Adrian Peter Tse
Sep 7, 2015

PrimeCredit is a 'buddy' to Hong Kong millennials

HONG KONG - Members of Hong Kong’s millennial generation don’t like talking to banks about their credit needs. Instead, they talk to their friends. In a financial marketing environment that is mostly serious and down-to-business, PrimeCredit positions itself as a “buddy” to the young generation.

A PrimeCredit TVC from 2013
A PrimeCredit TVC from 2013

Unlike most banks and credit institutions, PrimeCredit targets Hong Kong’s 25- to 30-year-olds in a very specific way.

The brand’s positioning is based on an insight that millennials firstly reach out to their friends and “buddies”, rather than financial institutions or even their families, when it comes to credit matters.

“Over the past few years, the fastest adopters of digital and online have been young people,” Emily Chow, head of marketing at PrimeCredit told Campaign Asia-Pacific. “And they need on to perform online transactions. It’s pretty straightforward.”

Chow said that the loan and credit industry has changed drastically in the last 10 years. While it was once sufficient to reach customers in the mail or with a phone call, the modern credit-card customer needs to know the “details and results and get instant approval for an online loan”.

This speed and convenience must come on top of genuine customer service, which includes banking staff with “good manners that can also offer professional advice”.

Chow at the Yahoo Emotive Brand Awards

“Information needs to be accessible in one place including consultation, payment and repayment details,” said Chow. “The young generations are looking for a one-stop shop.”

However, to appeal to millennials in the first place, PrimeCredit created a brand ambassador, the PrimeCredit “brothers”. These ultra-man-esque characters are positioned as like-hearted friends that can talk to millennials in a no-nonsense way.

“We’re finding that disbursing loans quickly isn’t enough,” said Chow. “We need to meet the deeper emotional needs of the millennial generation. And paradoxically, this also means not interacting with them on Facebook and other social media so directly.”

Although PrimeCredit runs advergames and campaigns on Facebook and other platforms to drive lead generation and acquisition, Chow said loans are a “sensitive matter” to millennials. And it ties back to the reason why people in this demographic reach out to their friends and buddies about credit matters in the first place.

"Young people usually share with their worries and stresses with their buddies instead of family, colleagues or financial institutions," said Chow. "On social media too, there's a lot conservativeness, which makes peoole hesitate to like PrimeCredit’s Facebook page in case their peers might think if they need a loan. It's a touchy issue."

This combination of being both “transparent and closed” is perhaps the most challenging part of marketing loans and credit cards to this generation. However, as with most branding efforts, time is needed for a positioning to sink in.  

“For our brand this journey started in 2006 when we had one PrimeCredit “brother” without a mask,” said Chow. “Then we did more research and that led us to the question of what young people look for when they search for online loans, which evolved our market and branding to what it is today.”


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