Superannuation has been splashed across Australian headlines of late with our politicians floating the idea of allowing people to dip into their superannuation funds to buy their first home.

The debate has brought superannuation to the forefront of Australians’ minds.

I can confirm quite confidently that superannuation is indeed no conversation starter. This is a difficult truth for firms, making it hard for them to capitalise on their most potent marketing force – their own customers. But in saying that, customer recommendation still plays a vital role. Doubtful? Engaged Strategy’s 2014/15 Superannuation Consumer Recommendation & Loyalty Study shows us that 23% of Australian superannuation customers chose their super provider based primarily on a referral. Yes… 23%.

This means that superannuation providers have got to kick-start the conversation. It’s just not feasible to wait around for politicians or the media to make super a talking point. It’s time firms take a more direct approach, and gently steer the conversation and their customers, potential and current, in the direction they choose.

The younger demographic is notoriously disengaged from their superannuation providers. When they think of super, they think of retirement and so they push the issue back into the dark recesses of their mind to gather dust. But the products and services offered by superannuation providers are not merely for your retirement – in fact, a number of their services can be used today! Right now! Super providers must highlight the benefits for the here and now to bring superannuation back into the spotlight.

Whether super providers sneak their foot in the door through other products (such as income protection or death insurance) or pour greater efforts into educating their younger customers, people must perceive value in what they receive in the present before committing to that brand for the future. Think about it; you’d never consider marrying someone you had a terrible first date with! So to customers don’t want to enter into this long-term relationship unless they have their great first date.

Although almost one-quarter of Australians choose their super fund based on a recommendation from others, approximately half of superannuation customers will not continue to contribute to their current fund if they were to change jobs. This is a depressing prospect for super providers but this cloud has a silver lining! It presents a great opportunity for those ambitious brands who can engage their younger customers to secure their loyalty for the long-haul.

If you were one of these super brands, how would you begin the conversation?