Take a Selfie!

Image repair does not occur easily.

July 6, 2014

I recently enjoyed a Milwaukee Brewers baseball game with a young friend. We had a great time watching and discussing the game, sharing nachos, talking with other fans, and laughing together.

I suggested that we “take a selfie” and post it on Facebook to alert others of this marvelous junket and our mutual exhilaration at the experience.

I was astounded by his flat response.


“Why not?” I asked. “Don’t you want to show your friends what you are doing today?”

“I’ve seen your pictures,” he said. “You are terrible at selfies. You don’t know what you’re doing. It won’t be good. Forget it.”

I protested further, this would be great to share.

“No,” he repeated. “It’s not happening.”

Similarly, communicating a positive image is important for your credit union. Take a “selfie” as you read on: Are you in left field with your member communications? What can you do to hit a home run?

‘Behavior is the mirror in which everyone shares their image.’—Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, German writer and statesman

Banks Know That Customers Hate Them,” says CNN. “More than 80% of communications, marketing, and investor relations managers at banks, brokerages, and other financial services firms said that they think the financial crisis of 2008 is still having a negative impact on their companies.”

A survey of bank executives indicates this tainted image has financial ramifications as respondents “estimate that their firms lost 27% in revenue over the past two years, equaling billions of dollars, due to reputation problems.”

Image repair will not occur easily—it may take several years. “The number one challenge for banks… is differentiating themselves from other financial firms that have bad reputations.”

Effective communications, then, are imperative for differentiation and the projection of a positive image. How do you fare with email?

“Consumers generally feel like banks ignore them and their needs, resulting in low affinity and loyalty for financial brands,” says The Financial Brand.

Here, 49% of customers have “never been contacted by their bank to see how things are going” and only “21% of product and service related mailings… are relevant to them.” This creates “a general sense that their needs are not considered or valued by the bank.”

Survey results identify communications that matter to consumers, including:

All told, 84% “want some kind of communication they are not getting today.”

Here’s what not to do…

Suggestions on “How to Be the Worst Email Marketer in 10 Easy Steps” from MarketingProfs include:

  • Send promotional emails lacking content;
  • Include lengthy copy in messaging;
  • Send attachments; and
  • Don’t care about your promotions of affiliated products.

It’s important to ask “When Are Consumers OK With Brands’ Collecting Personal Data?

Consumers “are generally wary of companies collecting their personal data, but some are open to it, depending on their age, the transparency of the efforts, and what they get in return,” says MarketingProfs, citing research from BI consultancy, Software Advice.

Among those age 18 to 24, acceptable company uses of personal data include customer rewards, deals and discounts, purchase recommendations, and personalized advertising.

“Older respondents appear to be far more averse to any type of data collection, with 81% of 55- to 64-year-olds saying they prefer none of their data be stored or put to use.”

Do you incorporate members’ personal data in your communications? Is it appreciated?

‘There is nothing worse than a sharp image of a fuzzy concept.’—Ansel Adams, American photographer

Social media is an important communication channel. How do companies use it to generate sales of products and services? Two approaches are identified in “Secrets to a Successful Social Media Strategy” from the Harvard Business School.

First, some companies use a “digital strategy” in which communications simply “broadcast commercial messages and seek customer feedback.” This is an ineffective approach that will not translate into sales.

Conversely, “social strategy” not only broadcasts, but arranges interactions. “Once the company facilitates these interactions, it can go back to those who it helped and say, ‘Now we want you to do something for us.’ This quid pro quo is at the core of an effective social strategy.”

In short, the communication strategy is one that “simultaneously benefits both the company and the customers’ social interactions. Getting this alignment to work is perhaps one of the most difficult parts of designing a workable social strategy.”

Satisfy Customers with These 5 Pointers, Then Expect More Customers,” suggests Entrepreneur.  These pointers “help support the end goal of happy customers that spread the good word about your services, products or technologies:”

1.       Captivate with early engagement.

2.       Encourage sharing of customer opinion.

3.       Address complaints honestly and openly.

4.       Learn from mistakes and good examples.

5.       Treat customers as you would want to be treated.

Finally, know “Agile Marketing Gives Brands the Strategic Power They Need,” notes MarketingProfs. Consumer diversity equates to consumption of a variety of media in a variety of ways, and no one method exists for effective “path-to-purchase.”

Furthermore, “The rapid evolution of marketing has forced brands to pursue more flexible planning models.” Agility is critical, and “marketers need to continually identify opportunities and optimize plans before spending resources on execution.”

Analytics and automated technology will assist in improved strategy and planning. “When marketers are equipped with solutions that allow them to develop improved marketing plans and more rapidly adapt to changes, the conversation moves from a tactical approach to a strategic one.”

This results in increased sales and competitive advantage.

I never did get a candid photo at yesterday’s game.

My young friend did not trust me to capture and communicate his image in a positive way. Do your members feel the same?

Honestly assess your communication strategies and the picture you present to your members and determine: Are you in the ballpark or striking out?





LORA BRAY is an information research analyst for CUNA’s economics and statistics department.