Making Your Credit Union Brand a Bridge of Social Distance

by: Brian Nutt, President/CEO, Captive Indoor Media

In the age of Twitter and Facebook, the buzz of the Marketing world is Social Media but an argument can be made that it should be about Social Distance.  Social Distance, in its most basic description, can be defined as the change in interaction between 2 groups as information about one another is gained.  It makes sense that as more information is made available, the two groups migrate towards a closer relationship but we don’t have to rely on instinct alone.  Research validates this for us

A study done by Iris  Bohnet and Bruno Frey in 1999 called “Social Distance and Other-Regarding Behavior in Dictator Games” done at the University of Zurich draws interesting conclusions on social behavior that can be utilized as marketers review the relationship of their brand with their consumer.  In this case, the study focused on how participants of one group chose to share $10 they controlled with a second group that had no choice in the matter.  Both groups were made up of students volunteering to participate in the study.

To start, the first group received no information on the second and on average only offered to share with the other 26% of their money.  Next, group one was allowed to see what the second looked like and the share increased to 39%.  When personal information was shared, the offer jumped to 52%.   And finally, when 2 way communication was allowed, 71% of group one chose to share at least 50% of their money with group two.  In effect, the less people knew of each other and the greater the social distance between them, the less likely they were going to share with one another.  The same can surely be said of a Brand and its connection with its intended consumer.

So ask yourself how your brand connects with consumers in a personal way to reduce the natural social distance that exists before you have been introduced to one another.  Is it possible to give a Credit Union brand a personality the marketplace can identify with before they reveal themselves for 2 way communication?  Sure it is.

Consider how the major brands of the world interact with consumers.  Most people that don’t own an iPhone know the personality of Apple.  The same goes for Nike.  They may not own a Nike pair of shoes but most know what it means socially to wear Nike apparel.  Do you think the same can be said for a person without a checking account at your Credit Union?  Can the average person draw a personal connection to doing business with your institution before they have made themselves visible to you?  If the answer is no, it may be time to take an inventory of the ways your brand reaches out to both current and prospective members.  Find ways to share personal information about your Brand and enable the same exchange from your Membership.  That step alone will bring you closer to each other.

Brian Nutt, President/CEO, Captive Indoor Media
After graduating from Marquette University with degrees in Advertising and Spanish, Brian began his formal career managing the international sales strategy for Fire King International.  In 1999, Brian was recruited by Global Crossing Telecommunications where he gained his technical background.  With a focus on Fortune 500 accounts in the financial industry, he consistently produced results in the top 10 company-wide.  After leaving Global Crossing, he founded a non-traditional marketing company called Feet on the Street. Today, through Brian’s vision and leadership, Captive Indoor Media has quickly become a leader in the community financial institution digital signage market with installations across all 50 states, Guam, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Brian Nutt

Brian Nutt

After graduating from Marquette University with degrees in Advertising and Spanish, Brian began his formal career managing the international sales strategy for Fire King International. In 1999, Brian was recruited ... Web: Details