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VANCOUVER, British Columbia – Two years ago Canada’s largest credit union launched the “I want” campaign, and it has been cashing in on it ever since. “Before then we didn’t have a singular creative platform standard for communication,” said VanCity CU Manager of Marketing Communications Patricia Chong. “We wanted something with a consistent tone and feel that would be recognizable on any campaign, speaks to our brand and be something that we’d own that people would instantly identify with us.” So the marketing/creative department of about 23 people and marketing planning/corporate division of about 45 started thinking about developing something from the consumer and member perspective. “We settled on `I want’ even though it was kind of hard hitting compared to what we’d tried in the past,” said Chong. “The reaction has been more positive than negative and some people found it demanding, greedy and said that is not how they wanted to be portrayed. But from our research we know that today’s consumers really are demanding, more knowledgeable, better shoppers and when they come into a financial institution they expect a lot.” To soften the “I want” statement local advertising agency Gray Worldwide typically couples it with artistic images of a person. According to Chong, the key to VanCity CU’s brand is “heart and smart”. Both internally and externally the credit union tries to meet its hard business objectives and attract members to get specific products while still incorporating the heart side of value-based products or corporate social responsibility. Quantitative telephone surveys are conducted on a weekly basis “to keep a finger on the pulse of campaigns the whole time and really get richer information.” Surveys are random and include non-members. “The main reason we started this is because we want to acquire new members,” said Chong. “A large majority of consumers are not members so we want to know the impact of a campaign on them too.” Credit union advertising is primarily print and radio and the occasional transit shelter or bus advertising says Chong. For some of larger campaigns VanCity does tap into focus group research and in fact many of the “I want” statements came from thoughts and feelings expressed in focus groups. The $7.5 billion credit union is now considering incorporating more members as the images for future ad campaigns to lend more credibility to the ads. While the credit union wouldn’t release any specific numbers according to Chong, so far VanCity’s financial objectives have been strong for different product campaigns across the board. “So far this has been great,” said Chong. “We know from the ad tracking research that we have increased ad awareness recall and that when consumers see our ads they’ve said that they would consider VanCity for their financial institution. So we plan to continue using it until we get more negative than positive feedback-then I guess we’d have to consider another creative platform.” In 2002 VanCity has been named the “Best Financial Institution” in both Vancouver and Burnaby. [email protected]

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