From Tried-and-True to Cutting-Edge: The Envelope Challenge Goes Digital

The Envelope Challenge Goes Digital

This story previously appeared in Under30CEO.

There are many well-established ways to save money. From finding eclectic tricks to generate funds to extreme budgeting, people find plenty of paths to save up some cash. Often, these money management practices codify into formal “challenges.”

The 100-Day Envelope Challenge is one of these, and it is currently going viral on social apps like TikTok. Contestants challenge themselves to label envelopes from one to 100. Then they save cash every day that is equivalent to the number on the envelope, resulting in a nifty $5050 in a little over three months.

The problem with the 100-Day Envelope Challenge is its inherently complicated logistics. In the digital age, it’s hard to scrounge up 100 paper envelopes anymore, let alone five grand in small bills. That’s where the Envie App enters the equation.

How Envie Used Tech to Transform Tradition

The Envie App was developed by TeamWALT, the Innovative Division of Southern Bancorp. The entity functions as a creative fintech branch within the larger institution, and one of its flagship successes has been Envie.

Envie App digitizes the concept of the viral 100-Day Envelope Challenge. It links bank accounts and allows individuals to digitally set aside cash according to the challenge rules at the click of a button or swipe of a finger. No paper and no cash required.

The app also makes the savings experience more adaptable by allowing individuals to change how much they’re working toward saving. The ability to scale down from a target number of $5050 in three and a half months makes it easier to save for smaller goals. Yet, it still taps into the competitive nature of the challenge itself.

In addition, Envie has further gamified the savings experience. For example, the app introduced the “Goldie,” a golden envelope that enters the game board after a 30-day savings streak. When participants catch a Goldie, Envie pays for that day’s savings.

Transitioning From Tried-and-True to Cutting-Edge

Envie has benefitted both its users and its developer alike. It has done this by transitioning a tried-and-true activity of the past into a cutting-edge technological tool of the present.

The development of a digital, adaptable gamified version of the 100-Day Envelope Challenge made it more accessible for participants. At the same time, it provided an attractive piece of marketing collateral for TeamWALT’s parent company. It associated an otherwise traditional bank with a brightly colored mobile game designed that consistently generates positive emotions.

How Other Brands Can Emulate Envie

For others curious how they can reproduce TeamWALT’s success with Envie, you have to look past the surface. The obvious lesson here is that technology can take dated yet popular past trends and turn them into hyper-relevant, cutting-edge tools.

But you can’t stop at applying technology to a tradition and call it a day. You also need your innovation to have a clear benefit that is better than the original version (in Envie’s case, adaptability and accessibility).

You also need your cutting-edge iteration to resonate with consumers to such a high degree that they’re willing to share it with others. At the same time, it’s important to note that if you want to ride viral trends, you need to accept that, at certain points, the momentum will be out of your hands.

Grassroots marketing is a powerful way to generate interest. But, it includes the active (and unknown) participation of more than just your brand. It includes your audience, too. An engaged audience can promote a message quickly and efficiently. However, without intentional direction from its creator, a marketing message can go in unexpected directions.

Viral Appeal

Take the recent “Barbenheimer” phenomenon as an example. Christopher Nolan’s “Oppenheimer” and Greta Gerwig’s “Barbie” movies were released on the same day in July. The two films tackle diametrically opposite subjects. And yet, the natural competition of both movies inspired fans to develop the mash-up moniker for the dual experience. This led to photoshopped memes with Oppenheimer, Barbie, and even Ken cleverly layered into the same photos.

In the case of “Barbenheimer,” a lack of direction led to an unexpected result that doubtless elevated the success of both films. While it worked well, though, it was short-lived and had no clear purpose beyond consumer entertainment. It helped the movie studios as a one-off event, but there’s no obvious way to reproduce it.

The point here is that you can create a product that can have viral appeal, but if you want to follow a predictable and profitable path, you must infuse your innovation with a clear purpose. It needs to clearly line up with your target audience’s pain points and interests.

In contrast to the unfocused energy of Barbenheimer, Envie adapted a popular paper-based personal finance challenge into a gamified digital app that directly adds value to consumers. This provided accessibility for those unwilling to manage paper envelopes and physical cash. It also made the entire experience more relatable for thousands of digital natives who are more comfortable using fintech applications than paper envelopes.

In other words, it didn’t just get the word out about the 100-Day Envelope Challenge. It made it easier and more exciting to engage in the challenge itself.

Finding Innovative Success With Past Trends

If you want your brand to find throughlines to your audience similar to the way Envie capitalized on the traditional 100-Day Envelope Challenge, start with their interests and pain points. Then look for the trends and traditional solutions that currently meet them.

From there, use your brand’s strengths to develop solutions that meet these needs in deliberate, innovative, and better ways. If you can do that, you can take traditions that already work and turn them into exceptional products and services that offer your customers genuine value and elevate your brand at the same time.

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