6 things credit unions should do with their marketing during an emergency
Credit unions are known for their commitment to passionately serve their members even when times get tough. No matter if you’re responding to a natural disaster or a pandemic, credit unions need to be able to continue to meet the needs of their members. Ultimately, those efforts contribute to the strength and financial recovery of our communities.
In times when members may not be able to have a face-to-face conversation with your team, it’s more important than ever to have an in-depth response strategy prepared and to implement a flawless communication plan. Start by focusing on the following six items:
1. Develop a marketing contingency plan.
It’s not enough to only have a well-defined communication policy. In times of a crisis, the market is volatile, consumer behavior is unexpected, and the industry, in general, will face sudden fluctuations. Therefore, evaluate the current market scenario and predict short- and long-term market behavior, and plan your marketing activities accordingly.
2. You need to choose the right communication channels to deliver information.
A dedicated webpage on your website to post updates regarding the crisis is a great way to provide relevant information and maintain an open line of communication with your market. You can then easily link to this webpage on your various social media platforms and email communication.
3. It’s time to take a professional approach to marketing communications.
The marketing and communications playing field has been reset. No longer can one take a casual approach to managing one’s brand or marketing initiatives. Especially in an ongoing crisis that will not go away soon. Make sure that both your internal and external marketing teams are ready and on the same page.
4. When it comes to social media, it’s time to pause and reflect.
This is no time to risk being tone-deaf with posts that ignore the challenges being faced by your market. Review scheduled posts and campaigns and pause them if necessary. For example, during a pandemic where your community may be sheltering in place, it’s probably not a good idea to post about the 5K you’re sponsoring this weekend. (Especially if it’s been canceled!) Remaining sensitive to member needs and doing what you can to assist them in ways that only you can is a great way to strengthen brand loyalty. Take a “we are all in this together” approach. Consider ramping up your digital member service efforts as more and more of your markets use those mediums to ask questions, register complaints, and make requests. Find ways to deliver on your promise!
5. Time to reflect: marketing strategies need to adjust.
The current pandemic will impact every sector and industry, including marketing, public relations, and social media. Take another look at the marketing campaigns that you have scheduled to launch in the next 90 days; do they still resonate given the current climate? Depending on the industry you serve, this might be a good time to go brand silent. Communicate only when absolutely necessary and in a way that is sensitive to your market’s needs and expectations. For example, make sure that any imagery you use takes the ever-changing environments that we live in into consideration; even imagery showing people hugging or in groups should be rethought. If you are currently contractually obligated to run ads on radio, TV, or the internet and unable to reschedule, perhaps consider donating that ad time/space to a local charity or organization working towards educating the public about the virus.
6. Focusing internally is a great way to make the most of a brand quarantine.
A good strategy is knowing when to communicate and when to stay silent. When in silent mode, put that time to good use by working on those lower-priority marketing projects that always seem to get put aside. Perhaps some internal crisis communications will better prepare your employees for some of the questions they are having to field on behalf of your organization. Other things to add to the marketing to-do list might include: SEO optimization, PR materials (update bios, headshots, fact sheets, etc.), Website redesign or update, Update sales/promotional collateral.
Co-authored by Kaley Gross
As everyone continues to adjust to the new conditions of COVID-19, we want to make sure you have the resources available to effectively communicate with your membership. Visit The Pod Advertising to download a FREE Communications Checklist and Coronavirus-related signage. We’ll even help you format or personalize these for your credit union at no charge.
Should you have any questions about these assets or need assistance formatting or personalizing them for your needs, please contact Chief Experience Officer Nick Chiamardas at (850) 345-9944 or firstname.lastname@example.org.