Posts Tagged Marketing

Yes, You Can Use Pinterest for Your Credit Union

Posted by on Wednesday, 29 February, 2012

This post was originally published on

To pin or not to pin? As the popularity of Pinterest continues to grow, that is the question many credit union professionals are starting to ask.

If you’re not already familiar with the website, here’s a quick rundown: Pinterest is a social bookmarking website that allows you to collect—or “pin”—content from around the Web to personalized pinboards. The usefulness for credit unions might not be immediately apparent. After all, Pinterest is practically tailor-made for brands that specialize in fashion, cooking, housewares, and other visually oriented pursuits.

So do credit unions really have a place on Pinterest? I would argue that they do—if you give some deeper thought to your current and prospective members’ motivation before diving in.

But first, let’s talk about some statistics. In terms of numbers, it making more and more sense to have a presence on Pinterest because that’s where the Web users are. Check out these insights compiled by Monetate, a provider of digital marketing and optimization tools:

  • Estimated unique visitors to Pinterest increased by 329% from September to December 2011.
  • Pinterest is now driving more Web traffic than Google+.
  • The top five tips for using Pinterest include promoting a lifestyle, using it as a focus group, crowdsourcing, running contests, and inspiring your team.

So what are some specific ways that credit unions can start pinning? The key is to tap into the goals of members, and show them how your credit union can play a vital role in helping them achieve those goals.

Think about it like this: Users typically use their boards as future inspiration. They might pin images of new cars, dream kitchens, vacation destinations, or splurge-worthy shoes. Do you notice a pattern here? Your credit union can help members work toward all of these goals. You just have to position yourself on Pinterest as their biggest financial adviser and cheerleader. Here are just a few ideas to get you started:

  • Create a collaborative pinboard of potential savings goals, and invite other users to become contributors. Encourage them to pin content related to whatever they want to save money for, and offer advice and feedback through comments.
  • Lots of pinners use Pinterest to find creative ideas for kids. Try creating a pinboard that focuses on projects or activities that teach children about money. Or, for something more lighthearted, create a pinboard dedicated to something quirky, like unique piggy banks. A quick Web search should reveal lots of fun images worth pinning.
  • Use pins to direct members to specific areas of your website. But make sure you’re actually sharing content that will genuinely interest members. For instance, does your credit union maintain a blog or write articles for members? Pin attention-grabbing images or infographics that link back to your content.

As with any form of social media, getting started with Pinterest might be a trial-and-error process at first—and that’s perfectly okay. Don’t be afraid to try different approaches and strategies to find what works best for your followers.

Have you started using Pinterest for your credit union? Share your experience with a comment!

How credit unions and financial institutions use social media

Posted by on Wednesday, 1 February, 2012

A friend was recently hired into the credit union industry. As she got up-to-speed with credit unions she wanted to get a better sense for how financial institutions use social media and asked if I would supply her with resources on the subject.

I said to myself after replying to her request: “Self… CUNAverse readers might find this information useful!” I agreed with myself, as I often do.

So, here is a small list of online resources I track with periodically or have found to be useful. It is by no means an exhaustive list—nor an endorsement—but rather a small sampling of what I use to stay current with the credit union space and better understand how financial institutions use social media. Perhaps you will find these helpful as well.

What resources and examples would you suggest? Please share them in the comments!


Examples of credit unions using social media:


Resources from the credit union industry:


Articles on social media and financial institutions:


CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council Releases White Paper, “Online Marketing Tactics.”

Posted by on Monday, 28 November, 2011

Madison, Wis. – The CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council announces their newest white paper, “Online Marketing Tactics,” written by Mark Arnold.  

Arnold explains how the marketing tactics that worked for credit unions pre-technology may still work today, but they may not be nearly as effective in reaching consumers.  The way people live now, with technology at their fingertips most of the day, changes the way they expect a financial institution to interact with them.  Simply put, technology has put consumers in control, and they decide when and how they want to be communicated with. It’s up to credit unions to adapt to those new rules by changing the way they reach members and non-members.

