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University of Kentucky FCU: Putting Lipstick on a Bank Won't Fool Anyone

University of Kentucky FCU: Putting Lipstick on a Bank Won't Fool Anyone

University of Kentucky Federal Credit Union’s ($430 million, Lexington, KY) tongue in cheek “lipstick on a bank” campaign has not only spiked local interest but has produced a number of giggles as well.

Long before Bank Transfer Day made its way to America’s bandwidth, Megin Morgan, Member Development Specialist had been cooking up a way to grab consumer’s attention and direct prospective members to the benefits of membership.

“This is something we had been thinking of doing for the past two to three years,” she says. “I had mentioned that ‘you can put lipstick on a bank, but its still a bank’ idea to some of the executives at the credit union and received a positive response but we wanted to craft a campaign that would produce results and drive membership.”

Morgan says that she worked on a strategic plan throughout the summer of 2011--months before Bank Transfer Day was even a glimmer in the credit union movement’s eye. “I started laying it out, writing the phases of the campaign and organizing how it would be executed. With the assistance of one of my coworkers, who happens to be our webmaster, we started designing our microsite last May in order to bring the campaign to life.”

The microsite was designed specifically to show consumers why a credit union was the better choice. “Our goal was to keep it simple and straightforward and to demonstrate why going with a credit union was beneficial.”

Morgan says that the site focuses on three main components--membership, checking and loans (with an emphasis on low fees and better rates). A testimonial from one of the credit union’s members dons every page along with the appropriate link. For example, on the membership page, readers are linked to the “benefits of membership” University of Kentucky FCU page.

Other aspects of the microsite emphasize fees and rates between banks and credit unions, further demonstrating how making a bank look “pretty with lipstick” doesn’t cover up the fact that in the end the consumer pays more for less at a bank.

Lipstick on a Bank Keeps Credit Union Membership Fervor Alive

“Lipstick on a Bank” rolled out on January 1, 2012 as a way to kick off the year, continuing the momentum that began back in October and November. “We started with billboards, which turned out to be the big driver to our microsite.”

She says that several people would tell her and other credit union employees how they had driven by one of their eye-catching billboards and loved it.

Additional merchandising included in-branch signage, a postcard mailing and buttons worn by staff members. “We also gave away specially branded chap stick during any events or when the member came in to open a checking account, for example.”

The campaign ran through the end of February and Morgan points to some defined results that show the promotion was a hit.

“While we don’t have February numbers yet, you can see how new account and checking numbers in 2010 and 2011 are somewhat similar, with a good increase in 2012.” Morgan reports:

2012: 706 new accounts, of those, 529 were checking

2011: 576 new accounts, of those, 362 were checking

2010: 509 new accounts, of those, 399 were checking

Although this campaign has wrapped, consumers may see it again in the future. "We saw this as a successful credit union awareness campaign that seemed to get people’s attention. We could possibly re-run it again in the near future to keep the credit union movement momentum going."

Sick of your “pretty” bank and ready to go credit union? Stop trying to put lipstick on your bank and find a credit union today.

By Gina Ragusa
Published March 7, 2012
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