Branding Challenges, Opportunities Face Credit Unions: Onsite Coverage
BOCA RATON, Fla. — A pair of presentations meant to discuss how credit unions can better attract new members and become the first cult brand in financial services had to confront some negative consumer comments as Neil Goldman, senior partner of Goldman Consulting and Strategy, shared some of what his firm had heard in a series of focus group meetings with consumers who are not credit union members.
(CO-OP CEO Stan Hollen discusses the evolution of THINK over the past five years in this video.)
Goldman made his presentation to credit union executives attending the THINK 12 conference on Tuesday and the comments came from videos of the focus group sessions.
“There is a credit union branch a little close to my house, but it always looks a little seedy to me,” said one focus group participant from South Florida, the region from which the researchers drew most of their participants.
Other comments included, “I wouldn't know where to find one in my area,” “I don't know where any are,” and “I don't think I can belong to one since my work doesn't offer it.”
Goldman called comments like these and the misunderstandings and ignorance that underpinned them, “stumbling blocks” that has cropped up in the opportunity big banks had given credit unions to grow in the last two years.
“I am not going to open up the whole conversation over a potential national brand since we all know how controversial this is and I don't want to go there,” Goldman told the assembled executives.
But reacting to a comment from another focus group participant, Goldman asked if there might not be room for national signage.
“Imagine if above every Chinese food restaurant in the country there appeared a large Chinese symbol that let consumers identify that was a location where they could find Chinese food,” he said.
“Doesn't it stand to reason that more consumers would eat more Chinese food? How about for credit unions? That's what credit unions need on the road to becoming more consumers' primary financial institutions, they need to make it easier for more consumers to identify them to purchase more of their type of financial services,” Goldman said.
Goldman was paired in the session with Alexis Maybank, founding CEO of Gilt Groupe, an online retailer which has become an acknowledged cult brand. Maybank shared how the firm came to use so-called “exclusivity marketing” to excite consumers and, in turn, generate consumer data that allowed the firm to further personalize the shopping experience and become one of the most trusted consumer firms on the Internet.
“You cannot advertise your way to trust,” Maybank told the executives.
“Consumers have to feel the trust you earn in the many different ways you interact with them,” she said.
Alexis Maybank talked about 'exclusivity marketing' among other topics during her presentation.