“For some reason, people just love pineapples,” says Bolun Li in this episode of the CUES Podcast. As a result, pineapple emojis are the points in Zogo, the gamified smartphone app that Li co-launched in 2019 to better teach personal finance to members of Gen Z.
CEO of CUES Supplier member Zogo Finance, the sponsor of this show, Li says that pineapples tested extremely well during the app’s development.
“We tested so many different emojis for the points,” he explains. “We have no idea why people love pineapples, but they love pineapples. So, we’re like, we’re going to use pineapples” for the point system.
A 2019 graduate of Duke University, Li first learned about personal finance through a high school program that was delivered by a bank. He describes that offering as “boring” and “inadequate.”
In contrast, the app he and his co-founders (all members of Gen Z themselves) have launched aims to teach members of Gen Z about personal finance in a way they find fun. Zogo offers more than 300 bite-sized learning modules and awards pineapple points for module completion that can be redeemed for gift cards or deposits in accounts at partnering financial institutions—such as credit unions.
During the show, Li tells the story of his introduction to credit unions. Since then, Zogo has partnered with more than 75 CUs to help them attract Gen Zers—members CUs need to connect with now to ensure a bright tomorrow.
When users first log into Zogo, they are invited to put in a code from a financial institution. Once they enter a CU's code, the app becomes co-branded with the CU’s colors and logo. In addition, a CU has access to a dashboard of information about app users. Partnering CUs can also create custom learning modules about their product offerings, community commitment or whatever topics they wish.
This year Zogo is rolling out a unique approach to offering financial education in schools. It reaches out to students, not teachers, to be ambassadors for the app and the CU partner.
“These students will be going out there with the Zogo app and spreading the credit union’s name within their generation, their friends," he says. Young people are much more likely to use something “when it’s recommended by their friends than if it’s being enforced by their teachers. We want all the Gen Zers to think personal finance is very fun and their local credit union is very cool.”
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