This white paper:

    • Shares current technology trends
    • Examines online marketing elements worth considering
    • Discusses the essentials of an online marketing strategy
    • Provides tips on implementing online marketing tactics
    • Reinforces the concept that utilizing online marketing tactics has the potential to reach more people and produce better results for less money.


CUNA Council members are entitled to complimentary copies of these and more than 300 white papers; non-members may purchase the white papers for a price of $50 per copy.  

The paper is available online in the white paper sectionof– select the “Marketing & BizDev” tab.

Press can contact Jenny Jackson at  for a copy of the whitepaper.

CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council Releases White Paper

Posted by on Monday, 31 October, 2011

Madison, Wis. (October 31, 2011)– The CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council announces its newest white paper, “The Essential Drivers of Member Loyalty in Credit Unions: Adding Value to the Net Promoter Score,” written by Dr. Neil Goldman, Ed.D.  The paper features an in-depth exploration of the service qualities credit union leaders should focus on to foster growth and create lasting organizational success.

Incorporating the use of the Net Promoter Score tool, the study answers, “what leads to an exceptional member experience?,” “what, in turn, leads to meaningful loyalty?,” and “what are the universal factors that all credit unions share in driving member advocacy?”  The qualities and factors that drive credit union member promotion and detraction are uncovered in addition to an exploration about whether age, income, or gender made a difference.

Readers are introduced to the formative SERVQUAL model of customer satisfaction as a framework for understanding the drivers of Net Promoter Scores and how to use the model within the credit union’s research to strive to create an excellent member experience that inspires high loyalty.  Several key research tools are included for credit union marketers and leaders to incorporate into their planning.

CUNA Council members are entitled to complimentary copies of these and nearly 300 white papers; non-members may purchase the white papers for a price of $50 per copy. 

The paper is available online in the white paper sectionof– select the “Marketing & BizDev” tab.

Press can contact Jenny Jackson at  for a copy of the whitepaper.


The Credit Union Link to James Arness

Posted by on Thursday, 9 June, 2011

While driving home from the grocery store last week my girlfriend mentioned James Arness had passed.  It was sad news to hear, but not necessarily because I was an avid viewer of Gunsmoke or a fan of Mr. Arness’ acting.  It is very sad to hear of his passing because he has a significant link to credit union history.

Here’s how…

In 1977, ABC aired the “epic” western mini-series, “How the West Was Won,” staring James Arness, Eva Marie Saint, and Bruce Boxleitner.  The mini-series garnered a 50-share.  Due to the huge response, “How the West Was Won” returned in 1978 as a TV series.

During the 1970s, CUNA sponsored the National Advertising Program (NAP) an effort to pool credit union resources in order to create advertising campaigns and purchase advertising spots on a national scale.   At the time, the campaign claimed to reach over 325 million people through its combined magazine and television efforts.  As of 1978, the “crown jewels” of the campaign included award winning Tournament of Roses Parade floats and purchasing commercial spots during the “How the West Was Won” mini-series.

Continuing into the future, the NAP secured additional ads during the TV series and participation in the 1980 Winter Olympics.  Appeals for continued support stated the cooperative philosophy: “We have all reaped the benefits because we have all shared in the effort.  Our success shows that all kinds of people getting together can get things done.”

James Arness’ image was used by the NAP for counter displays, newspaper and magazine ads, stuffers, posters, and badges.  Below are some of the “Bullet Proof” ideas offered by the NAP at that time. You might find them helpful for your credit union:

  • Stage a “Credit Union Pardner Day” around the Old West theme at the credit union; encourage staff to wear bandanas and ten-gallon hats, to promote a new service at the credit union.
  • “Deputize” your credit union staff using sheriff’s badges to promote “How the West Was Won.”
  • Sponsor a Western night featuring a Western band or singers for your Annual Meeting.
  • Set up a canteen with coffee in the credit union encouraging pardners to feel welcome.
  • Sponsor a “Chuckwagon Dinner” at the credit union selling tickets for the event and conduct a contest for the member who brings in the most new members during the “HTWW” viewing time.
  • Organize a “possee” to clean up the neighborhood.  A good public relations effort for your credit union.

With the passing of James Arness the credit union movement loses another iconic figure.

James Arness, May 26,1923-June 3, 2011.

