As vice president of marketing at United Nations Federal Credit Union, Debra Da Costa has to take a global approach in reaching out to members.
She was recently tapped to share her insights in the latest Inside the Minds series titled Capitalizing on Marketing Trends published by Aspatore Books.
With a credit union that serves the staff members of the United Nations and their families, as well as retirees, Da Costa said research has made the all the difference in standing out from the competition by playing up its strengths. A recent rebranding effort further reinforces what makes UNFCU unique. So the over $3 billion credit union has played up images and keywords such as global, secure, familiar and agile in a way that addresses the diversity, long-standing tradition, flexibility, convenience and financial soundness of UNFCU while resonating with members and nonmembers alike. For example, on its home page at www.unfcu.org, a rotating banner juxtaposes words such as "agile" against a backdrop of a winding river that runs through a green forest with the words, "Our success has always been driven by our ability to grow and change with the times."
"In our case, revitalizing our brand has helped in creating a better connection with our members through a variety of branding campaigns, which focused on our success due to our members' confidence and trust in our ability to do right by them," said Da Costa. "We used the words, 'you are UNFCU' on all our marketing components to let our members know that without them there would be no UNFCU."
Never one to just jump on the latest trends, Da Costa said the time and effort put into research is worthwhile and is part of the reason the credit union is taking its time before surfing the social media wave. "We are working to incorporate social media and digital channels to strengthen our communications and marketing strategy. We're strategically working to leverage and understand our members' behavior, especially within their network of friends," said Da Costa. "Given the nature of the U.N. system, word of mouth can be our greatest asset or greatest challenge. Because of the growing explosion of channels that are available to consumers, you can damage your brand very quickly or successfully solidify your brand depending on how well you can leverage word of mouth."
She said her preliminary research findings have revealed most consumers prefer Facebook to stay in touch with friends and family-not their financial institution. So for UNFCU, Da Costa is thinking that text messaging may be the tool of choice.
"With the advancement in technology, consumers are becoming more and more accustomed to getting the information they want anytime, anywhere, and through whatever channel they choose," said Da Costa.