Mr. Rogers on credit unions 3: It’s a neighborhood

How did Fred Rogers anchor children (and their parents) to his incredible neighborhood? Simply put, he did not value style over substance. Everyone’s favorite neighbor replaced the flashy production values that made other television franchises a success with a successful effort at building an honest relationship with each viewer. He addressed our specific concerns. He introduced us directly into his world by taking us on trips to meet his friends and by introducing guests who stopped by. These are all things we do when we are in a relationship with someone we care about.

As do most credit unions, I’m sure you care about your members. How can you replicate Mister Rogers’ success at creating an emotional connection on a personal level?

First, let’s start with why. A recent study by Motista showed the importance that emotional connections play in building a relationship with consumers. Of those surveyed, people who were emotionally connected with a brand were four times more likely to proactively seek that brand to fill a need. How great would it be if each one of your members called your credit union to get preapproved for an auto loan before even stepping foot on a dealer’s lot? The Motista consumers were also fifty percent more likely to advocate for and recommend the brand to their friends and family during casual conversation. So those “refer a friend” campaigns you’re running? You wouldn’t need to rely on those for membership growth. Take all of those $50 bills you would hand out for the campaign and invest them in serving while making an emotional connection with your existing members.

You know why focusing on serving your existing members, keeping them satisfied, and creating an emotional connection is important but how do you do it? It’s not easy. It can’t be done quickly—at least not if you’re doing it properly. There is no Dummies Handbook to Making an Emotional Connection with Your Members but I can offer three things to start building the foundation to be successful:

  1. Build your brand on one idea that demonstrates a strong (and relevant) value proposition that your members could not easily get anywhere else.
  2. Focus your efforts (and budget) on fulfilling this value proposition. If you’re promising it in your messaging, be sure that each department and each team member at your credit union can fulfill that promise.
  3. Don’t stray from your focus over time. Control your marketing ADD. Keep it simple. Above all else, keep it consistent. You can always innovate and upgrade your brand, but you must always keep it differentiated from your competitors.

Mr. Rogers had a true gift for being able to establish an emotional connection with each of us, even if we had never met him. We all believed we had a relationship with him — a relationship built on caring and appreciation. That’s what keeps us, and generations beyond us, coming back for more. Your credit union could do the same, just follow in the footsteps of everyone’s favorite neighbor, Fred Rogers.

“And loving other people is food for the spirit.” –Fred Rogers

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

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