The Credit Union Difference: More Showing, Less Telling

Originally published on CUinsight.com.

In this digital age, sometimes we forget about plain old traditional marketing. We’re too busy investigating the “did not exist 10 years ago” marketing like sponsored posts, AdWords, and in-app advertising. We write catchy social media posts and produce funny videos in hopes of going viral.

But what about the old school community event? It’s a great way to get face time with your community, and show potential members why they should consider a credit union. There is another benefit too. It’s a way to put the credit union philosophy of “people helping people” into action for your credit union’s staff.

Show the difference.
A few years ago, the Kansas Credit Union Association asked a group of our member credit unions to brainstorm ways to illustrate the “people helping people” philosophy. We decided a statewide event involving multiple credit unions was the way to go, and our Make a Difference events were born.

These events are as simple as surprising someone by picking up their lunch tab, or giving away free gas, cash or gift cards to unsuspecting consumers. They create an opportunity to communicate how all credit unions share the same philosophy. Showing how not-for-profit financial cooperatives are a smarter choice can be much more persuasive than reading some text on a website or hearing a radio spot. And it creates an organization of credit union advocates too.

Collaboration is key.
In addition to illustrating how credit unions give back to others, we are showing how credit unions collaborate as financial cooperatives, and unite for the good for our communities. After all, isn’t one of the seven cooperative principles “Cooperation among Cooperatives”?

Benefits consumers and credit union staffers.
People appreciate good deeds and kindness, evidenced by the hugs, tears and “thank yous” our credit unions saw and heard at these events. But the warm fuzzies were not limited to those on the receiving end. Kansas credit unions’ staff members felt it too.

Angie Reed, marketing/business development manager at Kansas State University Federal Credit Union, said many staff members found the experience rewarding. “Our staff absolutely love participating in these events,” she said. “When people look at you and you can see that from the bottom of their heart they appreciate what you just did.”

Other Kansas credit union representatives felt the same. Some said they didn’t realize the smallest gesture could make someone so happy. Still others commented that they felt great all day, knowing they made a positive impact on a fellow Kansan that day.

This year, let’s find ways to do more showing and less telling. Making a difference in someone’s life is more than posting the latest meme or selecting the right SEO keywords. It’s about helping our members and our communities…in real life.

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