Credit unions have never attempted a brand-building campaign on the scale of CUNA’s Awareness initiative, writes Tim Newbrough in CUToday, adding that this effort is needed “now more than ever.” Newbrough, senior vice president at Local Government FCU, Raleigh, N.C., wrote his op-ed on the Open Your Eyes® Campaign from a marketer’s perspective.
“I’ve worked on the full-scope of marketing from planning to design. I’ve seen a lot of campaigns, and I see something special in Open Your Eyes to a Credit Union,” he writes. “The research, concept and digital strategy are really impressive and they’re different from anything I’ve ever seen from credit unions. We’re talking to consumers in a way we’ve never done before. It’s an exciting time and a huge opportunity for our movement.
Newbrough recalled his experience working in regional newspapers, watching as they declined in relevance with consumers due to disruptions caused by the internet, and he says credit unions can’t afford to stand pat against their own relevance challenges.
CUNA’s campaign has found that while 98% of consumers have heard of credit unions, 72% wouldn’t consider joining a credit union, believing they either can’t join or that accessing their money would be more difficult than at a bank.
“These nuggets from market research are enormously important to informing how both the Awareness Initiative and credit unions should do marketing. At credit unions, we need to do direct marketing that easily defines our name brand and emphasizes the tools we use to provide great products and services,” Newbrough writes. “And as industry, we need build up brand marketing that goes beyond seasonally repetitive sales messaging and taps into consumer mindsets. It’s about building long-term growth by changing perceptions of credit unions and boosting their consideration as a financial option.”
He described how Local Government FCU is focusing on social media, geo-fencing, statewide membership development officers and activating their advisory council to complement the campaign and ensure it resonates with potential new members.