Thrivent Financial created a new brand—Thrivent Student Resources—to reach new customers and help students plan, prepare, and pay for college. They needed to develop a fresh website that could reflect this new business identity and provide critical resources to students, college graduates, and their families.
Thrivent Financial is a mission-driven financial services company that encourages its members to “be wise with money.” Thrivent was aware of the massive debt burden that students often incur when making a college decision without the full knowledge of their loan and financial aid options. Thrivent created the Thrivent Student Resources (TSR) platform to help students better understand the real cost of higher education so that they could minimize - or avoid - student loan debt. The launch of this new brand was a major priority for Thrivent, and the organization wanted to build a new consumer-facing website in just under three months.
Thrivent’s goals for the initial phase of the TSR project were to:
- Provide a consumer-facing channel for the new brand
- Extend the Thrivent brand’s reach among Millennials and Gen-Z to drive new memberships
- Guide students to be wise with money as early as possible
- Create an engaging set of tools that help students make better decisions
At the start of the project, Highland’s Customer Experience team used human-centered design and lean startup methods to deepen our understanding of TSR’s audiences and clarify business goals.
We developed the site using Agile and Kanban methods, allowing designers and developers to rapidly adapt to new learnings about user needs. Our practice of collecting ongoing user feedback and testing site features before fully building them out saved TSR an estimated $35,000 in development costs.
Another critical component to cost and time savings was Thrivent’s use of the OutSystems low-code development platform, which served as the backbone of the site. Because Thrivent was already using OutSystems, the simplicity of a low-code development platform made it easier for marketers, developers, and designers to collaborate on content in order to meet their shared goal of delivering a robust website in a short timeframe.
The TSR website was launched before its anticipated deadline to a potential audience of 20 million students across the United States. In just three months, all planned and additional requested functionalities were built and implemented. Thrivent estimated that this project would have taken three times longer using a traditional development approach.
Only two weeks after the website launched, TSR had already reached over 65,000 page views and over 15,000 unique sessions, greatly exceeding team’s expectations.
Highland and Thrivent are continuing to work together on the next iteration of TSR website. We are currently in the process of building an impact dashboard that will help Thrivent quantitatively measure how much money students have saved on college costs by using TSR tools.
We wouldn’t be achieving our business goals without this site. This is the primary way we’re engaging with consumers and introduce them to our new brand. Everyone was very clear on what we set out to do. We worked with an incredibly high-caliber team. - Jill Cole, Chief Marketing Officer, Thrivent Education Finance Group