'You can get it if you really want': exploring the slow-burning innovation mission of ASB's Clever Kash

'You can get it if you really want': exploring the slow-burning innovation mission of ASB's Clever Kash

It's been over a year since ASB and Saatchi & Saatchi introduced ‘Clever Kash’ to the world, but only this week has the digital money box become available to customers. So what's taken so long? We talk to ASB general manager marketing Shane Evans and Saatchi & Saatchi executive director Corey Chalmers about the development process and the response so far. 

In September last year, ASB and Saatchi & Saatchi introduced customers to Clever Kash, a free digital money box designed to teach kids about the real value of money in a cashless society. That announcement came in the form of a two-and-a-half-minute video, which played a part in encouraging over 53,000 eligible customers to register their interest in the free product. It's also seen the innovation behind the initiative recognised with numerous awards, including a Grand Axis, a WebbyCannes Lions and DA&D Pencils.

Despite the accolades, the digital money box has only become available this week, with a video set to Jimmy Cliff's You Can Get It If You really Want, putting to bed the constant stream of doubt—sometimes expressed in the StopPress comments section—about Clever Kash ever coming to fruition.  

One StopPress commenter even went so far as to call it a “scam” in a previous story about the campaign, putting it alongside Brewtroleum, VW Speed Dial and the McWhopper, which all promoted products of limited availability.

However, Evans says the introduction of 'Clever Kash' in September 2015 wasn’t a campaign, but rather the launch of a prototype, with the objective of gauging whether or not customers wanted the bank to invest in it.

“We set a goal of getting 10,000 registrations in the first three months and we got that in the first three days, so we understood really quickly that it was something our customers wanted us to continue with.”

For Evans, this feedback was more important than any criticism it faced for not fronting up with a product sooner, and he says it focused on the customers and maintained a constant dialogue with them throughout the product's development. He says the goal was always to release it in the second half of this year as it wanted to make sure that what was going into the market was as good as it could be (when Idealog spoke with 1Above's Stephen Smith recently, he pointed out that the issues Samsung faced after deciding to rush out a new Galaxy Note might have been avoided if had been a bit more patient and waited until it was ready). 

“We’ve been quite transparent about where we are at at each stage of the journey, so I think the pressure for us is more from the project and to make sure we produce a great product,” he says.

Chalmers agrees, saying the only pressure Saatchi & Saatchi felt was making sure the product was up to customer standards.

'Clever Kash' was conceptualised two years ago in a collaboration with ASB’s Technology & Innovation Labs, the Saatchi & Saatchi innovation team, Assembly, 4Design and Kamahi Electronics and is being manufactured in China through The Warehouse Group Wholesale.

At the time of the September 2015 introduction, it had fully functioning prototypes ready to go, and an initial run of units was used for testing. Over 250 ASB customers and their children have since had the opportunity to test it and give feedback.

While Evans says the final product is largely the same as the prototypes, the testing saw the size of the trunk altered as it was found to be too long, and the speakers changed as they were too quiet (there were also discussions about whether it should be free or paid-for, but in an earlier release, CEO Barbara Chapman said the bank's focus on financial literacy meant it made sense to keep it free).

However, it wasn’t just about improving the money box itself. Evans says the testing provided an opportunity to find out what parents and children wanted from 'Clever Kash', and one of those things was having something to work towards.

As a result, it developed savings goals which have been hinted to in the latest video, with children looking at a Clever Kash chore chart. Those additions are available online in a Clever Kash section of the ASB website.

As well as existing ASB customers, 'Clever Kash' has generated interest from customers looking to join the bank. Of those who have already registered for it, a few thousand now have a 'Clever Cash', with the goal being to have one with all kids in the course of this month. Evans says to help with demand, a second order is underway to keep up.

'Clever Kash' is available to ASB customers who have registered on the mobile app. Your children must have an ASB Head Start Account.

This story originally appeared on stoppress.co.nz