It's All About the Member Experience Says Redwood CU SVP Marketing/PR
SANTA ROSA, Calif. -- Stay true to the benefits of membership and you can never go wrong says Redwood Credit Union Senior Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations Robin McKenzie.
"As marketers we need to shout from the mountaintop what credit unions are, who can join and how they can benefit--it is unfortunate but so many still don't understand that we're not some 'exclusive club for unions'," said McKenzie. "It is not something that can be fixed with just one ad, it takes a long term commitment and I look forward to educating and enlightening as many people as we can."
In addition to overseeing marketing, McKenzie is also responsible for Redwood CU's public relations, business development, community involvement and government relations. The credit union's public relations exposure has experienced a 480% increase over the past five years taking Redwood CU's community image to new heights.
"She believes in always doing the right thing and is the guiding light from which we make decisions and conduct business," said Redwood CU President/CEO Brett Martinez. "I frequently ask myself, 'What would Robin think?' before I act on something--she's that influential, she's that right on. Robin is our corporate conscience and she is vital to our success." McKenzie's belief in the credit union mission and vision drives all of Redwood's marketing decisions. "After one meeting with Robin anyone would have a strong grasp of the core values, corporate philosophy and corporate culture of Redwood Credit Union," said Bouchard McElroy Communications Group President Ann Bouchard. "Her dedication is both motivating and inspiring." With an eye on the member, McKenzie implemented a testimonial print ad series program that showcases the credit union's gratitude to members. Shifting the focus from RCU to the members who have built the credit union into what it is today, the ad series shows how members' relationships with RCU have helped them achieve their financial goals and dreams. Actual members from all areas, professions and walks of life are featured. "What could be better than members telling their own stories of how they benefited from being a part of Redwood," said McKenzie. "To show the rich diversity of our members and sharing their true experiences with everyone has just been great." Staffers from all 12 Redwood branch locations refer member feature candidates who are ultimately selected based solely on their RCU story.
"It is so much fun for us to hear from members 'I love you guys and here is why'," said McKenzie. "We have no idea what they look like when they are chosen and that is so great because we don't want them to be model perfect we want to show off our members who come in all shapes and sizes. It has really caught on and our members are helping us deliver the powerful message that we know who we work for--our members."
The member-centric philosophy carries over to the credit union's new corporate facility where McKenzie headed a merchandising program designed to pay homage to Redwood CU's history, the building, its members, staffers, volunteers and the communities served.
Spanning both sides of the 350-foot long main corridor of the facility the merchandising is split into 10 zones showcasing the individuals and groups who have built the rich history of Redwood CU's success.
"We shot different members, couples, singles, the old, young and blew up these images so they would dominate the space," said McKenzie. "What we wanted to create was more than just a history wall but rather a true experience and warm, inviting feeling for everyone who walked this space that would pay tribute to our past while showing members why the credit union exists."
Set up like an art gallery, it gives members and visitors the option to step closer and learn more. She says the project came together better than expected and she credits a team effort for any success.
"If our marketing/business development corner's efforts are effective the wonderful reward is that we get to see the results in member growth, deposit and loan growth etc., but the bigger picture is that we've helped people achieve their financial goals," said McKenzie. "Whether it is getting their first car, saving for the future or helping them launch their dream business we've made a difference in their lives. That is what is exciting for me." --firstname.lastname@example.org