications at ING U.S., Windsor, CT.

“Research also shows that game apps, followed by weather and social networking, are the most downloaded items by smartphone owners of all age, and iPhone users are playing games an average of 14.7 hours a month,” she said.

“If we can get an individual to spend five, ten or even 15 minutes playing a game that builds their understanding of basic investment concepts, then we’ve been successful. If we can get individuals to come back and play again and transfer that understanding to how they look at their real-life saving strategy, that’s just icing on the cake.”

Financial know-how
Consumers who download the ING U.S. app can choose to play from three different characters – Tiny, Clay or Mo. Each character can then play games that incorporate financial terms.

For instance, in one game users place blocks on top of each other to build a structure that must be balanced, similar to Tetris.

In order to succeed, consumers must use a combination of materials to build a game strategy around, which the brand is using to mimic the risks and rewards associated with saving and investing.

Additionally, the game features a glossary of investment-related keywords that consumers can scroll through to learn about financial terms.

The goal behind the app is to educate consumers on investing and retirement to likely turn players into ING U.S. clients.

By incorporating rewards and levels, the game gives consumers an incentive to come back on a regular basis, which helps drive in brand awareness and repeat usage of the app.

Game on mobile
This is not the first time that ING has used mobile as an engagement tactic.

Last year, ING Canada subsidiary ING Direct Canada rolled out an ad campaign to bolster the company’s social media presence.

Additionally, the ad campaign gave users the chance to vie for daily prizes (see story).

With consumers swapping out their desktops in favor of their handsets to manage everyday items such as their investments, using mobile is a key way that more companies are using to target consumers.

“We’re working on responsive Web site design to allow for alternate versions of our Web sites based on an individual’s mobile device,” Ms. Verspyck said.

“We’re also putting a greater emphasis on tablet-based design and tablet and phone apps,” she said. “This development focuses on either including account management, helpful calculators or retirement education content for consumers.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York