If Toni Nichols looks familiar, you may have seen her on “The Price is Right,” “House Hunters,” a Golden Chick restaurant commercial, or “Wheel of Fortune”—where she solved the first puzzle.
While she’s had her time in the spotlight, Nichols is more accustomed to highlighting the work Texas Trust Credit Union does on behalf of members through storytelling, social media, and clever campaigns that boost branding exponentially.
First and foremost, Nichols loves telling stories as public relations (PR) manager at the $2 billion asset credit union in Arlington, Texas. “I love talking about all of the great things we do for our members and our community—spreading that positive message. It shows that we’re here for everyone.”
Concocting big ideas is another area where she excels. One of her best: a credit union space inside an entertainment venue called Vought Records.
In 2019, Texas Trust purchased the naming rights for a 6,000-seat theater that’s now called the Texas Trust Credit Union Theater in Grand Prairie. The deal came with a space in the lobby the credit union could use as it wished.
“We didn’t think it would be a good fit for another branch,” Nichols says. “While people attending events might need a checking account or a vehicle loan, they just want to have a good time when they walk through the doors. So I wanted to talk about Texas Trust in a way that made sense to where it was.”
Vought Records—named after the credit union’s original sponsor, Vought Aircraft Corp.—looks like a record shop, complete with Texas Trust-themed concert T-shirts, album covers, and posters. These elements feature not The Rolling Stones but The Vehicle Loans. In place of the Red Hot Chili Peppers are The Red Hot Loan Rates.
“We have all of these iconic albums with a Texas Trust twist,” she says. “We even have an interactive jukebox where people can select a familiar song—but all of the lyrics relate to Texas Trust.”
The result is a creative way to ingrain the credit union into people’s consciousness.
“When you do something that’s fun and unexpected, people flock to that,” Nichols says. “It’s very Instagram friendly, so people take tons of pictures in the space. It’s always packed with people hanging out. When they leave the show and reality hits the next day, we want them to think, ‘I had a great time yesterday with Texas Trust. Let’s see what they’re all about.’”
Her advice for finding new ideas: “Expand your environment. Get out there and experience new things, whether it’s traveling, reading the news, or looking at social media to see what’s trending. You never know when or where inspiration will come from.”