6 Not-To-Be-Missed Takeaways from CUNA GAC 2016

by Charlie Milburn, Senior Account Supervisor - 03/22/16

The content at this years CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference covered everything from how to activate your membership base to acquiring new members through targeted marketing tactics. Heres our quick list of insights to start implementing today. 


1. "We Must Effectively Communicate the Credit Union Advantage."

The call-to-action in opening remarks by Jim Nussle, president and CEO of CUNA, was clear: Credit unions have the opportunity to disrupt the financial services industry. Consumers feel burned by big banks, which are perceived as providing poor service and not keeping their members' interests at heart. “The Credit Union Advantage” lies in the level of service and community engagement consistently offered by local credit unions. If you are a part of a credit union, you are a member, not just an account number.

2. Organizational Simplicity Is the Key to Success. 

Best-selling author and futurist Lisa Bodell's keynote stressed the importance and competitive advantage of simplicity in organizations. 

Simplicity is not only a cost containment tool, but it's also something that must be rooted in your organization's culture. 

5 Elements of Organizational Simplicity

  • Minimal
    • What are the absolute necessities to achieve your goal? Cut out the fluff to streamline operations and contain unnecessary costs
  • Understandable
    • Simplicity means communicating clearly to all areas of your organization. Everyone from senior leadership to tellers needs to understand the "why" behind your mission and initiatives.
  • Scalable
    • A clear vision is necessary for growth, but it must be scalable and rooted in your core values. Goals are achieved incrementally, not by overhauling and overlooking what you already have.
  • Accessible
    • Processes and resources should be easily accessible across the organization. This prevents silos, boosts accountability, and gives your employees the tools they need to do their job.

The bottom line: Simplicity and clarity provide clear goals that everyone can work toward. Here are three things you can do to start implementing simplicity today.

  1. If you want better answers, ask better questions.
  2. Kill a stupid rule. If you could eliminate any two rules that are killing innovation, what would you choose and why?
  3. Make simplicity a habit. Be a "chief simplification officer."

Learn more at http://futurethink.com/kill-the-company/.

3. The Industry Is Experiencing Double-digit Growth.

Since the 2008 financial crisis, public perception of credit unions has been positive. More consumers are choosing to utilize credit unions over big banks. However, small credit unions are having trouble scaling new regulations and back end operations. Best practices for achieving scale include joining a credit union co-op or network to share administrative, marketing, and operational resources while still retaining your unique brand. For example, Greg Olmsted, president and CEO of North Alabama Educator's Credit Union, uses this co-op network as a marketing advantage, giving his members access to "over 3,000 [sister] branches all over the country."

4. Social Media Reaches Legislators

How many times have you left a voicemail or sent an email to your local legislator and wondered if it was going into the void? Well, it seems that social media may be the most direct path to making an impact while simultaneously getting your community involved.

In fact, more than 80 percent of staffers in Washington say that it takes as little as 30 posts about an issue to get your representative's attention. 

5. Leverage the Deep Demographic Data of Facebook.

Gary Vien, CEO of Suncoast Credit Union, shared his case study about his use of targeted social media advertising. Facebook has some of the deepest demographic data available to marketers. Age, occupation, location, purchasing habits, and hundreds of other factors can be leveraged to deliver relevant ads to a highly targeted audience.  

Gary also shared some interesting trends on social channels in general:

  1. Twitter users are primarily male
  2. Facebook users are primarily female
  3. Women in the baby boomer generation post to Facebook the most frequently
  4. 70-80% of purchasing decisions are made by women

6. Facts Are Important, but Storytelling Moves the Needle.

According to Brad Fitch, president and CEO of the Congressional Management Founcation, raw facts can help bolster an argument, but storytelling is what closes the deal. When you want to inspire your membership to activism, start by building your core narrative, which answers the broad question of why your organization exists in the first place and the impact you have on the community. Once you have a core narrative, build out your stories in a way that stay true to your core narrative, while speaking to the values of your audience.

Learn more about the latest credit union marketing trends and best practices.

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Topics: Financial Marketing

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