Big Time Thursday: The ACUC in Texas! (Contest)

Posted by on Thursday, 24 March, 2011

Improv Everywhere Founder Charlie Todd

What do you get when you hold an America’s Credit Union Conference & Expo (ACUC) planning session after watching Improv Everywhere’s I Love Lunch! The Musical? If you’re me, you get this crazy idea to hold a random musical at the Governmental Affairs Conference (GAC).   That’s right, we’re so excited about ACUC we decided to sing about it at this year’s GAC.  OK, full disclosure, we actually were so excited we hired actors to sing about it (nobody wants to hear me sing), and enlisted some friends from the CUNA Councils to help as well.    That’s right, exhibit hall attendees were surprised by this CUNA ACUC 2011 Random Musical. (Warning: Once you watch this you’ll likely be humming the tune all afternoon!)

Are there ways credit unions can use things like random musicals and flash mobs to stand out in a crowded market?  With the right plan up front and strategy to help it go viral, there are certainly ways these can compliment your traditional promotions.  Join us at ACUC to hear Improv Everywhere (the group behind the I Love Lunch! Musical)  founder Charlie Todd present a thought leader session sharing details behind some of his group’s biggest pranks and what credit unions can learn from using those kinds of tactics.

Already have a video you’re trying to spread the word on?  I recently spoke with Michael Taylor of PLAY Creative, the marketing agency who worked with the Nebraska Credit Union League on their recent CU Awareness Campaign.  Here are some simple ways Taylor suggests to help spread the word about your video:

  • Post the video link on Facebook fan pages of other groups your audience would likely be interested in
  • Share the link on Twitter and ASK people to share with their friends and comment on the site where you’re hosting the video. Asking people on Twitter versus just sharing a link can help you get more people to actually pass the link on.
  • Reach out to like-minded blogs and ask them to post a story about your viral project.  Make sure to include an answer to the question “What’s in it for their readers?”
  • Tag the video correctly on YouTube.  This is key for people searching on YouTube.  Having good tags also helps bring the video up in Google searches.
  • Send a plain old e-mail to friends and family.  This can help spread the word in the early going. In turn, they will also likely share with their friends and family.

BIG TIME Thursday CONTEST: We want to know, what are some of the BIG TIME things your credit union is doing or planning to do to stand out from the competition? Answer that question in a comment below and we’ll do a random drawing on March 31st (just in time to kick off our next Big Time Thursday contest) of all commenters to give away an Apple iPod® nano 8 GB (6th Generation) and a copy of Charlie Todd’s book Causing a Scene: Extraordinary Pranks in Ordinary Places with Improv Everywhere.

Read more about BIG TIME Thursday Contests (there will be lots of great prizes through May 2011).

UPDATE (3/31): This contest has ended – congratulations to our winner, Cheryl Hart, who won an Apple iPod® nano 8 GB (6th Generation) and a copy of Charlie Todd’s book Causing a Scene: Extraordinary Pranks in Ordinary Places with Improv Everywhere.  THANKS TO ALL WHO PARTICIPATED!

CONTEST DETAILS: Contest begins today and ends on Wed., March 30th at 11:59PM (ct). No purchase necessary to win.  Make sure you leave an email address where you can be contacted.  The winner will be notified via e-mail and will also be announced on the blog.  Multiple comments are allowed as long as you have a valid idea in each comment. (No duplicate comments) The odds of winning depend on the number of entrants received.  Void where prohibited.
This competition is offered by Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and is open to anyone who comments on this post and is at least 18 years of age. Employees of CUNA and family members of such employees are not eligible to enter.
CUNA shall not have any liability for any malfunction of or damage to the prize. The award winner may be responsible for applicable state or federal taxes on the value of the contest prize.
iPod® is a registered trademark of Apple Inc. All rights reserved. Apple is not a participant in or sponsor of this promotion.

10 must-read credit union articles for January 2011

Posted by on Thursday, 13 January, 2011

The Credit Union National Association produces a number of excellent credit union-focused news and research via Credit Union Magazine, E-Scan, and CUNA News Now. Here are ten must-read articles from these publications for the month of January, 2011.

