by Lyle Heller, CU-VO
Hidden persuaders and rapid cognition previously discussed now takes us to butterflies and your credit union. We are continuing an exploration of communication and credit union success. To restate, our interest is communication with people who become members and members that use credit union services.
We discussed word types that may have an impact on responses by members (or prospective members). Icons and other factors contributing to “success” were considered.
As you might have guessed, there are other factors. Some are mechanical oversights that almost guarantee failure, such as the “I can’t believe that happened” incident that follows.
A business website is reviewed by the author from time to time. It was noted the “contact us” page, which had not been visited in the previous year, suddenly had about 150 visits. Investigation revealed the visits related to a recent regulatory change handled by the business.
But, none of the contact attempts were received. It turned out that the “contact us” mailbox had filled up months earlier. The business was so used to no visitor using the contact us that they did not recognize when actual attempts occurred.
This example illustrates a little something that that should not happen.
Why butterflies? Within our lifetime there has been a discovery of the “butterfly effect”. You may have heard it as a butterfly in Japan lands on a flower, releases, pollen, people sneeze and a thunderstorm occurs in the US. Others may recognize it as the particular shape that is drawn by a set of equations known as the Mandelbrot set.
A key point of the discovery is a small change in beginning assumptions or actions can have a major change in the end result, such as a thunderstorm. Recognition of the concept and subsequent developments has resulted in a remarkable ability to predict weather, among other uses. Some people might say “going viral” is an example of the concept.
Many are aware of Wikipedia, a non-profit that relies on donations. Each year they must raise about $17 million. This past year more than 100 differently worded appeals were used and results analyzed. The most effective appeal obtained 15 times more funds than the next most effective. ($47,000 per day versus $3,000) Some messages had as few as 19 total donations!
The two appeals are: “Please read: A personal appeal from Wikipedia Founder Jimmy Wales” and “Admit it — without Wikipedia you could never have finished that report!” These messages are ten and eleven words in length, but results differed by a factor of 15.
Wikipedia evaluated results of different message on an hour by hour basis. Minor changes in initial conditions had significantly different results. Words matter and impact visitors differently and Wikipedia found that “Less is more!”
Previously, we alluded to the concept of web visitor focus. Visitors tend to look at text, then to images of people, and then “hold” on images of people that they know.
So, let’s add “body language”. Depending on your source, researchers indicate that 60% to 93% of communication occurs from “body language”. Just imagine if body language contributes only 60%, Wikipedia’s results might have been nearly twice as good!
Body language can be captured in still images. But look at the images used in political campaigns to see the gamesmanship that goes on. Opponent pictures occur just at the moment of grimace and as a result appear ridiculous. Meanwhile candidates are caught at the most friendly or statesmanlike or whatever point is being made.
Of course our credit union’s images are carefully selected. But, do they reflect body language? Have we become so inundated by political propaganda that we dismiss these images?
Growth of video use, such as YouTube, is well documented. But, we are a “sound bite” population, and many YouTube videos are abandoned before completion.
Words matter, small changes can have dramatically different results, and body language is generally considered to be a major factor in obtaining results. Very short video overlays are an effective way to accomplish this.
Just like butterflies, initial connections with credit union visitors must be quick because major results can occur.
Make sure to check out Mr. Heller’s past articles:
- Blink… Did Your Credit Union Catch that Opportunity?
- The “Hidden Persuaders” of Credit Union Communication
This series is authored by Lyle Heller of CU-VO. Mr. Heller holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from University of Wisconsin – Whitewater and a Masters of Business Administration in Production and Operations from Marquette University. Mr. Heller served as Executive Vice President of two CUNA organizations. He has lectured in at the university level in Quantitative Decision Analysis, Simulation, Systems Analysis, and Marketing for more than ten years. Additionally, he was a top-ranked winner of the 2005 Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan contest. CU-VO is a strategic partner of CUNA Strategic Services to provide video overlays to credit unions. Learn more at www.cu-vo.com and follow CUVOTweet.