It happens all the time--professional athletes are traded or sign contracts with other teams, leaving their “home town” in their moving van dust. Although fans may be disappointed, a professional athlete’s move typically doesn’t cause a huge ruckus, unless of course that athlete has signed on to be a local business’ spokesperson.
For Liberty Bay Credit Union ($649 million, Braintree, MA), the trade of Red Sox star Kevin Youkilis to the Chicago White Sox is a huge issue. Youkilis has been the credit union’s spokesperson front man for the past two years, helping the credit union build a brand synonymous with America and a winning team.
With Youkilis changing the color of his “sox” (and his address) the credit union is left with an expensive brand campaign and a myriad of questions about what to do next.
The credit union, while most likely not overjoyed about Youkilis’ exit seems to be taking it in stride, pinning a photo of Youkilis on its Facebook page, wishing him well in Chi-town.
For some members on Facebook, Youkilis’ departure isn’t prompting tears. One member wrote in response to Youkilis’ send off post, “By some (with regard to being missed). He got paid too much to not take better care of his body. Enjoy the hot dogs & pizza Youk!”
Otherwise the credit union’s Facebook page is quiet with regard to the slugger’s move to Chicago.
It was only last Spring when Youkilis was making headlines for the credit union, helping Liberty Bay support local charities. He told The Patriot Ledger how much he enjoyed the relationship he had built with the credit union.
“It’s been a great relationship with them,” Youkilis said of Liberty Bay. “They’re very easy to work with.”
As Youkilis exits stage right, Chase Headley, San Diego Padres player signs on to be the spokesperson for The University of Tennessee Federal Credit Union ($183 million, Knoxville, TN). Headley will now be the “official spokeshero” for the credit union’s youth account, the Smokey Savers Club.
“UTFCU is proud to have Chase as our official Spokeshero,” Malinda Wood, VP/ Marketing for UTFCU told a local news station. “There are many reasons to look up to Chase as an athlete and role model. We are happy to have him promote the importance of a good financial head start for children at the credit union.”
Other Credit Unions Tap Into the Membership for Spokesperson
Rather than take a chance with a celebrity or ballplayer, some credit unions are looking to its members for representation. Actual members are speaking out in the community and online about why they love their credit union--and walking away with cash and prizes.
For example, Michigan First Credit Union ($600 million, Lathrup Village, MI) asks Gen Y members to submit an online video and blog application to become its spokesperson for the credit union’s “Young and Free” program. Spokesperson winners receive a $30,000 salary, an Apple MacBook Pro, an HD video camera, smart phone and the use of the Young & Free Michigan car with paid gas and insurance. Numerous credit unions have a “Young and Free” Gen Y fueled program, prompting similar opportunities for younger members throughout the country.
“If I was a few years younger, I’d love to have this job,” says President/CEO Michael Poulos. “Our spokesperson actively reaches out to the community – engaging through social media, making videos, attending events and encouraging the next generation to get a head start on being financially fit. We want them to show that smart money management doesn’t have to be a chore. It can be fun!”
Another member-driven credit union spokesperson is the Verity Mom. Verity Credit Union ($371 million, Seattle, WA) holds a yearly contest amongst its member moms and appoints one to be the spokesperson for its mom community. Like the “Young and Free” member spokesperson, the Verity Mom receives financial compensation ($20,000 a year), an Apple MacBook Pro and a Flip Mini HD video camera.
Does your credit union have an effective spokesperson or should have a member who can represent its brand? Find a credit union and inquire about potential spokesperson opportunities today.