This weekend I am taking a small deviation from my regular commentary on the financial woes of a 20-something to talk about an important project in the works: SlashDeclare.
Last week I had the pleasure of attending a press conference where three financial industry innovators met to discuss the changes needed on Wall Street. They also announced the launch of a new project called the SlashDeclare Initiative.
What is SlashDeclare?
Companies are signing on to the SlashDeclare Initiative, vowing to bring transparency and accessibility to the financial industry.
SlashDeclare is almost like a promise to the customer, each company may have a different definition of consumer rights, but the end goal is to improve the finances of the American consumer.
5 Crucial Steps: To Start A Movement
There are some crucial things needed for a movement to begin. Honestly, I think SlashDeclare has a ton of potential to be a game changer for the financial industry. Here are some important aspects for a movement to succeed and whether or not SlashDeclare meets them:
Unhappy People: Rarely is “Unhappy People” a good thing for a cause, but when it comes to movements it greatly helps when a large portion of people are looking for a change. Luckily for the SlashDeclare Initiative, there couldn’t be a better time with the Occupy Wall Street protests gaining momentum as more dissatisfied Americans look for changes within the industry. Does SlashDeclare meet this: YES.
Leader: Every movement needs that first voice, someone who stands up against the masses and says “this is how it should be”. PerkStreet Financial is that leader by coming up with the concept of SlashDeclare. But movements need more than just a leader, they need followers as well. In fact, some say that the first few followers are the most important. Does SlashDeclare meet this: YES.
Followers: Before the SlashDeclare Initiative was even put into motion, Betterment.com and BillGuard were on board. A movement that has a few followers makes other people more likely to join. It also has to be a an easy to follow movement.
Movements that have complicated ideas of what needs to be done, may have a more difficult time garnering support. This concept was proven true right at the launch of SlashDeclare, the list of participants has grown to 10 companies. Does SlashDeclare meet this: YES.
Unified Message: Not only should a movement be easy to follow, but there should be a unified and easily understandable message. A strong message is crucial for a cause to continue gaining steam.
I think the SlashDeclare Initiative is still finding it’s voice. It asks for transparency and to hold financial institutions accountable, but also invites different properties to write their own customer rights — which may muddle the overall message. The problem is not all of the companies joining have the same services, making it difficult have one blanket bill of rights.
To me it sounds like SlashDeclare is asking companies to come up with mission statements to stick to, which strong brands should already be making. Does SlashDeclare meet this: Sort Of.
Get the Word Out There: With today’s technology it is really easy for a movement to garner speed in a short amount of time. Just look at the OWS protests; through Facebook, Twitter and media coverage they were able to grow across the nation.
Since SlashDeclare is still in its infancy, it is too early to tell whether they will have mass appeal. It is my guess that they have an upper hand in the social media field since they are all online companies. So far they have done a good job of tweeting, designing landing pages and utilizing their connections to make people aware. Does SlashDeclare meet this: Sort Of.
Will It Turn Into A Movement?
I have high hopes for the SlashDeclare initiative. I do think that at some point down the line, they will have to address how to make sure the companies that are part of SlashDeclare are being held to the standards they promise. Does the government need to get involved in order to bring some validity to the cause?
Much like the FDIC is an indicator of security, the SlashDeclare page on a company’s site will indicate a promise for transparent and honest practices. If it meets and exceeds the above requirements with a way of regulating those who join I definitely think this can turn into the next industry standard.
Before I go, here is one of my favorite videos I have ever seen on YouTube, about how one man started a movement: