The brand plan Household Capital is investing in to lift the reverse mortgage category

Chief marketing officer talks about the first integrated brand campaign and its relevance in the COVID-19 environment

Getting more Australians to access equity in their homes and lift the reverse mortgage category from a last resort to proactive retirement funding option has seen Household Capital launch its first brand campaign.

The organisation, which was established in March last year, recently completed series B funding, bringing total investment to $25 million. Off the back of this, Household Capital chief marketing officer, Mario Garrido, said it was time to bolster its proposition in market and not only build stronger brand awareness, but also educate consumers about the reverse mortgage category.

“This was the first opportunity we had to go to market, and in a lot of ways there was no better time to do so,” he told CMO.

As a result of the COVID-19 environment and economic impact, Garrido claimed many are crystallising losses in shares, pulling money out of super or seeing interest rates on savings diminish significantly.

“Our target audience is those over 60 who have equity in their homes. Because of COVID-19, people are panicking and making short-term decisions that will have a negative impact in the future. It’s never been a better time to think about all the options you have,” he said.  

Garrido noted some $1 trillion of wealth is locked up in home ownership, and Household Capital has big ambitions on the loans it wants to write in order to unlock these dollars as a retirement option.

The latest campaign, which debuted last week, was created in partnership with The Royals. It centres around a 30-second TVC, shot by Hooves director, John Pace, just before COVID-19 social restrictions hit. The message is about highlighting the wealth baby boomers have built up in their homes and recommending it as a way to improve their retirement funding by asking the question: What are you doing with your Household Capital?

“We firstly want to communicate that accessing home equity is a good idea for some people in good or bad times,” Garrido said. “Our goal is to shift thinking of reverse mortgages from last resort lending into a proactive retirement income return and outline your home as the third pillar of retirement.”

Household Capital is also looking to capitalise on its digital credentials to provide more personalised services to its target audience as well as highlight its commitment to ethical, responsible lending. The group boasts of ME bank as lending partner, which itself is owned by an industry super fund.

Garrido, who joined the team last September and previously headed up marketing at AustralianSuper, said Household Capital has been heavily relying on digital search. But with knowledge around reverse mortgages low, the opportunity pool was limited.

“We wanted to better articulate the brand strategy and promise,” he said of the decision to invest in TV advertising. “Our target audience is still a significant consumer of above-the-line media such as TV, radio and direct mail. We’re striving to become known as a brand and the category and there’s no better way than TV to do that.”

Alongside the TVC, Garrido said he’s also investing in radio advertising, working with Macquarie Radio to get its brand message out there. Other programs have seen Household Capital invest in Facebook advertising to bolster awareness and leads, and advertorial slots on TV as more longform, education-based activities.

While the latest campaign was created before COVID-19 hit, Household Capital is also looking to tackle the issue head-on via public relations, and by using radio slots to be more topical. The plan is to continue to layer the media approach, with trials of direct marketing slated for June. Once awareness and some advocacy is established, Garrido is also keen to invest in outdoor advertising.

“Our story can be neatly told on outdoor and we can customise messaging based on subsets of our target market,” he said.  

As to what’s informing the plan of attack, Garrido noted the extensive wealth management, financial services and superannuation experience on Household Capital’s board, a group that includes former minister, Nick Sherry, who led the government through the GFC.

Garrido also brought learnings from his own marketing days in superannuation and understanding of demographics and customer insights to the latest brand efforts.

“We know they can struggle with complex financial decision making and need to feel informed, educated and knowledgeable,” he commented.  

With all processing done digitally, Garrido said he’ll have access to comprehensive digital feedback loops to measure customer interactions all along the funnel and pivot campaigns and marketing activity accordingly.

Success for Household Capital in the short-term is adding to the growth trajectory and scale. Medium-term, Garrido has his sights set on pushing the category forward to becoming a proactive, smart and a strategic play “where people see value in the home and take pride in what they have achieved”.

“It’s about changing the outlook to make this category an ethical, proactive option for people,” he added.

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