WAYNESVILLE, N.C. -- Looking for that "hometown" feel in credit union advertising that really raises the profile? And done on the cheap?
Look no further than the $56 million WNC Community Credit Union of Waynesville, N.C. whose guitar-picking marketing manager doubles as on-air announcer, music technician and actor, all the while recording the radio spots from a studio in his home.
"Kent has multiple talents and it sure helps the bottomline since he does this professional grade work right out of his own studio," declared Randall Crawford, president/CEO, in speaking of his marketing staffer Kent Roberts, who joined the CU in 1997.
Roberts, who on weekends strums guitar in coffee houses and church and played in rock bands as a teenager, acknowledges that he relies on some outside professional help to handle production details, but the WNC radio and TV ads, filmed in mountain and river settings with Roberts doing the talking, for years have been a big hit on local cable stations.
"People in the community readily identify the credit union with these ads which promote pretty much the standard product line of home equity, checking, car loans etc.," said Roberts.
The WNC executive even writes many of the CU jingles and then trudges out with a cameraman to "show the natural splendor of this beautiful part of North Carolina," selecting a variety of different scenes for each ad.
Roberts, a former master planner for a local manufacturer, recalled that when he joined WNC, the CU was in the midst of transforming itself into a community-based CU whose single sponsor, a producer of automobile hoses, shut down its Waynesville facility.
"My job was to get the word out about our community charter and I found out that I could do the advertising more inexpensively than if we hired outside help," he said.
Indeed, Roberts, who doubles as a mortgage officer as well as a collections supervisor, figures the do-it-yourself marketing exec has saved the CU about 50% in media expense.
Roberts is one of only nine employees at WNC, a fairly low ratio for a CU among peers (others would average 27, he says) and on that score, Crawford, the CEO, maintains "cross training" is the key to keeping personnel costs low.
In fact, turnover, said Roberts, remains "very low" and he added, "this is simply a great place to work and we are all compensated well."
Regarding the cable ads, Roberts said beside himself he used to rotate using other WNC employees in the commercials, but he mostly gave that up "when I found out that some staff members were simply uncomfortable doing their lines and appearing on TV."
Recently, the WNC ads have been voice-overs with Roberts doing the speaking
"We're simply doing a soft-sell of our credit union trying to show that we are unique," said Crawford who has also appeared in the ads, but he does not care a whit "whether I'm on there or not." --firstname.lastname@example.org