SunTrust's financial wellbeing program hits 4 million people

The onUp Movement kicked off during the 2016 Super Bowl and has been growing ever since.

SunTrust launched The onUp Movement with an ad during the 2016 Super Bowl, but the commercial didn’t sell any services or direct viewers to the brand’s website. It’s objective was simply to help Americans become more financially confident.

And now with four million people across the country already having taken a step toward improving their financial wellbeing, it’s safe to say the company is achieving its goal - or as SunTrust CMO Susan Somersille Johnson put it: "We’re crushing it."

The company initially set out to reach five million people in five years, and at this rate, it will hit that number in less than four years, she said.

SunTrust counts the number of participants by those who have taken at least one action toward financial wellbeing and confidence, such as taking the brand’s mental wealth quiz, using its budget calculators or tapping into its financial toolkits.

So, where did the idea for The onUp Movement come from?

Somersille Johnson said it started when the company decided to take a look at itself and the financial confidence of its own employees six years ago, which is also when SunTrust "became a purpose-driven company."

At the time, only 39 percent of the company was financially confident - "and we’re a bank," said Somersille Johnson. More than 76 percent of the SunTrust team is now financially confident after the brand put a learning program together.

Due to the success of the program, the business launched a financial wellbeing service called "Momentum onUp" for companies in Atlanta to offer to employees - at no profit to SunTrust. More than 160 companies are taking advantage of the program, including Home Depot, Waffle House and Delta.

"Change is rippling through the business and marketing spheres alike. I’ve have the privilege of working with Susan, an innovator and visionary who is using her voice to change marketing structures that create a lasting impact," said Scott Goodson, CEO of movement making company StrawberryFrog, which is a partner agency of SunTrust.

This year, SunTrust found out through its research that financial confidence leads to life confidence, said Somersille Johnson. The company is partnering with behavioral economics specialists on advanced research around how to turn financial wellbeing actions into healthy habits, like getting people to automatically transfer money to savings.

Earlier this month at the Super Bowl in Atlanta - SunTrust’s hometown - the company wanted to connect with the 1.5 million expected to come into the city that weekend, by offering a memorable experience and some money tips. The brand co-sponsored the Confidence Classic the day before the big game, which included celebrity flag football, and it talked about financial confidence.

"If you do the right thing, the good thing, it increases revenue and brand consideration. It’s not only good for our clients, but for our shareholders," said Somersille Johnson. "Purpose is a powerful differentiator for us." 

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