by: Ronaldo Hardy, CEO, Shell Geismar FCU
I can still remember 6 years ago when I was first introduced to MySpace. It was the thing to do back then. Everyone had one, and I wanted one too. As a matter of fact, I had two pages, one for my music, and a personal one. MySpace continued to grow, and grow, and grow. Then, all of a sudden other competitors like Facebook and Twitter began to grow until MySpace finally became almost obsolete.
How did that happen? How did the fad pass so quickly? What could MySpace have done differently? These are the thoughts I reflected on while writing this, and I came up with three small lessons we as credit unions can learn from MySpace.
1. Keep it simple
One of the reasons MySpace began to fail was because they got a little too complex and overwhelming for the consumers. The average page consisted of an extremely busy background, tons of songs, photos, and a friends popularity contest. In all truth, the platform was good for singers, but for the average person, it was too busy. Competitors like Facebook, and Twitter focused more on personal connections, and simplicity in delivery. There is nothing simpler than Twitter in my opinion, and people love it! We as credit unions have a simple foundation. We are here to help our members. If we keep this in mind, and at the forefront of all decisions, we won’t need gimmicks to survive.
2. We must remain current
Although we must remain simple, let’s not be of the mindset that we don’t have to adapt to changes in society. If MySpace would have found a way to adapt sooner, maybe they could have saved their company. Instead they set back hoping their methods would work. Once they started to change, it was already too late. People had already decided to move to other social networks by that time, and their attempts to adapt to their competitor’s strategies made them look desperate. Yes, we must run our credit unions in a manner that is wise and prudent, but we have to maintain a competitive edge. We have to adapt to new technology, and find ways to innovate quicker and smarter than banks. If not, we will be left behind.
3. Always find a way to recover
MySpace’s decline to all of us appeared to happen so rapidly. At one point they were a key player in the industry, and almost overnight they were obsolete. The biggest disappointment is that they did not find a way to recover quickly enough. Maybe they are working on a master plan right now to comeback. Who knows? As far as I’m concerned they are now irrelevant in the social media world. There will be times that we may fall behind as credit unions, but having the ability to recover quickly is what will sustain us. Many companies have struggled at some point and time, but the great ones find a way to reinvent themselves, and recover.
Ronaldo Hardy is no stranger to the financial community. Though he originally started his career in banking ten years ago, he was bitten by the credit union bug when he joined La Capitol Federal Credit Union in 2004. During his tenure in the financial industry he has served in several roles including Teller, Personal Banker, Loan Underwriter, Member Service Supervisor, Electronic Services Supervisor, Branch Manager/Business Development Officer, Sales Manager, and he currently serves as CEO of Shell Geismar FCU.
He is devoted to making a difference in the financial well being of people. He has a special desire to be a voice and leader for Generation Y in the credit union movement. Recently, he competed in CUES national search for the Next Top Credit Union Executive. He finished as runner up in the competition, and attended CUES CEO Institute I in April of 2011. His goal is to make an impact on the credit union movement for many years to come.