Successful storytelling
Shakira M. Brown, CEO of SMB Strategic Media.

Successful storytelling

Build your brand and reputation by leveraging authentic stories.

September 23, 2020

Story marketing allows credit unions to build their brands and reputations by leveraging authentic stories instead of a sales pitch, according to Shakira M. Brown, CEO of SMB Strategic Media.

“If you master telling your story, members will be compelled to tell theirs,” she told attendees at the 2020 CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council Virtual Conference Connection.

Effective storytelling must support a credit union’s message and be relatable for members. “Create stories that address the needs and wants of potential members,” Brown says.

Possible storytelling themes include:

  • The origin story. Share how your credit union’s beginnings bridge to the mission and values of the credit union today. “It’s your brand’s most precious story, and the one on which all future stories are based,” Brown says.
  • The employee experience story. Use a first-person perspective to highlight your credit union’s culture. “It sets the tone and expectation that your members will have a great customer experience,” she says.
  • The customer journey story. Positive, enthusiastic stories from members show potential members how your credit union helps people meet their goals. Brown suggests being on the lookout for organic praise or actively soliciting member stories through social media.

Obtain written or verbal consent from everyone who shares their stories.

“If you have a legal team, get them involved,” says Brown. “Create a storytelling disclaimer to let you use things in perpetuity.”

Brown shared several ideas for capturing member stories:

  • Assign a team member to manage the process.
  • Consider hiring a brand consultant or videographer.
  • Ask members to share photos or videos with their stories.
  • Record video conferencing sessions with members (with their permission).

“Video is the best way to get your stories out there,” says Brown. She recommends using analytics to determine the best time to release a new video.

Story marketing engages audiences in a deep, meaningful way—but it takes patience.

“It may take some time to get where you want to be,” Brown says. “Allow the process to happen.”

Visit CUNA News for more conference coverage and view event highlights on Twitter via the #MBDVirtual and #MBDCouncil hashtags. Learn more about the CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council, a member-led professional society for credit union executives, at