Cooperative Ad Campaign May Hold Key to Promoting Credit Union Message to Consumers Weary of Big Bank Fees

The big banks’ increasing checking account charges and debit card user fees present a timely opportunity for credit unions to grow membership. The competition seems to be handing a golden egg to the not-for-profit financial industry, but the question is whether credit unions can collaborate to promote the movement while preserving their own unique identities and brands.

Kristina Walters believes they can. The VP of Marketing for WSECU often wears an additional hat uniting diverse credit unions to work together on a single message. “The Credit Unions of Washington” launched collaborative broadcast campaigns and community events in the past several years. The ad campaigns focused on increasing awareness of all credit unions, and events such as “Kites Over Washington” were widely covered by regional media.

The organization now wants to become “The Credit Unions of the Northwest” and expand collaborative marketing to Oregon credit unions.

“Credit Unions need to be top of mind when people are looking for better financial resources and solutions,” Walters said. “The recent introduction of the five-dollar debit fee by Bank of America is a case in point—people are ready to switch.”

The Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) will host Walters and interested credit unions from Oregon and Washington at an informational meeting on Oct. 25 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Association’s Beaverton offices, located at 8205 Creekside Place, suite 220.

Bill Grant, President and Strategy Chief for the Big Bang Electrical agency, will share examples of previous campaigns and discuss the marketing messages that may appeal to consumers in 2012.

The cooperative advertising group will also share its strategy related to cost-effective media buying and pricing for interested credit unions.

The California-Nevada Credit Union League and the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association have reported success raising credit union awareness with collaborative campaigns in recent years. The cooperative approach is certainly not new to Oregon. Mid-Oregon credit unions have engaged in collaborative campaigns, and Oregon CEOs took out a memorable full-page print ad when Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP) funds were offered to bail out big banks.

The reach of social media, tighter marketing budgets and the mistakes being made in the banking industry might drive more credit unions into the collaborative pool in the next year.

“We can accomplish so much more as a group than we can individually,” Walters said.


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Posted in Marketing & Communications.