STCU Dives Deep into Member Data to Launch Memorable Ad Campaign


When cruising down the streets of Spokane, you’ll encounter several big, bold, punchy purple billboards, courtesy of STCU. The credit union took a deep dive into anonymous member data to create an engaging brand awareness campaign – and it’s resonating.

One billboard reads, “Dear member with an account named ‘lolzzz wut iz savings,’ every little bit counts …” Another billboard reads, “Dear member who went from Home Depot to Urgent Care — then Poole’s for $3 beer day, we like your style.”

It’s all part of the credit union’s “Dear Member” campaign, launched in February. It’s rooted in real member data and uses eye-catching branding to highlight member stories in short, humorous sentences. It’s the first time the credit union has used business intelligence to build member stories, said STCU’s Media and Communications Manager, Dan Hansen.

Initially, the advertisements were meant as a fun way to support STCU’s branding, products, and services, or to call out some of the community organizations the credit union supports.

Now, STCU is using the campaign to champion its members who are working hard to help others during COVID-19.

“After the stay home/stay healthy order, we wanted to call out people on the frontlines. But we still wanted there to be a link to the credit union,” Hansen said. “We realized that by making just a small pivot to our original campaign, we’d be calling out our own members who are essential in the fight.”

The newest billboards acknowledge the myriad ways members are supporting the community. They’re lighthearted and humorous, but also reinforce the credit union message of “People Helping People.”

The ads have been hugely popular and well-received by the public, with many sharing them with friends and family on social media. “I’m obsessed with the @stcu dear member campaign. Too funny!” one Twitter user wrote, posting photos of the various billboards they encountered while driving around town.

STCU has a demonstrated history of bold branding and outside-the-box marketing, taking a fun and creative approach to making real member connections.

One of the first “Dear Member” billboards even singles out an entire community of members living in another state: “To our 75 members who live in Gallatin County, Montana, send us a note when the salmon flies hatch.”

“I like these stories because they’re specific,” Hansen explains. “I think pointing out that we have 75 members living in the greatest fly-fishing county on earth makes the point better than just saying that you can access your accounts from anywhere.”

STCU President and CEO, Ezra Eckhardt, says there’s been a lot of appreciation for these stories from the individuals and organizations represented. And even when people don’t understand the references made in each billboard, it generates chatter.

“The authenticity of the message and the sincerity of our appreciation rings true at this historic moment, as people are craving a deeper sense of community,” said Eckhardt.

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