Creative Process Underway for “Open Your Eyes” Initiative


CUNA’s billboard design examples of the Open Your Eyes initiative.

Creative production began this week on a national, digital initiative that will target 33- to 54-year-old non-credit union members. “Open Your Eyes to a Credit Union” seeks to put credit unions in the consideration set for those consumers who are making major financial decisions in their current life stage.

Credit union leaders who attended last week’s “Executives@Skamania” summit learned more in a panel led by Danielle Sittu, Vice President, Communications and Marketing, Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA).

A national survey of 3,000 non-credit-union members and 800 non-members in the Northwest proved credit unions don’t have an “awareness” problem – most consumers know credit unions are financial services providers. At issue is an understanding that nearly everyone is eligible to join, and that today’s local credit unions can meet all their financial service needs.

Execs@Skamania group image

Danielle Sittu, NWCUA Vice President of Communications and Marketing, Douglas Kiker, CUNA Chief Strategic Communications Officer, Deborah Mersino, Chief Marketing & Experience Officer with Oregon Community Credit Union, and Troy Stang, NWCUA President and CEO, present on CUNA’s national awareness initiative at Execs@Skamania.

“They have this notion credit unions are old fashioned and not contemporary. We need to shift consumer perception,” said Douglas Kiker, Chief Strategic Communications Officer, Credit Union National Association (CUNA). “This industry says things in a million different ways. There is no consistency in messaging.”

The Open Your Eyes initiative will consistently target non-member consumers, and its accompanying Messaging Guide – available to member credit unions now – will help marketers speak the same language.

Deborah Mersino, Chief Marketing & Experience Officer at Oregon Community Credit Union, has taken a 360-degree view of the initiative, both from a credit union executive’s perspective and in her role as Chair of the NWCUA Strategic Market Share Task Force.

“I want to applaud this initiative for working ardently to develop creative materials that are reflective of various regions of the country,” Mersino said. She noted the Task Force pushed for flavors of the Northwest in portions of the initiative that will be seen online here throughout the region.

“The Task Force is very excited and is looking forward to supporting this initiative on your behalf,” Mersino added. “Participating in this lifts all boats.”

The Task Force and NWCUA have been deeply engaged since the initiative’s inception, helping to direct the consumer research, and providing significant input during the creative process.

“The NWCUA and its member credit unions have been more than at the table, they have helped us to set the table,” Kiker said.

Troy Stang, NWCUA President and CEO, assured credit union leaders the creative content will be relevant to the Northwest.

“The NWCUA Strategic Market Share Task Force is our eyes and ears of the NWCUA membership on this awareness topic,” Stang said. He underscored that Sittu and the Association’s communication team will guide the Northwest rollout of Open Your Eyes and is advising CUNA in its current creative phase.

The Northwest region now enjoys 50 to 55 percent market penetration – ahead of the national average of about 36 percent. All regions, Stang noted, should support the Open Your Eyes initiative.

CUNA believes the initiative will need to raise $100 million to support at least three years of consistent messaging.

Sustainability in messaging, Stang noted, is what will place credit unions in the consumers’ mind and consideration set, and ultimately attract new members.

“The whole intent from day one was to not create a one-and-done campaign but rather a sustainable awareness initiative,” Stang said.

More information about the initial creative content and funding for the first rendition of the initiative will be shared at the NWCUA’s annual MAXX convention, Oct. 16-18 in Tacoma. Registration is open online.

Editor’s note: Executives@Skamania attendees also enjoyed dialogue about FinTech, the changing face of Shared Branching, and best practices to be agile in the digital age. Missed it? Save the date for next summer’s Executive Summit to be held in Sun Valley, Idaho, Aug. 13-15.

Posted in Advocacy News, Marketing & Communications.