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LOWELL, Mass. – When residents here think of joining a financial institution, Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union wants to be the automatic first choice. To help make the hope a reality, JDCU is launching its most aggressive brand campaign to date. “We did some focus groups and we were not growing as quickly as we wanted to and our potential members just didn’t know about us,” said JDCU Vice President/Director of Marketing Michelle Silveira. “We’ve since discovered that being the best kept secret in town is not a good thing.” Vantage Consulting of Mansfield, Massachusetts conducted focus groups and surveys among members and non-members to gather opinions of Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union’s strengths and weaknesses. The results were surprising for the over $520 million credit union. “People heard about how great our service is but they didn’t understand the concept of membership, didn’t think we were convenient and their perception of the credit union was that we didn’t offer a complete array of services such as online banking,” said Silveira. “Not only that but consumers in the age group 18-24 didn’t even know us. It was blatant that we had to come out with this campaign and really follow through.” Another challenge facing the credit union was name recognition. Many respondents said they didn’t have a clue what the name meant. Given the history of the name, the CU’s board was loath to consider a name change so an emphasis was placed on JDCU with the name underneath it. The next step involved creating a new tagline that would play up what JDCU was known for -service. Over the next 18 months potential credit union members will be invited to Experience a Better Way of Banking via newspaper, radio, bus advertising and targeted mailings. Silveira says the first leg of the campaign will capture what it is like to be part of a credit union. The next will focus on what is banking and what is JDCU and the third will play up those members who joined for JDCU rates and stayed for service. In addition, post cards highlighting a checklist of convenient services available at the credit union will be sent out targeting the 18-45 year old market. “We are doing everything we can to get our whole image out there and blow away any old stereotypes of credit unions as being small or you have to belong to an employee group to enjoy the benefits of membership,” said Silveira. “So in future ads we are also going to look at playing on our unique name with phrases like `Our name is as legendary as our service.’ The biggest lesson we’ve learned is that our message and image has to be in people’s faces eight times as much.” Next September JDCU will conduct surveys to find out if the $250,000 spent on advertising has been put to good use. “This is the most aggressive advertising campaign we have ever conducted,” said JDCU President/CEO Paul Mayotte. “If local residents do not know about us today, they certainly will over the next year and a half.” [email protected]

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