Credit Union Association of the Dakotas President/CEO Jeff Olson.

CUAD’s Olson: Dakotas CUs ‘all in’ on Awareness the right way

June 18, 2019

For credit unions in the Dakotas, Tuesday’s announcement that they are launching the Open Your Eyes to a Credit Union® campaign couldn’t have better timing, writes Jeff Olson, president/CEO of the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas.

“From our perspective, now is the perfect time to enhance our consumer consideration potential in North Dakota, while building on the momentum of the growth in South Dakota…We have been successful in engaging our members by articulating the message that together, we can overcome the myths and barriers to growth," he wrote. "And, we can achieve measurable results across the country through this massive branding effort that carries a consistent, simple message that will be seen and heard by consumers nearly everywhere they go.”

Olson added that the league has been sharing Open Your Eyes campaign research and data with members at town halls, roundtables and other meetings, which led to building excitement.

“As each of our Dakota credit unions came on board, we generated excitement by sharing the good news in our daily electronic newsletter and social media platforms, highlighting Open Your Eyes-style pictures that featured individuals or group photos from contributing credit unions,” Olson writes. “This had a contagious effect and a buy-in result from our membership. In turn, more and more credit unions became interested and excited, and joined this important awareness campaign by pledging financial support, many making a three-year commitment. We (the Credit Union Association of the Dakotas) simply played the role of an enthusiastic cheerleader and pitchman.”

Olson said that 70% of affiliated credit unions are contributing to the Awareness initiative, showing that credit unions in the Dakotas strongly believe in the campaign.

“This campaign aims to grow membership, particularly among millennials and people between the ages of 35 and 54 who have children. That’s important because research shows, the latter group makes most of the financial decisions in the family – including where a family does their banking,” he said. “If I were that advertising/marketing executive today, sitting in your board room across the table from your leadership team and volunteers, armed with the data and research we have, and all the creative Open your Eyes assets and content, I would say that you surely need to be all-in on this as well. We are approaching this the right way.”