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East Coast Credit Unions Gain Ally in Third Degree Advertising

With spiking consumer demand for alternatives to traditional banks, credit unions are stepping out of the shadows and into the public forefront. As credit unions move aggressively to leverage their advantages over banks, they’re seeking guidance and ideas. National marketing communications firm Third Degree Advertising has branched out from its Midwest roots to meet this demand, opening a Durham-based office to strategically service an East Coast credit union clientele.

“We’ve been seeing a trend gain momentum over the last ten years where credit unions are finding their confidence and need to define themselves versus banks,” said Third Degree CEO Roy Page. “This new-found, publicly proud voice has been inspired by an increasingly competitive financial landscape in which bank wrong-doings have been so publicly acknowledged.”

Page said that in addition to smarter marketing, credit unions are becoming more progressive with the development of product offerings such as high-interest checking, business development services, robust online banking, enhanced mortgage lending services, and investment service company partnerships.

“This isn’t your grandfather’s credit union any longer,” said Page. “Combine that with a ‘people helping people’ altruistic philosophy aimed at serving the everyday person, and it becomes a question of why anyone would choose a for-profit, fee-hungry bank.”

THE UN-BANK: THIRD DEGREE’S CREATIVE PHILOSOPHY AT WORK

For Page, this stark distinction between banks and credit unions is a huge advantage when working with credit unions to craft positioning strategies, as seen with the creative campaign Third Degree developed for Northwest Georgia Credit Union. “At their core, credit unions have a member focus and member-driven philosophy,” said Page. “We believe in this philosophy, and use our knowledge and experience to help them build their brands and expand their customer base. We meet credit unions on their turf – in the same way they meet their valued members.”

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TEN YEARS OF EXPERIENCE TRANSPLANTED TO RALEIGH-DURHAM

Oklahoma City-based Third Degree is the only North Carolina firm with the depth of credit union marketing experience and national presence of its kind. Through the agency’s new Durham branch, the entire East Coast has access to Third Degree’s thought leadership, personalized service and practical marketing programs. “We bridge the gap between strategy and execution,” said Page. “Our experience shows us that credit unions want more than great ideas – they want help in turning ideas into practical programs that drive membership and create business opportunities. By becoming a part of their team, we help credit unions think, and more importantly, do. Our practical products and turn-key solutions took a decade to develop, and we’re excited to share our experience and strategy with our new partners.”

PRIME LOCATION TO “STIR” UP IDEAS

Third Degree is bringing its tradition of hosting dynamic strategy sessions, known as STIR sessions, to Durham. STIRs gather non-competing credit unions together to tackle industry issues, discuss real strategies, and create plans of action. The new Durham branch, located in the recently 
revitalized American Tobacco District, offers an inspiring atmosphere in which to conduct business and service clients.

“Our unique work space has a powerful creative energy to it,” said Page, who describes Third Degree as a face-to-face firm. “We love to entertain clients in-house, and we also make frequent visits to our clients. The Durham branch offers the perfect location from which to do both.” Entertainment options within walking distance include the Performing Arts Center, The Durham Bulls Triple A baseball, great restaurants and shopping.

Consistently ranked among the top places to live, work and start a new business, North Carolina is home to many top 100 credit unions and regional health care service providers, another area of core competency for Third Degree. The area is innately innovative, with several major universities positively influencing a talent pool as well as commerce, technology and healthcare. All of this bodes very well for Third Degree’s long-term plans for growth and talent acquisition.

FINANCIAL LITERACY: A KEY PART OF THE CREDIT UNION PICTURE

Third Degree’s new Durham branch is also home to Banzai, a Third Degree strategic partner.

Through the Banzai financial literacy program, credit unions now have the ability to easily implement a financial literacy program within their gamut of services – and utilize this educational tool as a means of growing membership. Banzai is a proven financial literacy tool, already implemented in over 600 schools by 1,300 teachers nationwide.

ABOUT THIRD DEGREE

Third Degree is a strategy and marketing company that helps large credit unions differentiate themselves from banks. By uncovering a client’s unique and compelling story and sharing it where it will create motion and emotion, our approach leads to membership expansion and retention, increased product utilization and market share growth beyond the typical SEG market.

For more information contact Roy Page at Roy@ThirdDegreeAdv.com or call 1-888-871-3729.


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