Credit union marketers are in a unique position to bring core principles to the forefront.
Let’s not forget that credit unions are founded on the idea that cooperation between people is powerful. When groups come together with a common goal, amazing things can happen. That’s what the Cooperative Principles are all about. As part of the team responsible for the public face of a credit union, marketers are in a unique position to bring some of these core principles to the forefront. Following are ways you can leverage these principles in your marketing efforts and examples of how credit unions across the nation are doing just that.
1. Voluntary Membership, Non-Discrimination: Showcase real members and real member stories
If you look at the website for Point West Credit Union ($94 million in assets, Portland, Ore.), likely the first thing you’ll notice is that the photos showcase people from a range of races, ages, and backgrounds. Rather than focus on products, the credit union focuses on the members—Citizens of Point West.
2. Democratic Member Control: Highlight your board of directors and your election/voting process
3. Members’ Economic Participation:
- OnPoint Community Credit Union ($5.8 billion in assets, Portland) highlights the voting and application process with a “Board Elections” webpage that outlines what the board and supervisory committee are responsible for, how to apply to serve, and how to vote for your preferred candidate.
- DC Credit Union ($65 million in assets, Washington, D.C.) shares recaps of its annual meetings, including multimedia highlights, letting members know what was discussed, and who was elected or reelected to the board.
- Keesler Federal Credit Union ($2.9 billion in assets, Biloxi, Miss.) leads with its board of directors and supervisory committee on its Meet Our Team page, sharing in-depth bios and professional headshots so that members can understand who is representing their interests and guiding the credit union’s strategic direction.
Be transparent about where your money goes (and doesn’t go)
Clearwater Credit Union ($547 million in assets, Missoula, Mont.) dedicates a webpage to transparency that leads with, “Values-based banking starts with being transparent” and goes on to showcase its financial statements, strategic plan, impact assessment, and more.
4. Education, Training and Information: Promote financial wellness over products
Peninsula Credit Union in Washington state focuses on financial wellness first. Every Peninsula employee is a certified financial counselor, and the credit union presents its financial products as one component of its financial wellness approach, rather than the “holy grail” of financial success.
5. Concern for Community: Lead with your community work and tell your community’s stories
While 90% of U.S. consumers say they would switch brands to one associated with a cause, given comparable price and quality, 70% of Americans find companies’ communication about their social responsibility efforts confusing, according to Engage for Good.
The first navigation label on Clearwater Credit Union’s website page is “Force for Good,” offering visitors a chance to learn more about “What We Believe,” “Transparency” and “Community Impact” stories. The stories share the challenges and triumphs of real people in the communities that Clearwater serves.