Public Awareness Spotlight: Oregon Community Credit Union

“Not only were our members passionate and thoughtful with their testimonials, but they also eloquently reflected what makes OCCU different.” – Deborah Mersino, Chief Marketing Officer

Messages from credit union members score more points with potential members, regulators and legislators than models, stock photos or glossy advertising. Every credit union marketer knows this. Yet getting those members to share their testimonials–-much less on video—is easier said than done.

Take a Page Out of Oregon Community Credit Union’s Playbook

The credit union put out a four-week call for member stories in June 2015. 

“We were amidst the first year of our brand refresh, so we had been taking a close look at the core of our brand – customer intimacy and connections,” said Deborah Mersino, Chief Marketing Officer. “We appreciate the remarkable stories and experiences of our members and set out to capture as many as possible.”

Mersino says the credit union took a multi-touch, multi-channel approach to the campaign outreach which included their electronic newsletter, targeted social media messages, homepage banners, mobile app messaging, in branch digital signage, emails to members and cards for front-line employees to give to enthusiastic members. The stories poured in.

“What was overwhelming to us, not just in marketing, but in the entire credit union, was the quality of the stories,” Mersino noted. “They were saying so eloquently what we hoped they would say…They had specific memories and moments of times in their lives when Oregon Community Credit Union had stepped up and decisively made a difference in their lives.”

Working with an Atlanta creative agency, Oregon Community produced a series of compelling member story videos. According to Mersino, stories are at the center of Oregon Community’s refreshed brand, “and we also captured and showcased the beauty of Oregon.” 


Tangible Millennial Outreach With a “WOW” Factor

The Oregon Community team, including CEO Mandy Jones, also walked their brand talk in an outreach campaign to millennials—the “OCCU Random Acts of Kindness and Tuition Giveaway.”

Fanning out across the University of Oregon campus and surrounding neighborhoods during Week of Welcome for new students, the team gave students and their parents an unforgettable introduction to the Credit Union Movement. Surprised students received everything from campus maps and flyers encouraging financial goals to iPads and bicycles.

In the past, Oregon Community had invested in tabling at various on-campus events. Knowing that research has shown that millennials respond well to experiential campaigns, Oregon Community made a decision to use their tabling investments directly toward giveaways.

“Sometimes,” Mersino noted, “it’s a matter of turning something upside down and thinking differently.” 

The surprise giveaway moments were captured on videos, which garnered more than 1.5 million impressions and more than 240,000 views in a mere two weeks on social media platforms, including YouTube, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

The member stories and surprise videos now provide OCCU with an arsenal of resonate media as the credit union prepares for next steps in 2016. The plan calls for mobile, online and outreach through social channels, with member stories reflecting the brand promise. 

Editor’s note: Deborah Mersino will share details of these memorable campaigns with attendees to the Marketing, Business Development & Community Outreach Networking Council on February 17. Attendance is possible at seven video conference locations: Tigard and Eugene, Oregon; SeaTac and Spokane, Washington; and Lewiston, Pocatello and Boise, Idaho. Registration is open online.

Questions about this story? Contact Lynn Heider: 503.350.2225,

Posted in Marketing & Communications.