CUNA will preview a dynamic new credit union awareness initiative during the America’s Credit Union Conference (ACUC) in Seattle next week.
On Tuesday, Teresa Freeborn, president/CEO of Xceed Financial Credit Union in El Segundo, Calif., and chair of the CUNA Creating Awareness Advisory Group, will present an overview of the group’s work to identify the most sustainable, effective, and impactful way forward for credit unions nationwide to raise awareness of the movement.
The geographically diverse committee represents a broad array of perspectives, including CEOs of large, medium, and small credit unions; credit union marketing professionals; and league and service provider experts.
“We know that too few consumers, policymakers, and even members know the fundamental differences between credit unions and banks, and that this awareness gap severely hamstrings our ability to grow,” Freeborn says. “The mountains of research we analyzed showed that when we filled in that awareness gap, when understanding over who we are and why we’re both different and better than banks increased, market share, share of wallet, and, perhaps most importantly, engagement in advocacy efforts all soared.”
Douglas Kiker, CUNA chief strategic communications officer, will follow Freeborn’s presentation with a deep dive into the research that guided the committee’s work.
The research spanned 16 years of data that included more than 16,000 interviews, 12 statewide polls, focus groups with members and nonmembers, ad testing, and feedback collected through the CUNA Member Activation Program.
Patrick Dorton, president/CEO of the strategic communications consulting firm Rational 360, will present the types of tools, tactics, and resources CUNA will create to assist both leagues and credit unions in strengthening their ongoing awareness efforts.
“The committee was right on the money when it determined that credit unions already have fantastic awareness campaigns and projects in place,” Kiker says. “That’s why this initiative, which will be unlike anything CUNA has done before, will not be a campaign. Instead, it will provide leagues and credit unions resources that will incorporate the messages we’ve found to be most effective in raising awareness.”
Adds Freeborn, “Getting consumers to understand a credit union’s purpose—that we are locally operated, member-owned and not-for-profit, the exact opposite of the big banks—and encouraging credit union employees to remind members of that fact every day, will make a huge difference. That’s why it’s so important for credit unions to get behind this effort, and to get involved.”
CUNA will launch a website next week that will offer credit unions an opportunity to provide feedback about the awareness plans, and also contact information for credit unions that want to get involved directly.
The website also will house the awareness presentations that take place during ACUC.