Your strongest defense against economic chaos: Bulletproof trust

Becoming a solid, go-to resource for everyday consumers doesn’t happen overnight—especially in the wake of today’s latest economic changes. With costs and rates rising yet again, building this form of unwavering consumer confidence can feel like a challenge.

Lasting trust isn’t just about having great customer service and great rates. It’s also about messaging. What you say and do in the public sphere is equally important. With the right strategy, your credit union can make a lasting impression that strengthens your brand in the eyes of members and everyday consumers.

Stand up. Act Fast.

We’ve all seen the numbers. Rising food costs, rising inflation, rising mortgage rates – it’s a lot to take in. When looking at the countless articles circulating on the shifting economy, these numbers can feel like an abstract concept. But, the everyday impact is all too real.

Trust erodes when organizations fail to act. Whether or not a consumer comes to you in the future depends on your choices now.

Take some, but not too much, time to think about how this latest economic shift impacts the everyday lives of people in your area. From there, it’s much easier to find a cause or organization to support that makes an impact. When you reach out to make a difference on a local level, people notice for all the right reasons.

Strength in Numbers

Bigger isn’t always better—and people know it. Today, 76% of consumers see smaller businesses as more trustworthy than their larger counterparts.

It’s time to rethink the phrase “strength in numbers.” Usually, it applies to the sheer amount of people associated with a cause or company. But that’s a matter of perspective. There are plenty of other factors that have little to do with market share:

  • Strength in years: When was your credit union established? Chances are, it started in the last century. According to a recent study conducted by Fujitsu, consumers report greater trust in financial institutions that are more established compared to newer brands. In times of uncertainty, consumers want to know you have seen it all. This is the ideal time to celebrate a big anniversary, share archival photos on social media, and remind people that you know how to weather any storm.
  • Strength in statistics: Not all rates are created equal. On average, credit unions still have lower interest rates compared to the average bank. Make it a point to educate consumers on how it’s still possible to get a great deal with the right financial partner.
  • Strength in services: There’s more to credit unions than checking and savings. Do your members truly know all the services you offer? Using highly targeted campaigns can make sure you inform the right people about the right services for their financial needs.

Leveraging the trust consumers have in smaller businesses is all about knowing your strengths. Investigating exactly what consumers associate with your brand is critical. Plenty has changed over the past few years. It’s possible that audiences see you in a new light. If it’s been a while since your last in-market study, now is the time to investigate. Member surveys and target audience research can help you know exactly what messaging will truly resonate.

With the world changing at a breakneck speed, thought leadership efforts let audiences know you are a resource they can trust. Live digital town halls, AMAs, and sponsored content in local publications can position your credit union as an accessible expert on all things finance.

Inventive Incentives

Successful product promotions don’t just happen. They’re the result of strategic research. What are the biggest hurdles consumers face when making major financial decisions? How does your credit union fit into this process?

Think beyond offering a good deal. Positioning yourself as a problem solver with even the slightest tweaks to the typical product promotion:

  • Auto loans: Gas guzzlers are a pain in the wallet. Instead of just offering a cash bonus for an auto loan, make it a bonus to use for fuel. Whether that’s a gift card to an easily accessible station or a check, this specialized incentive turns a basic auto loan into a reason to choose your credit union. You can also offer incentives for members looking to skip the pump and go electric. Is there an EV charging station you can sponsor in your area? Take a look!
  • Debt consolidation: 40% of Americans in credit card debt don’t know their interest rate. Encouraging members to consolidate their debt into one monthly payment can help members boost their financial health. Some credit unions offer a certain percentage off a member’s lowest qualifying rate with great success. Offering this incentive for a limited time can create a sense of urgency for consumers looking to lower their monthly payments.
  • Holiday loans: Analysts believe prices for everyday goods won’t drop down anytime soon, even when inflation levels off. What does that mean for the holidays? Offering lower rates on card purchases made in the fall and winter or specialized holiday loans help can members looking to save money.

In many ways, thoughtful incentives are also a brand messaging tool. They illustrate how your credit union prioritizes the needs of members. When it comes to fostering trust, showing is always better than telling.

Rapid economic change is a challenge—especially in the financial world. However, credit unions were built for this moment. This is an ideal time to prove your worth to audiences. Bulletproof trust is built when times get tough, when people need help the most. With the right strategy, it’s possible to keep communities financially healthy, meet the needs of your members, and strengthen brand identity all at the same time.

Ben Prager

Ben Prager

Prior to forming Prager Creative, Ben worked with design studios, branding firms and advertising agencies to push great strategy and design for all his projects. His experience with all aspects ... Web: Details