We sat down for a chat with Linda Bodie (Chief Innovator & CEO at Element Federal Credit Union (EFCU) based in Charleston, West Virginia) who told us about the launch of Element Edge, the EFCU-branded version of Larky’s mobile discount program.
How did you first learn about Larky’s mobile loyalty platform?
As a member of Filene’s Research Council, I get a first peek at the latest banking technologies through their Impact Pilot program. Larky joined the program last fall, and then I started seeing them at conferences and in industry publications.
Larky represents a path that I think all financial institutions should take—one of experimentation and engagement with your members to help you stay relevant as a financial services provider.
Is Larky’s platform replacing an existing reward program?
No, it’s not replacing a program. We are keeping our Rockin’ Rewards program, and we are adding Element Edge (Larky’s program) because we feel it provides our members with perks that are different from Rockin’ Rewards.
How are the programs different?
Rockin’ Rewards provides special incentives based upon a points system. The more products and services you use, the more rewards you get. We have 4 tiers, so most of our members are able to earn some sort of reward. Your points change each month, so if you add new products or stop using products, your total could move up or down and put you in a different tier. This is internal to our core system, so it’s very easy to manage. Members love it.
Why was EFCU interested in a mobile discount program like Larky?
First, let’s provide some context about where we are located - West Virginia is quite rural and “small town.” Most shopping apps don’t include discounts for local merchants in West Virginia. Usually these apps feature national and regional merchants, and that’s great, but our West Virginia local businesses need to be included as well.
Larky’s program gives us the opportunity to pick the merchants that we want included in the app. EFCU can feature our local merchants, both the ones that bank with us and the ones that our members frequent. We see Element Edge as a tool to build our community.
What are your top goals for the program?
First, we want to fill the app with lots and lots of merchants that are relevant to our members. We want to help the people in our community engage deeply with our local businesses. Then we want expand on what we learn from Element Edge. As we engage local merchants through this program, we expect to uncover new opportunities to strengthen our connections and stay relevant to our members.
Where did the name Element Edge come from?
We wanted our program’s name to reinforce our brand, so the first word is “Element.” Then we liked that we were giving our members an “edge” by providing money-saving perks, so the name Element Edge just seemed to sum the program up perfectly. Plus, we like the alliteration with both words starting with “E.”
How did you get buy-in from your staff? And how did you make sure they knew how to use the program?
First, I downloaded the app and tested it. With any product, I want to make sure I understand it before asking my team to learn it. Next, I asked our senior management team to use the product. Once they felt comfortable, then we asked the rest of our staff to use it. We gave them specific tasks to accomplish, so they would have key points of knowledge. I don’t expect everyone to be an expert in the use of Element Edge, but I want them to have a basic familiarity that makes them comfortable when our members ask questions.
What are you doing to launch Element Edge to your members and community?
In partnership with a local community development organization, we are hosting a press conference to announce the availability of Element Edge. Some of the participating merchants are part of the community development organization, so we will be giving them exposure as we present the app.
Then we will continue to spread the word about Element Edge through our regular channels like emails, videos, website, lobby signage, and in-person conversations. We think it will really hit home with our community.