I just heard from a credit union today, that no longer uses the words “credit union” when referring to themselves in their name or logo. It seems they just went community charter, and the new VP of Marketing feels that by NOT calling themselves a credit union, it will attract more of the general public. It astonished me to hear this as I also spoke today from a member of the public that he loves and supports non-profit organizations, and wants only to belong to a credit union, never a bank.
Which kind of people do we want as members? People who don’t care that we are a credit union, or people who care PASSIONATELY that we are a credit union? Yes, in this country there are more people who don’t know or care about what a credit union is – BUT THAT IS OUR FAULT, not theirs. When we go out to try to attract members, we want PEOPLE WHO CARE — PEOPLE WHO GET IT.
I am completely flabergasted that a credit union no longer wants to use the words “credit union” in their name. Instead of being called Main Street Federal Credit Union, they now only refer to themselves as Main Street Federal. SO – if they don’t want to be called a credit union, then what ARE they? A bank? No, I don’t think so. They are now official NOTHING, and are doomed to mediocrity, price wars, and commoditization.
WE ARE NOT TELLING OUR STORY — which, in the end, is the Only Thing That Matters.
People want to connect to something — Members who already belong to a credit union LOVE their credit union.
“A GREAT STORY CAN NEVER BE TOLD TOO OFTEN.”–Kevin Roberts, CEO, Saatchi & Saatchi, in Lovemarks: The future beyond brands.
We are not telling our story — and we have one of the greatest stories to tell. We need to tell it again and again. Tell it often. Tell it long, tell it short, tell it high, tell it low, tell it face-to-face, tell it on the web and in email, tell it on the phone, tell it on a text page, tell it in an instant message, and then tell it again. Just when we are getting a little bit tired of the story ourselves — that’s when the public is only beginning to BARELY hear it. And that’s when we need to CRANK IT UP and get creative — find and discover new ways to tell the same story again — in a different way — because WE HAVE A GREAT STORY — AND WE NEED TO TELL IT OVER AND OVER AGAIN (see quote above).
We here at EverythingCU.com are honored and thrilled to be working to help brand credit unions across the country. We only want to work with credit unions who understand that a big part of their success lies in using the credit union’s UNIQUE history to tell the credit union’s UNIQUE story in a way that gets members to take action. We help credit unions refine their story, and help them apply it in a way that connects with their members NOW.
Unfortunately, CUNA’s (and the NCUA’s) stance is that all credit unions are the same– that small credit unions are the same as big credit unions, but somehow they must be doing something wrong because they are not as big. Growth for Growths’ sake. Grow or Die. (how many times have you been fed that line?) We must be in trouble because we are not growing fast enough — not enough new members. But how does going community charter and running away from the heritage help the CURRENT LOYAL MEMBERS? Is growth the members’ goal or the institutions? CUNA paints all credit unions with the same brush — nothing could be further from the truth and nothing could be a more damaging attitude to individual credit unions to hold that attitude about themselves, that they are the same as other credit unions. In our consulting work to date, we have NEVER found that any two credit unions are the same.
We only want to work with credit unions that understand that their power, strength, and success lies not in adding another widget to their already formidable arsenal of products and services, (we’ve run into credit unions where the call center team could not remember all of their products because they had so many!) and not in piling arbitrary quotas on front line staff, but on making personal, emotional, individual connections with members at each interaction.
And marketing is successful in its job when it tells the credit union’s story — over and over again — transforming it WAY past advertising and marketing, and putting it into the realm of dreams, into INSPIRATION and even dare I say MYTH.
That’s the potential power that you wield. If you hire us as your brand consultant, that is where we will strive to take you (but only if you are ready for it.) Are you telling your credit union’s story? How are you telling it? Are you running away from your heritage? Or embracing it and cranking it up?
Certainly, hiding the differences, or trying to fit in with everyone else, and going along with what everyone else is doing is not the Way To Go. If you do what everyone else is doing, then guess what? You’re just like everyone else.
In the face of stiff competition, and limited consumer attention, the answer is CLEARLY not to behave more like banks — try to be all things to all people and grow at all costs (even at the cost of the institutions’ soul). The answer lies in CRANKING UP THE DIFFERENCES.
IT’S TIME TO CRANK IT UP! Are you ready?