ORLANDO, Fla. (10/28/14)--When a credit union co-exists in a market with companies such as Disney and Hard Rock Cafe, brand recognition is no easy feat. But Fairwinds CU, Orlando, Fla., with $1.7 billion in assets, has done just that in a contest that pits local brands in a head-to-head, single-elimination tournament similar to NCAA basketball's March Madness.
In the Orlando Business Journal's 2014 Brand Madness campaign, readers whittled 64 competitors down to this week's championship round that will pit Fairwinds CU against the Univeristy of Central Florida.
Fairwinds CU outlasted brands such as the NBA's Orlando Magic, Universal Orlando Resort, Hard Rock Cafe, SeaWorld and Legoland Florida.
The credit union leveraged social media, its database of member e-mails and branch traffic to generate votes during the competition, according to Dianne Owen, Fairwinds CU executive president of marketing. But a dedicated membership was needed to get to the final round.
"Our members love us," Owen told News Now.
Interestingly, Fairwinds' opponent in the final, the University of Central Florida, is a business partner. Fairwinds serves as the on-campus student banking services provider for the university.
"It's interesting to go up against them, but we're going to see if we can pull it off," Owen said.
Voting for 2014 Brand Madness is open through Friday.