CU Promotes 'People Powered Banking'

Members star in drive to raise awareness of CUs.

September 21, 2011

SCE Federal Credit Union, El Monte, Calif., knows how important its members are. That’s why members star in the $500 million asset credit union’s innovative branding campaign, “People Powered Banking.”

In this campaign to expand membership, SCE Federal features members from a variety of backgrounds—high school students, city officials, and small business owners.

These members’ testimonials set SCE Federal apart from other institutions, says Annette Coronado, director of marketing.

“We’re emphasizing that we offer consumer-friendly financial solutions,” she says. “But most importantly, we’re telling the story from the viewpoint of our member-owners, with them extending the invitation to join.”

People Powered Banking

In short, members do the advertising for the credit union.

SCE Federal promotes the two-year campaign with bilingual materials in a variety of venues—branches, microsites, billboards, bus wraps, mall kiosks.

It launched the campaign to make nonmembers aware of the benefits credit unions—SCE Federal in particular—can offer, says Coronado. But it was also a matter of seizing the moment.

“It was a time of consumer uncertainty and dissatisfaction with retail banks,” she explains. “With the financial crisis and tightening of credit, consumers everywhere had a tough time accessing credit.”

Coronado can’t pinpoint exactly how successful the branding campaign has been. But the credit union has received positive feedback from both members and nonmembers, and is implementing methods to more accurately gauge awareness.

These methods include holding a “spot-us-and-win” contest, where members submit photos of credit union ads they’ve seen around town, and adding a measurement component to the credit union’s Net Promoter Score survey.

A successful branding campaign requires a variety of factors, Coronado says, including strong strategic direction, living up to your branding message, effective targeting, and open communication that fosters support from all levels of the credit union.

Other advice she offers:

  • Plan well in advance;
  • Deliver on your brand’s promises;
  • Invest in great design, copy, and execution to effectively communicate your message to the public; and
  • Get feedback and make adjustments accordingly.

Don’t expect an immediate return on your marketing investment, Coronado warns. “Branding is a long-term commitment with long-term rewards.”

LIBBY VERTZ is an intern in CUNA’s business-to-business publishing department. Contact her at 608-231-4096.