March 2015 Trends & Highlights: Apple Watch, Retirement and Basketball

by on Apr 08, 2015


  • Firms Announce Upcoming Apple Watch Apps – Both Citibank and Fidelity announced that they will be releasing apps for the upcoming Apple Watch. The Citi Mobile Lite app will allow clients to view summary information and balances for checking accounts, savings accounts and credit cards. Fidelity’s launch day app, known as Fidelity Mobile for Apple Watch, will allow customers to view market information, access stock quotes and receive trading alerts in real time. The app will sync with the firm’s existing iPhone app, affording further research and trade capabilities. Both apps are scheduled to go live on the day Apple Watch launches – April 24, 2015.
  • Retirement Under the Spotlight – Five firms across our Monitor groups released new or updated tools and services related to retirement planning in March. Fidelity introduced a retirement program – IRA Match – that incentivizes clients to save more for retirement by making a matching contribution to clients’ IRAs of up to 10% of their annual contribution for three years. The program is available to new and existing clients who transfer or open an IRA, with contributions tiered based on holdings. Franklin Templeton unveiled a new retirement-focused page that features a variety of retirement-focused content, such as planning and portfolio construction. Merrill Edge redesigned its Personal Retirement Calculator to feature more captivating imagery, while ShareBuilder simplified its RetireMyWay planning tool to now only consist of a two-step personal data entry and investment style selection process. Finally, USAA released a new planning tool – How Much Will You Need to Retire? – which compares users’ current projected retirement savings against their retirement needs, and offers a checklist of suggestions, such as making a budget and saving for emergencies.
  • Scoring March Madness Marketing – In early March, three firms launched marketing initiatives to coincide with the NCAA basketball tournament. Farmers introduced a Bracket Challenge sweepstakes on Facebook that features two brackets chosen by NASCAR driver Kasey Kahne and professional golfer Rickie Fowler. The firm prompts participants to choose the bracket of the athlete that they believe will perform better, and winners are eligible for five prizes, including a $100 gift card and a hat signed by both celebrities. Farmers also put a small charitable twist on the contest, as they will donate $5,000 to the winning athlete’s foundation. RBC also put a creative spin on the “bracket,” by creating a 2015 tuition bracket that cleverly illustrates the cost of a four-year education at each of the schools in the NCAA tournament. A corresponding article – Tuitions Madness: What It Costs to Make the Finals – compares the struggles inherent in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship Tournament to the increasingly high costs of higher education and serves as a reminder to parents to start saving for their children’s college fees. Finally, Northwestern Mutual highlighted its sponsorship of the First Four, Round 1 of the 2015 NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship through a Newsroom article and an image on the public homepage of the tournament trophy.


Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Launched

The much-anticipated release of Schwab Intelligent Portfolios occurred in March, after being officially announced in Q4 of 2014. (See the Schwab Enters the Robo-Advisor Fight blog post for background information). There is a lot of hype surrounding the launch of this new service, as evidenced by the many advertisements associated with it. An Intelligent Portfolios exhibit next door to Corporate Insight in Grand Central’s Vanderbilt Hall was especially elaborate, as it not only featured a robot handling coffee cups, complimentary coffee from Nespresso was available to all (though unfortunately, the robot’s talents did not include making the coffee itself).


Schwab Intelligent Portfolios Microsite Homepage

John Hancock Remembers and Celebrates the Boston Marathon

John Hancock celebrated its thirtieth year of sponsoring the Boston Marathon by releasing a Boston Marathon Digital Time Capsule page that features photos, videos and stories submitted by visitors on social media using the hashtag #WeRunTogether, or directly on the page itself. For every submission received, John Hancock will donate $1 (with a maximum donation of up to $26,200) to the Boys & Girls Club of Boston. Two additional pages – There’s Only One Boston and Thirty Stories Thirty Days – discuss the history of the sponsorship and feature personal stories from 30 people involved in various ways with the Marathon, respectively.


Boston Marathon Digital Time Capsule Page (Truncated) – John Hancock Public Site

Citibank Unveils New Product Recommendation Tool

Citibank’s new tool recommends checking and card products to users based on their lifestyles and personal habits. Housed on a new What’s Your Lifestyle? microsite, the tool invites users to select their favorite activities and values from pre-selected dropdown menus. On the results page, users receive one of five profiles with recommended products and benefits, such as a Citigold account and rewards programs. Users can also email and share their profile results on social media.


Citibank Lifestyle Quiz Microsite