Right now these are values that my generation-and I think most other generations-appreciate, but credit unions aren't receiving any credit for these efforts. Mostly, I feel, because when it comes down to it, you're just not being smart.
For example, TOMS Shoes is a company that was started in California by a young entrepreneur. For every pair of TOMS Shoes sold, a pair is donated to a child in need. Sounds like a perfect partner for a credit union. But who does TOMS Shoes endorse in a commercial? AT&T.
Maybe I'm thinking too big. Or am I just too new to the industry? I don't understand why credit unions can't find someone like Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS Shoes, to endorse credit unions.
The philosophy behind his company aligns with the philosophy behind credit unions, so why can't there be a commercial with him or someone like him saying, "I'm a credit union member because credit unions represent what I believe in."
Another example is what American Express is doing with its small business commercials. The credit card company is showcasing small local businesses that are doing innovative and great things. These are people in the communities that credit unions serve, so why are they becoming the face of American Express and not the financial institution that represents their values?
For an industry that represents working together, there is no united front or vehicle to get that message across.
Gen Y is pretty skeptical as a generation and if you're not actively showing us what you do we're not going to believe it.
While these aren't banks or credit union competitors, these huge for-profit companies are aligning themselves with the good and are taking away the edge that credit unions have. The real-life representations in these commercials appeal to my generation. I hate to say it, but a cartoon "Little Guy" doesn't have the same effect. I'll admit he's cute, but he doesn't come close to having the same appeal.
You can talk among yourselves and toot each others horns. While you're doing that, the big guys are out there are representing what should be the credit union difference.