Marketing to Hispanics? Find the Right Translator

Make marketing messages understandable and culturally relevant.

Collection Strategies Adjust to Economy

A kinder, gentler approach is more likely to succeed.

‘NCUA-safe’, Suze Orman Attract Millions in Donated Ad Space

The “NCUA-safe” ad campaign featuring personal finance expert Suze Orman touting the virtue of federal credit union insurance has tallied more than $2.6 million in free advertising for the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA).

Ten Credit Card Predictions for 2011

Expect APR increases and lower delinquencies.

Gift Cards as a Meeting Incentive?

Can a federal credit union increase participation at its annual meeting by giving $25 gift cards to members in attendance?

There’s ‘No Such Thing’ as an Easy Core Conversion

If you let things slide, you risk ‘having a wave come over your head.’

Ill. League Obtains $1.4M Reg. Fee Holiday for Credit Unions

Why are all 290 Illinois state-chartered credit unions are seeing a boost to their bottom lines in 2011?

Credit Unions On Top in Customer Satisfaction

CUs and small banks lead their larger rivals in customer satisfaction and loyalty, reports the Prime Performance 2010 Bank and CU Satisfaction Survey.

Fed Action May Affect Benefit Costs

Additional defined benefit plan funding may be warranted if corporate bond yields drop.

Fed Offers Two Plans for Interchange Fees

The Federal Reserve issued for public comment its proposed rules addressing interchange fees.

The Thrill of the Chase: Deal of the day sites

Posted by on Friday, 19 November, 2010

I have to confess: I’m a discount junkie. I and perhaps some of you as well, have a certain love for discounted shopping. We go by many names – coupon queens (and kings!), discount divas (divos?),  frugalistas… the list goes on -just don’t call us cheap ;) .  I simply love a good deal.  If someone were to compliment on anything I own, rather than dishing on the details of the object, I relish in what a bargain it was. It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling inside. Whew, I’m glad I got that out in the open!  I get the impression that I’m not alone in my conquest for coupons.

Thanks to Groupon I can affordably solve a mystery while eating a 3-course dinner.

There are many emerging websites solely dedicated to bringing deep discounts to the masses.  is a website launched in 2008 that showcases ‘deal-of-the-day’ offers from businesses in and near the city you live in. Starting with the Chicagoland area, the site now has offers from over 150 US cities, around 100 international markets, and is reportedly worth over $1 billion dollars. LivingSocial launched a similar daily deals program in 2009, which has, to date, been their most successful venture. One thing I particularly like about LivingSocial is their ‘escapes’ off-shoot which features discounted vacation stays/packages. If I can save hundreds on my planned trip to San Francisco with minimal effort, you better believe I’ll take that offer! PS, signing up for deal alerts for vacation destinations is a great way to pick up dining discounts during your vacation (I picked up a San Fran one this week!).

How can credit unions capitalize on the discounts bandwagon??  Take part! Yesterday I read this blog post from Matt Davis of the Filene Research Institute on how credit unions can help to give the gift of membership to their loved ones over the holidays. I thought it was a great correlation of modeling some CU offers and behaviors off of what other cooperatives are providing their members. Is your credit union currently using something similar to attract new and potential members?  If so, we’d love to hear from you – post in our comment section below

As you approach the best way to showcase your CU in the social media realm, please consider new venues to spread the word other than the standbys of Facebook and Twitter. It’s refreshing to see new options for social media and the possibility it holds for credit unions to bring awareness, education, and our philosophy to the masses. Perhaps you showcase your own daily deal, or maybe you can sponsor the deal of the day to get out the good word.

If anyone has been experimenting with discounted deals for your CU, or plans to do so in the future CUNAverse would love to know, we love to see you trying new fun innovative ways of bringing awareness to social media capabilities.

Discount Divas everywhere will be singing your praises ;) Live, save and prosper!

Is Your Credit Union Offering Financial Vitamins…or Aspirin?

Posted by on Friday, 12 November, 2010

From Christopher Morris:

Warning: This post has more metaphors than a middle school poetry contest.

Are your credit union’s product offerings just another “great” financial rate or product in a sea of many? Or are you stopping your member’s financial pain?

