By: Ronaldo Hardy, Shell Geismar FCU
I recently ran across a blog that I wrote a little more than two years ago for the Next Top Credit Union Exec blog. As I read it, I realized these thoughts still have merit in today’s credit union climate. I hope you enjoy.
Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah! Is this what Gen Y’ers are hearing when we speak? Are we speaking the wrong language? Are we understood? Are we having the effect that we want to have?
Everyone can think of at least one time where someone was talking to you, but you didn’t hear a word that they said. Either something else was occupying your mind, or what they were saying was of no value to you. Whatever the case may have been for you, in that moment, all you heard was blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Sometimes you even wanted to let them know that you were not paying attention to what they were saying. Is this the case with credit unions and Gen Y? Are we speaking in a manner that Gen Y’ers will overlook? Have we taken a direct look at what we should be saying?
From what I have read, and things I have heard over time, it appears that sometimes we think we are targeting this generation when we really aren’t. Ask yourself, “Has our credit union made a commitment to the Gen Y audience?”
Now, if you answered “yes” because of the following reasons, you may want to think again.
“We offer Mobile Banking!”
“We offer a Student Account!”
“We offer many Online Services!”
And I’m sure there are more……
All of the products and services mentioned above are simply that – they are products and services that are offered everywhere. Because of their availability in so many places, Gen Y’ers like me have grown to expect these things. We expect you to offer mobile banking, online services, and student accounts, but simply offering those products and services doesn’t mean we will come to you. The challenge is innovating your products, services, and marketing messages in a way that will make us hear you, and want to be a part of your organization.
What things should you concentrate on?
We want to feel empowered! Some would say we have huge egos, and in some cases, this may be true. If so, then play into that. Offer us products that will cater to our ego, and our need to be in charge. Don’t just tell us what to do; instead, let us make the choice. Also, please push forward the message and importance of ownership. That is a distinct difference between credit unions and banks. By catering to the need of Gen Y’ers to feel empowered, we as credit unions can begin to reach the next generation.
Contrary to popular belief, we know that we don’t know everything. This is why we are counting on you. We need your help and guidance in making the right financial choices. Develop programs that will educate us, and guide us in making the right financial decisions. This will cause us to feel that you care, and that we can count on you to have the right answers to our questions.
- Get us Emotionally Connected!
We love to be connected to something that makes a difference. We want our actions to have an impact on our jobs, communities, and even in this nation. This is one of the largest opportunities that credit unions have with us. Credit unions really do make a difference in the lives of many people. Get us to connect with the fact that a credit union is a non-profit that is concerned about the financial well-being of members. Show us that you care, and how you have and will continue to make a difference in the lives of others. Let us join that movement. Tell us how we can help in making that difference. If you can get us on your team, we will do a lot for you. Don’t simply create a campaign, start a movement!
Also, find other avenues to reach out to us that don’t always involve product and/or service messages. No one likes someone who only calls when they need something. Talk to me about other things, things that matter to me. Invite me places just to hang out and have fun. You get the point. By showing that you care about more than just our business, we will be more prone to bring you our business. It’s the same principle we use when networking. Get to know the person first, before you try to sell him or her any products or services.
These are some of the things our team is taking into consideration as we develop new products, services, and programs. We want to make sure that as we reach out to the next generation, we do it in a manner that they hear us. If not, all they will hear is blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, and that won’t get us anywhere.