Leverage the power of local
“Local” has become much more than a word that defines proximity or size. Local embodies the way people think, feel and connect with their communities. Local is a way of life, especially for Millennials, and local businesses are thriving from the increasing trend to stand for something bigger and support one another. Communities are coming together to compete with large corporations, chains and commercialism. Consumers are looking to rebuild the cooperative spirit of “People Helping People,” and this connection with the concept of local represents a significant advantage for credit unions.
How can credit unions leverage all things local?
Banks are spending billions of dollars to be on the cutting edge of technology. However, according to a recent MoneyTips survey, only 43 percent of banks’ current Millennial customers are planning to stay with them long-term. For Millennials, it is not about the latest and greatest widget or app; it is about how technology can enhance the overall member experience. We live in a digital world. But building relationships and leveraging the right technology that fits into members’ lives is more important than the technology itself.
Size matters much more than service. Service is the foundation for building lasting relationships with a younger generation at every human and digital touchpoint. Local breweries and coffee houses provide more than just the “cool” factor. They operate on the idea of building relationships with their customers and using those relationships to connect customers with their brand and with one another. While it is more likely than not that Starbucks will misspell the name on a cup of its pricey coffee, a local coffee shop takes the time to learn the names of all its customers and can also tell them with confidence the exact location where its beans are grown. Millennials take pride in connecting with real people, genuine stories and authentic experiences like these.
Credit unions of every size should think and act “local.” Most Millennials do not know what makes credit unions different than big banks. They may even see them as the dinosaurs of the financial industry, with less technology and an exclusive membership. Why? Because the majority of credit unions are putting too much energy towards trying to compete with banks at a products and services level and are not applying enough energy on the “why” of credit unions. Credit unions offer unique solutions like shared branching, annual dividends and pride in local member ownership. Credit unions are real people helping other people reach their financial goals. It is time to get back to the task of marketing the special sauce that makes credit unions truly different.