Credit union digital marketing lessons from Will Smith

It’s ok to admit it.

You love to talk about about how great your credit union is.

Don’t be modest.

Just take a look at your most recent marketing campaign where you promoted things like your great rates.

“1.99% for 36 months!!!*”

Your amazing service.

“We have the best service west of the Mississippi.”

Your awesome product features.

“We’ve now launched our latest technology: mobile deposit.”

While this narrative may have attracted prospects to your credit union five years ago, things have changed.

And when you think about what has changed, you probably think about technology.

But that’s not the only thing that has changed.

People have changed.

You have changed.

I have changed.

We have changed.

The way we communicate.

The way we shop.

The way we buy.

Yes, it’s true this change has in been fueled in part by technology.

And because we have changed, your narrative about “great rates” and “amazing service” is falling on deaf ears for one reason.

People need help.

Not hype.

Will Smith understands this.

Recently at Cannes Lions, Will Smith recalled his younger years and one of his biggest flops of all time, Wild Wild West. He remarked, “I found myself promoting something because I wanted to win, versus promoting something because I believed it was helpful.”

He continued sharing, “Back in the ’80s and ’90s, you put out a trailer with all the explosions, and it took until Wednesday before people realized your movie was shit.”

In other words, the emphasis of these trailers (and the overall movie) was on the spectacle of special effects, not on characters that the audience could care about. As a result, audiences rejected many of these movies.

Hollywood’s focus was developing a narrative around a product (Will Smith) and not the consumer.

And Will Smith knows this when he stated, “You’re going to know right away if your product is meeting its promises. It’s like a new idea that we have to make good movies. If people don’t want it, you’re not going to be able to sell it. It was so explosive in my mind that selling, marketing, creating cannot be about me.”

Will’s right.

It’s not about you.

So take a moment and think about it.

What is your credit union selling?

And what story are you telling with your digital marketing?

Is it about hype?

Or is it about help?

Help first.

Sell second.

And you will rise above the commoditized promotion of “great rates” and “amazings service” to grow your credit union in a digital driven economy.


James Robert Lay

James Robert Lay

JAMES ROBERT LAY is one of the world’s leading digital marketing authors, speakers, and advisors for financial brands. As the founder and CEO of the Digital Growth Institute, he ... Web: Details