For years, decades even, credit unions have asked the seemingly unsolvable question: “What is the best way to market the credit union brand?” For as much as the industry has grown and evolved since the creation of the first credit union, many people to this day do not understand what we are and what cooperatives stand for. Data from CUNA suggests that 64% of all non-members are not familiar with credit unions.
An inspired idea
Tom Kane, CEO/President of the Illinois Credit Union System, was working with the CUNA Awareness Committee on exactly this issue, looking for ways to educate and excite people about credit unions. Kane noticed much of the conversation seemed to fall back on paid ads and promotions, with few new ideas being brought to the table. He, however, wanted something creative and original. Something that did not boil down to another empty ad on social media but was instead inspired by the very people it was meant for.
“We had to tackle many questions on how best to go about it,” said Staci Hering, ICUL Director of Outreach and Engagement. “We kept wondering, ‘How do we make a different kind of awareness campaign? One that’s really organic, without this paid backing behind it? How do we make it something that really comes from the heart?’”
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