CUNA is now America's Credit Unions.
A stronger voice to advance the credit union industry.
A: Organizations typically fall short in the way they position themselves in their target market. Some of the world’s most recognized brands are successful because they dig deep into people’s emotions and they find what make people tick—they anticipate customers’ needs.
Renowned brands create an emotional connection with consumers—that’s what drives them to brand loyalty.
Think about Coca-Cola, Starbucks, Nike, or Apple. Consumers love these iconic brands because they somehow make them feel a certain way that’s almost indescribable. It’s all about the experience—the emotional connection.
A: Define your DNA, your position, and your story, and determine your reason for rebranding. Is it because your current brand doesn’t relate with your market? Does your current brand create a misconception?
• Invest in research and analysis, and understand who you are serving. Why do your members choose you as their primary financial institution, and what do your nonmembers think of you?
• Communicate early and often. Be transparent, and get everyone involved and excited for the change.
• Be authentic. Stay true to your values. Your members chose you for a reason, so leverage what you do well and do it even better.
• Honor your roots. Most credit unions started with a single select employee group and expanded to a larger footprint.
When we were communicating the name change to our members we used a tone of voice that demonstrated our appreciation for our loyal members—those who had been with us for decades.
After all, if it wasn’t for those members using our products and services, and referring us to others, we wouldn’t be where we are today.
• Know your members and the community you serve. Dig deep and truly understand their behaviors. Find out what keeps them up at night, what their goals and dreams are, what life stage they’re in.
• Don’t try to be everything to everyone. When you lose focus and try to please everyone, you increase the risk of being nothing.
A: We shifted our marketing strategy to focus more on reassurance and business continuity. We leveraged email marketing to provide updates, changes, and resourceful information.
We focused our communication on financial relief products, stimulus payment updates, branch operations and protocols, and safety measures. We kept using the word “we” to let members know we’re in this together. Most important, we listen and we empathize.
Our staff has always been great with knowing when to demonstrate empathy. But during such an unforeseen crisis, I was truly amazed and inspired at how patient, understanding, and flexible they were and continue to be.
My favorite recent effort was providing lunch to county emergency personnel, such as police and firefighters. We delivered three rounds of lunches to demonstrate our appreciation for them risking their lives to keep our community safe.
A: People don’t know I was born in Greece and moved to the U.S. when I was 11 years old. English is my second language, but now I speak three languages, including Spanish.
Also, before I entered the credit union industry, I ran my family’s restaurants in Washington, D.C. I was like the woman from the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”
My parents taught me the importance of hard work from an early age and I hope I am instilling the same values in my children. Leaving the family business was a gutsy move, but if I didn’t push through the fear, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
A: You can’t be everything to everyone—and that’s totally okay.
A: I received the Credit Union Development Educator designation in 2018, and the experience reaffirmed my passion for the movement. It also opened my eyes to many volunteer opportunities in my community.
My advice to other marketers is to get involved in your community. Now more than ever, people are looking for reassurance and support. Remind them that we are here for them, we are accessible, and we are the best choice.