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'Feel the Difference' Campaign Highlighted in CU Journal
Thursday, October 5, 2017 6:55 AM

Jon Gorman
Jon Gorman, SVP communications and outreach, Cornerstone Credit Union League

An article about Cornerstone Credit Union League's "Feel the Difference" awareness campaign ran in yesterday's Credit Union Journal. Known as "Feel the Difference," the initiative was designed to increase public awareness of the many benefits of joining a credit union and to differentiate credit unions from other financial services providers.

The initiative was developed over more than two years by Cornerstone's Awareness and Outreach Committee, which is composed of credit union executives and marketers, as well as with GDC, a San Antonio-based marketing firm.

Jon Gorman, SVP of communications and outreach for the league, said Cornerstone took on the challenge of raising credit union awareness among consumers “at the request of our membership and because of the knowledge gap that continues to exist about credit unions among certain demographic growth opportunity segments.”

“We have learned through this initiative and through the research we executed to support it that the more a consumer understands credit unions, the more likely they are to consider one as their preferred financial institution,” he added.

The enterprise includes paid advertising which,

Jennifer Lown
Jennifer Lown, chief marketing officer, Oklahoma Employees Credit Union
in turn, was designed to drive traffic to the website credituniondifference.com, which can direct consumers to nearby CU branches or credit union websites. Start-up costs and the first year of paid advertising costs were entirely absorbed by the league, meaning that its member credit unions have had to pay nothing to fund these efforts for the first full year.

"From March [2017] through August 31, Cornerstone's combined media buy resulted in 41.7 million advertising impressions—paid and added value," said Gorman, adding that nearly 42 million impressions "is a fairly significant number for the dollars we've spent. These impressions are largely targeted at consumers 18-34 and the underserved Hispanic population."

Oklahoma Employees Credit Union, a $493 million institution based in Oklahoma City, participated in this initiative. Jennifer Lown, the credit union’s chief marketing officer, said that the research that GDC conducted leading up to the initiative was “extremely eye-opening.”

“Some of our long-held beliefs about the credit union difference wasn’t messaging that resonated with millennials,” she explained. “The messaging provided in the Cornerstone tool kit helped us target and provide clarity to potential millennial members about what matters to them when choosing their

Laura Whisenhunt
Laura Whisenhunt, CEO, San Angelo Federal Credit Union
financial institution. We’re now talking to them about the credit union difference in a way that they understand and care about. “

San Angelo Federal Credit Union, a $24 million institution based in San Angelo, Texas, also participated in the awareness initiative. Laura Whisenhunt, its president and CEO, said her credit union got involved in the program after Gorman spoke at an event for the San Angelo Chapter of Credit Unions (which she leads) in San Angelo, highlighting how credit unions can distinguish themselves from other financial institutions.

“San Angelo is a small town in West Texas, with six credit unions and twelve local banks competing to serve nearly 100,000 people in our community,” Whisenhunt noted.

Gorman said that Cornerstone will continue to run the “Feel the Difference” initiative, while also looking at “creative solutions that will ensure greater awareness and more consistent messaging across the credit union system, including incorporating awareness messaging and creative solutions currently being developed by CUNA’s Creating Awareness Advisory Group to support the segment at a national level."

Read the full article here.