What credit unions can learn from Grumpy Cat

Perhaps you’ve heard of Grumpy Cat and Doug the Pug. You know, those lovable stars who found themselves catapulted from obscurity to fame and fortune almost overnight? (If you have no idea what we’re talking about, ask a Millennial co-worker.) Yes, one is a cat and the other is a dog. But they’re more successful than most people – and many companies – could ever hope to be. It’s crazy, right?

As strange as it may be that a pet can become not only an Internet sensation but also a multi-million dollar business, here’s something that might seem even more shocking: your credit union can learn from them.

Here are 5 ways being more like Grumpy Cat or Doug the Pug (your choice) can help your organization from a strategic perspective.

  1. Find your angle.

There are a lot of cute pets in the world, and a lot of owners posting pictures of them to social media. Most are successful in that limited, sharing-photos-of-your-family-vacation-with-the-world kind of way. What makes Grumpy Cat and Doug the Pug different (besides a few natural attributes) is that they each have an angle that is unique, recognizable, and integral to their brand. Grumpy Cat is, well, grumpy (kind of like a feline Debbie Downer). Doug the Pug parodies pop culture. What is your brand’s defining belief or characteristic?

  1. Be consistent.

Once you’ve identified your unique angle, you’ve got to work it. Strong brands are built through consistency. That doesn’t mean doing (or sharing) the same thing over and over, it means keeping things fresh within the framework that identifies you. Your actions, communication, and engagement should all align with your core brand identity – even when you’re trying new things. Once you’ve experienced a few Grumpy Cat or Doug the Pug memes, you know what you can expect from them. If you’re a fan, you keep going back for more because they keep things interesting. That’s how your members should feel about your brand.

  1. Be relatable.

People relate to others who share similar values, experiences, and personalities. And what pet owner doesn’t secretly attribute snarky comments to their pets? Beyond that, both Grumpy Cat and Doug the Pug comment on everyday life in a way that resonates with their audiences. It’s not just about knowing what you want to say, it’s also about understanding what people want to hear and how you can say it in a way they’ll identify with. Credit unions can be relatable through their communications, customer service, and community involvement (just to name a few).

  1. Be engaging.

Grumpy Cat and Doug the Pug (or at least their owners/managers) are very attentive to their online presence. They’ve selected social media channels that work well for them and they maintain a steady supply of fresh content. They also monitor engagement and respond to comments. How many credit unions can say the same about their online (and offline) interactions with their audience?

  1. Rely on experts.

Let’s face it: no matter how great Grumpy Cat and Doug the Pug are, they wouldn’t have gotten to where they are today without a good support team. Especially because they’re pets. Likewise, your credit union needs to have the right people with the right skills in order to succeed. Take the time to evaluate where you are, where you want to go, and whether your current staff has the necessary capability and tools to take you there.

The bottom line is this: most businesses aren’t as naturally lovable as a quirky pet, but there’s something lovable about your organization or else you wouldn’t exist. Taking a few simple lessons from the success of Grumpy Cat and Doug the Pug can help you share that lovable brand of yours more effectively, strengthen relationships with your current loyalists, and win new fans.

Megan Miranda

Megan Miranda

Megan Miranda is the Director of Creative Strategy at Third Degree Advertising, a leading strategic marketing firm that specializes in helping progressive credit unions successfully navigate growth and transition in ... Web: www.thirddegreeadv.com Details