In a country where it is easy to obtain credit, it is not uncommon for people to become overly reliant on it, crippling their ability to set realistic financial goals for themselves. Keeping in mind that Bank Islam Brunei Darussalam (BIBD) is Brunei’s national bank, it was important that they can inspire the public to adopt sustainable saving habits regardless of background or income. We created the concept of the Wish Campaign to help BIBD reward those who show a sincere commitment to pursuing financial health and encourage people to make saving a lifelong habit. Since the campaign’s launch, the bank has received thousands of stories of hope and aspiration while seeing an 85 percent increase in the number of savings accounts opened.
Drawing a clear connection between financial discipline and goal fulfilment
We developed the Wish Campaign as a fresh way to promote a culture of saving in Brunei. Unlike the typical lucky draw, the idea of the campaign is to reward those who save with purpose by supporting them as they work towards their aspirations. Every B$500 deposit entitles a customer to submit one wish story, either electronically via the official Wish Campaign website (http://bibdwish.com) or manually at any BIBD branch. Because a minimum monthly average of B$2,000 in savings is needed for a wish to qualify, the campaign offers people a greater incentive to save consistently. The following criteria guides wish makers in composing their entries and serves as a specific framework for judging:
- Need for savings – to determine the wish maker’s current financial state and areas of life that need improvement
- Clarity on the role of savings – to assess the wish maker’s understanding of how savings can transform his or her current state in life
- Sustainability – to determine the wish maker’s long-term goals and his or her plans to achieve them
- Inclusiveness – to gauge the potential of the wish to create a positive impact beyond the wish maker’s personal needs
Monthly and quarterly awards are given to those whose stories merit the bank’s support. Awardees are also assigned a financial advisor to guide them in making the best use of their wish sponsorship and raise their chances of reaching their long-term goals. At the end of the campaign one deserving Bruneian will receive the grand award of B$1,000,000 to go toward his or her wish. Embrace a Wish, the second component of the initiative, gives better-off members of the community a platform to sponsor wishes that they deem worthy of support. This allows BIBD to encourage not only personal financial management but also the spirit of giving.
Integrated effort from launch event to online presence
Using the curved strokes from the bank’s logo, we formed the word “Wish” that was used in the campaign identity and it became the signature of all communication materials mentioning the campaign.
Prior to the launch of the year-long campaign, training workshops with branch managers and key staff ensured every customer-facing staff understood the purpose behind this activity and could be champions of the saving culture at the branches.
Launched at Manggis Mall and officiated by Minister of Development and BIBD chairman, Pehin Orang Kaya Hamzah Pahlawan Dato Seri Setia Hj Abdullah Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar, BIBD ambassadors were at the event to introduce and publicise the Wish Campaign.
The final Wish Awardee was selected by both the public and the panel of judges. With a campaign that collects social sentiments, the best way to administer the public was via social channels. Public voting was done via SMS with the content was published on YouTube and Facebook.
A campaign that resonated with the customers
Since the campaign’s launch in March 2009 more than 9,000 stories have been submitted by the Bruneian public. Near the end of the campaign in September 2009 BIBD has seen the number of new accounts increase by 85 percent and the amount of deposits grow by B$700,000 compared to the same period in 2008.
As the campaign progresses, the types of stories submitted show that more and more Bruneians are beginning to grasp the transformative role that savings can play in people’s lives. There has also been a growing number of people who wish not for themselves but for others, such as a teacher who wished to buy stationery for her students and a woman who wished to lighten her sister’s financial burdens. Hj Ismadey Bin Hj Hussin, who received the Wish Campaign’s first quarterly award worth B$100,000, prematurely became a breadwinner after his parents divorced in 1996. He has decided to put off starting his own family until he can afford to buy a safe, modest home for his mother and siblings. In his top-scoring entry that he originally wrote in Malay, Ismadey shared, “I currently rent the house we live in, working seven days a week and resting only on public holidays. Still I can’t afford a house. Realising that my family will be in greater difficulty should something serious happen to me, I began to save whenever I could. It made me feel more secure about our future needs.” His story illustrates how BIBD’s initiative has given ordinary Bruneians the support and encouragement they need, as they work toward a secure future.
“You [may] have a lot of wishes, but the only place for you to express it at this moment in time [as far as] I can tell is BIBD.” Omar Kamel-Jumat remarked, expressing his elation at being selected as one of the awardees for the month of July. “The campaign, I believe, will [encourage] more people to start saving at an early age. It’s for their own good,” Kamel-Jumat said. “The idea that you just wanted to [promote] a saving culture in Brunei, I thought that was really honourable, [even more so because you are] doing it in a way that benefits the bank and everyone else,” Melline Jaini, another monthly awardee, who assists her parents in paying her education loan by setting aside at least 10 percent of her monthly income. The success of the Wish Campaign can easily be translated in other markets, as everyone, no matter what culture or level of income, has goals and aspirations in life. Giving people a platform to have their wishes, both for themselves and for others, granted in a way that is closely linked with the importance of responsible saving habits.