To help rebuild consumer confidence, the credit union has decided to tout its best asset, a veteran employee, to kickoff the "Joe Knows Mortgages" campaign.
"We wanted to promote our strong, secure mortgage program in 2009," said Carolina Postal CU CEO Joy Watts. "What better way to do that than show off our most experienced and well-known employee, Senior Mortgage Loan Officer Joe Jones."
According to credit union Vice President of Marketing and Business Development Deb McLean, with big banks "hoarding" their TARP windfall with a reluctance to lend, the timing couldn't be better. Jones has been a vital part of Carolina Postal for over 17 years, and prior to joining the credit union he served as an examiner at the North Carolina Credit Union League.
"We were brainstorming on what was going on in the mortgage industry, how to answer members' concerns about their mortgages, their financial situation, and every time we had a question it was 'Let's ask Joe,' 'Why don't we call Joe' or 'Joe knows,' said Watts, "We finally turned to our marketing vice president and said, 'Well, what do you think about using Joe in a promotion.'"
McLean instantly loved and supported the idea.
"I've worked with Joe at USPS and member functions in the past, and to our members Joe is a rock star," said McLean.
Although he is the face of the campaign, Joe also has a solid support team of account managers ready to help.
"We came up with a 'Team Joe' concept and had a lot of fun playing off a 'Petticoat Junction' theme with our account managers by adding 'Joe' to their names. So they all have nametags with their names listed as Chrissy-Joe, Lindsay-Joe, Maddie-Joe," said McLean.
To get staffers excited about the new campaign, McLean sent out a YouTube video of "Petticoat Junction" since many of the younger staffers weren't familiar with the show. The Joe Knows Mortgages collateral material includes a mix of exterior and interior banners, Joe Knows stand-ups in the branch lobbies, Web banners, Joe Knows T-shirts, targeted postcards, e-mail blasts and statement inserts.
So far the initial reaction has been positive to the point of overwhelming.
"When the first postcard went out to our members, Joe got 98 voice mails in one week," said McLean. "Many were teasing or just congratulatory, but most were saying, 'Oh yes, please help me understand my situation.'"
When a follow-up e-mail blast went out the following week, Joe received 78 voice mails and multiple e-mails by the end of the day. So far the biggest challenge has been for Joe to make the most of his team.
"Joe takes his reputation with the members seriously and wanted to follow up personally with every single response," said Watts. "We had to encourage him to rely on his team of Joes to help out with the initial response."
The Joe Knows Mortgages campaign is slated to run for three months, and McLean said if the response continues to be strong, it will be incorporated throughout 2009 with other CP CU loan products.
"This campaign truly supports the credit union difference," said Watts, "In a time when long-term experienced employees are being laid-off by corporations with a misguided attempt to impact their bottom line, we celebrate and promote our experienced employees and their depth of financial knowledge because they are the ones that will make a positive difference our members' lives."