Credit unions throughout the League of Southeastern Credit Union’s (LSCU) footprint are enthusiastically sounding the charge that credit unions truly are a “better name for banking.”
This summer LSCU is asking its member credit unions to join in a six-week campaign to continue the credit union momentum launched last fall.
Mike Bridges ,VP, Communications and Marketing at LSCU says that the tagline ‘Credit Unions: we’re giving banking a better name,’ looks to build on the awareness created by the 2011 campaign. In a recent press release Bridges notes that pre and post-campaign research indicated there was an 8% rise in awareness of credit unions in Florida and a 6% rise in awareness in Alabama following the September, 2011 run of the campaign.
LSCU’s comprehensive approach involves a $1.2 million media buy that includes TV, radio, web, social media, and public relations efforts. Currently more than 110 credit unions are participating in the initiative, along with financial contributions from shared branching networks in Alabama and Florida.
“We’ve gotten a tremendous amount of positive feedback from credit unions about the campaign,” said LSCU President/CEO Patrick La Pine. “The ads resonate with consumers. They show that credit unions are modern and that they offer better rates and lower fees. Last year 65,000 consumers visited the campaign website in six weeks. Consumers are becoming more aware of why credit unions are a better place to do their banking.”
The ad campaign directs consumers to the site www.betternameforbanking.com, which illustrates the credit union difference by showing how much money a potential member will save on a mortgage or auto loan. An additional feature is a real-time social media feed that shows what people are saying about credit unions.
Credit Unions Taking The Approach to the Next Level
Community Credit Union ($250 million, Gadsden, AL) is taking the “Better Name for Banking” initiative up a notch by staging a strong credit union presence in local shopping malls.
Tracy Downs, Director of Marketing and Communications has charged her Gen Y employees to spend next weekend trolling local malls, handing out $2 bills to anyone who can answer the question, “Do you know the difference between a credit union and a bank?”
“The campaign helps us to remember the big picture,” she says. “We are not about ourselves but about the member. Through this campaign we can continue to raise awareness not only about our credit union, but promote the movement in general.”
Downs says that the campaign’s timing is ideal. “When I was at a conference in Wisconsin last week, I was watching a discussion on the news about the economy. The conversation moved to talking about banks and credit unions, which I found to be astonishing. Before Bank Transfer Day, the mainstream news media would have never brought up the name ‘credit union.’ We’re stepping more up to the table and having a real impact on people’s lives.”
She says that when her Gen Y team is at one of the three local malls she knows that the push will help promote and reinforce Community Credit Union but also the movement in the general. “It lets people know that we are like a bank but much better.”
“During next week’s mall blitz we’ll have promotional materials available on a nearby table and will be ready to talk about credit unions and Community Credit Union.”
“We hope this incentivizes consumers to learn more about how credit unions are different, and we think better, than traditional banking,” adds Patti Barrow, VP/Marketing, Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union ($5.1 billion, Tampa FL). “Our goal is to increase awareness of credit union benefits and the difference between credit unions and banks.”
Gen X Continues to Elude Credit Unions
According to Bridges, Generation X remains the target for the campaign, which research shows is the largest demographic in the southeast that does not currently belong to a credit union.
Barrow agrees, but contends that Suncoast Schools has had success capturing this age demographic. “Recent studies show that Gen X is often overlooked, but not at Suncoast Schools Federal Credit Union,” she says. “We're currently in the middle of a mortgage campaign to attract our Gen X audience by utilizing social media, web, broadcast, cable TV and outdoor billboards. We've paired our mortgage campaign with the LSCU image campaign to generate more noise surrounding credit unions.”
“Even though our ads and mall efforts target any consumer, we are using our Gen Y employees to continue to try to attract that younger demographic as well,” Downs says. “We are having fun with this campaign, even running a spot during a local rodeo--finding different ways to draw attention to the movement and advantages of credit union membership.”
Communicating the advantages of membership to Generation X may be more important than ever. A recent Philadelphia Inquirer article notes that of all consumer groups, the median American family wealth levels in 2010 had dropped to those in 1992, with Gen X’ers hit hardest.
Federal Reserve data found that Americans born between 1964 and 1980 were doing worse than previous generations, plus Americans in this age range experienced a 55.7% decline in net worth--the biggest drop for any age range.
According to a Pew Research Center study from last year, Gen X families are 70% poorer than those who were their same age back in 1984--staggering statistics as this generation tries to raise a family and build wealth for retirement.
With the myriad of financial products, educational assistance and lower fees, joining a credit union for a Gen X’er is more important than ever. LSCU is hoping that its latest image campaign will hopefully bring more Gen X’ers to a credit union, along with the countless others who have been slaves to poor service and high fees at large, multi national banks.
The charge has once again sounded--find a credit union and expand your relationship today.