You never know where Innovations Federal Credit Union's flash mob will show up.
Recently they kicked off the grand opening of the new Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport by dancing to a music mix that ranged from Lady Gaga's "Telephone" and "Just Dance" to Kesha's "Blah, Blah, Blah" and Bon Jovi's "Living on a Prayer."
"We're a $150 million credit union and since we changed our name five years ago to Innovations, we created a unique culture where we have fun, play music and are changing the perception people have of credit unions," said Innovations FCU President/CEO David Southall. "This airport has been 10 to 12 years in the making, and it is a big deal here. So I thought to get people buzzing about Innovations why not do a flash mob, which is where people come together to do something then disperse when it's over as if it never happened. I love music, I love dancing, so why not?"
The move paid off and not only was the flash mob dance picked up by local news outlets but its YouTube video (www.youtube.com/watch?v=zOkgebYqLuo) has had well over 2,500 views in just a few days.
"People are always talking about attracting younger members, and many try to do things that just don't work because they are not delivering it where it needs to be," Southall said. "We did a holiday jingle lip dub last December just to test the waters, and it is amazing how it got picked up."
"Young people share on Facebook and Twitter. So rather than trying to get their attention through traditional media, we're getting right in the ?middle with them," added Southall.
The mob dancers are a mix of staffers (Southall himself kicks off the routine), family, friends and Innovations Facebook fans. The credit union put out a message on its Facebook page to recruit people "who like to dance, be the center of attention and want to be part of something cool and fun." About 75 curious people showed up at a specific location to start learning the choreography created by Southall and popular local radio personality Holly Connor. They continued practicing for months before the big event.
"The key was to come up with a simple dance that would be relatively easy for anyone to learn and follow," said Southall. "This was so much fun, and when we revealed it was Innovations at the end of our performance, everyone wanted to learn more about us."
Another upside is that the credit union's name has been on television and radio stations for free.
"You can't buy that kind of buzz," Southall said. "Other than the time spent practicing, this was basically a free marketing campaign. And what's great is now we have new relationships with our members. We spent a lot of time together, and we're actual friends on Facebook. We've got even more people that want to be part of our next flash mob, which will happen soon."