How Credit Unions Can Focus on Community-Oriented Marketing

Flexibility and adaptability are at the top of the list for marketing in the time of COVID-19. 

When everything is changing, where does this put a traditional business? The answer for your credit union is community-oriented marketing. It’s a time when folks are dialing into meetings from home, ordering groceries for delivery, changing their shopping and entertainment habits, and focused on their families and wellbeing. Apps, technology, and remote work seem to run the day. As the coronavirus pandemic continues, there’s a lot of change and uncertainty.

On the surface, a credit union doesn’t seem like a revolutionary place, in the way a tech startup or boutique business might be seen. Although money management and banking has evolved over time, it’s been around since the ancient empires. Various currencies have been invented and gone out of style. There are long-standing regulations, taxes, and practices that you may even take for granted.

But, one of the highlights of a credit union is that they exist to serve their members. Right now, businesses are adapting to ensure they are thinking first about their clients. Credit unions are ahead of the game.

Part of pivoting to enhance your customer service during the pandemic is going the extra mile. How can a business make you feel safe, wanted, cared for, and secure? It’s already in the DNA of your credit union. Members are more than account numbers.

As businesses across the U.S. pivot, reopen, and adapt to the world of change brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, credit unions must do the same. Simple transactions may be so simple anymore. However, savvy credit union leaders and marketers will know how to provide for customers. You can communicate these changes and empower members at the same time.

Why Focus on Community-Oriented Communications?

A trip to the credit union is more than an errand. It’s more than cashing a check, making a withdrawal, or learning about a loan. Interacting with your credit union speaks to the details of your life. With the support and services of your credit union, you are able to purchase a car or a home, invest in an education, or pay for a wedding.

Credit unions must not forget these personal details. The coronavirus pandemic, as well as any community emergency or crisis, is a time when neighbors lean on each other. A credit union has the power to empower members. Instead of pushing out a campaign featuring high-profile members, pivot to community-oriented communications.

Marketers can be helpers in times of stress and uncertainty, and credit unions have a unique set of resources. Already part of the community, credit unions can help amplify voices while helping their members. One way to do this is through marketing. Social media, email marketing, and even print communications are all incredible platforms during such a time.

Plant growing in pot of coins demonstrating power of investment

Community-Oriented Marketing Goes Above & Beyond

A credit union prides itself not only on serving members, but also going above and beyond to be part of the community. You might see credit union leaders and employees serving on various community or nonprofit boards. Or, you might know of a credit union that sponsors a little league or annual summer picnic. At a credit union, it’s as much as about what happens inside the building as what happens outside. (And maybe the happenings outside are even more important.)

However, talking about money and finances can be tricky. Also, a credit union isn’t an amusement park. This presents some challenges when it comes to helping members feel excited about their credit union. There are challenges, but marketing is essential to ensure members connect with credit unions and hear key messages during this uncertain time.

One way credit unions can shine in their marketing at any time is by humanizing their services. It’s important that members feel comfortable with their credit union and see it as a resource that can connect them with a well-lived life.

In order to keep the focus on members and properly serve their needs, credit unions should focus on marketing related to education, information, and support.

Pivoting to this focus does not require rebranding or reinventing the credit union. In fact, it actually draws on the existing strengths and resources already available.

  • Educating credit union members through marketing is just as it sounds. Think of the talent of a credit union’s employees. What can they teach and share with members? This could be the time to start a series of social media posts about how to create and stick to a budget. Or, perhaps credit union members would benefit from a newsletter that explains different types of loans available to them.
  • Informing credit union members through marketing means using your platforms for good. Think beyond credit union operations. What might members need to know about their community? If there’s a message that needs to get out, share it. Remember to also share information about your hours, mask-wearing policy, and any changes to your contact information. Do you have an app or mobile banking? Especially now, members want to feel up-to-date and in-the-know.
  • Supporting credit union members means sticking with them and understanding this may be a hard time. Members may be dealing with unexpected financial hardships or be worried about the future. Leave room in your communications to share simple messages of support. And, remind them often your employees are available to help or discuss any changes to personal finances.

When you focus your marketing efforts on community-oriented communications, members are reminded their credit union is part of the community. Extend your ability to empower your members by keeping them updated and welcomed.

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