Mr. Rogers on credit unions 2: Staying relevant to multiple generations

Culture changes. Every year, there are new words added to the dictionary, new regulations added to the books, and new songs to be sung. Some credit unions are lost in the hope to hold on to yesteryear. Some are hell-bent on chasing the shiny new objects. Which is the right way to serve your members, young and old? Mr. Rogers would say both.

Fred Rogers’ show debuted in 1968 and aired until 2001. Surprisingly, very little changed in his appearance, his delivery, or his message during the three decades his show aired. So how did Mr. Rogers stay relevant to appeal to multiple generations with such success?

The Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood brand consistently stood as a calm island in the changing sea of culture. When studied closely, there were many shifts in the nuances of his shows—from the anxieties he addressed to the topics he covered—but Mr. Rogers always found a way to address them from the peaceful and gracious stance that people came to expect from him. So what can credit unions learn from Mr. Rogers about relevancy through many generations?

Stand firm in service. Credit Unions should be responsive to cultural shifts. You should have your eyes and ears on the latest changes, but do so in a way that always remembers why consumers need you. When you do this, you naturally respect their desires in the process. Remember why your credit union was chartered. There was a need. There still is. In his caring way, Mr. Rogers pointed in the right direction. “In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers.” While the needs may be different or the way you solve members’ financial problems to help them achieve their dreams is different, the demand for financial institutions that are filling needs otherwise unmet by for-profit institutions is there. It always will be. As Mr. Rogers said, “One of the greatest dignities of humankind is that each successive generation is invested in the welfare of each new generation.”

Go. Invest in human capital. Mr. Rogers proved it will return to you exponentially.

Bo McDonald

Bo McDonald

Bo McDonald is president of Your Marketing Co. A marketing firm that started serving credit unions nearly a decade ago, offering a wide range of services including web design, branding, ... Web: Details