A Picture in Your Mind’s Eye: How LMI Individuals See Money and Savings

A Picture in Your Mind’s Eye: How LMI Individuals See Money and Savings

We began the process of applying the ZMET research within the financial services industry, starting with credit unions. Over the summer and fall of 2007, we completed a review of credit union imagery and messaging related to savings account promotions. Our final sample includes 107 images from 22 credit unions. Many of these 22 credit unions are part of the Filene Research Council. We presented the findings from the research and the review of the credit union industry to the Filene Research Council in October 2007.

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Key Takeaway

The ZMET tool can deepen our understanding of how to increase saving activity among financially vulnerable households.

Key Learnings

  • An opportunity exists in the credit union industry to expand the use of metaphors in marketing imagery and messaging.

  • Credit unions have an opportunity to explore both positive and negative metaphors as a way to reach financially vulnerable families.

  • ZMET studies can inform product designs, suggest ways to position or reframe products, reveal themes and imagery for marketing campaigns, and generate raw consumer feedback from which to develop new business strategies.

Key Findings

  • Researchers have identified more than 15 core metaphoric categories that evoke emotion across cultures. Credit unions imagery and messaging largely concentrate on two basic concepts: utilitarian and aspirations/attainment.

  • Evoking emotion in marketing material is crucial to engaging current and potential credit union members yet many of the metaphors used by credit unions evoke limited emotional responses.


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