In the latest Fast Company magazine, Chip and Dean Heath (authors of the must-reads Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard and Made to Stick) talk eloquently about the difference between “vitamin-quality” and “aspirin-quality” products and services.  In the piece, they note that “vitamins are nice; they’re healthy. But aspirin cures your pain; it’s not a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have.” Consider the difference between a book on pregnancy for husbands (useful information, but a vitamin) and the mega best-selling book on pregnancy for women, What to Expect When You’re Expecting (definitely an aspirin).

Credit unions across the country offer a mix of financial vitamins and aspirin. In my new role at the National Credit Union Foundation, I’ve been in awe of credit unions participating in the Foundation’s REAL Solutions program. Some examples of these REAL Solutions’ aspirin-quality products or services (with links for more information):

“I was about to lose everything– totally everything. A lot of institutions turned me away. I feel like my credit union rescued me.”

-  Ora Houston, member of Wright-Patt Credit Union in Ohio

Now that’s aspirin. Credit unions like Wright-Patt are meeting the financial needs of their members in a mutually beneficial way. Are you?

Most likely, you are. But maybe you could do a better job of letting your members know that they need your “financial aspirin.” If you look at most credit union advertisements, you’ll see lots of “come check out our great rate” or “free” this or that. Financial vitamins – useful, but you need stronger medicine to survive.

For example, are you offering financial education? Market it like aspirin – most people think they know a lot about personal finance (even though they don’t). Help them realize they need to know it. Will your product save a significant amount of money compared to competitors? Tell them. How will the product ease their financial pain?

“You’ve heard the old saying ‘If you invent a better mousetrap, the world will beat a path to your door.’ Don’t bet on it. The world’s felt need isn’t for a better mousetrap. It’s for a dead mouse.”

-  Chip and Dan Heath

At a conference I was at a few weeks ago, someone said, “Don’t try to outbank the banks.”

So be a credit union. A good one. Offer financial aspirin and spread that message.

Credit unions were founded for this very purpose.

Christopher Morris is the Director of Communications for the National Credit Union Foundation.  He used to work at the CUNA Councils and was on the original CUNAverse team. You can read his previous CUNAVerse posts here.

Looks Like a Boring Kind of Cheap Shirt

Posted by on Thursday, 4 November, 2010

Prior to starting at CUNA 7 years ago I had no clue what a credit union was.  My parents had always belonged to banks and when I was looking for a financial institution, ”bank” was the only brand I knew.  Even after my husband and I both had terribly negative experiences with our bank we stayed put because we didn’t realize there was a better choice.  I don’t remember ever being taught what a bank was, it’s just all that I ever knew. I wish that somebody had sold me on credit unions earlier on;  it would have saved me some terrible service experiences and lots of money spent on bank fees. 

Truth is, even after starting at CUNA, it took me some time to really get the fact that credit unions were such a great choice for consumers.  I still have plenty of friends that I haven’t been able to convince to leave their banks, and I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that like me a few years ago, banks are familiar to them, and thus perceived as the best choice.

I recently came across the following video which conveys the impact branding has at an early age.  This simple school project shows that at as early as grade school children begin equating the value of something with their knowledge of that something’s brand.   The older a person gets, the more this belief gets solidified regarding the brands they know and turn to. 

I think in some ways credit unions are like  the logo-less products in the video, many people don’t really understand what a credit union is so they see credit unions as a lesser option than a bank.   To overcome that, credit unions need to begin creating a loyalty to their brand at as early an age as possible.   Whether it’s through a partnership with local schools, a sponsorship of  certain youth events or strengthened relationships with current members to help ensure they are sharing their love of their credit union with their kids.  Credit unions need to be doing something to make sure children start seeing them as relevant, or years down the road they will have an even harder time trying to convince them that they are the best choice. 

In an article in Credit Union Magazine, CUNA executive vice president and chief operating officer, John Franklin shared that “it is estimated that today’s 90 mil­lion {credit union} members have 19 million children under 18 years old. Studies show the very best way to get loyal young members is through their parents’ memberships. Yet little progress is being made.”   

What are you and your credit union doing now to make sure today’s kids become future loyal members of your credit union?