AUSTIN, Texas -IBM Texas Employees Credit Union is setting off in a new brand direction and hoping it appeals to both current and potential members. Taking target marketing to a new level the $252 million credit union has developed a new brand and marketing campaign based on a LifeCycle necessities marketing and brand concept. "LifeCycle marketing is new in that it is product and needs driven not lifestyle driven," said IBM TEFCU Marketing Manager Lisa Kiesling. "Regardless of age the members' financial needs dictate which cycle they necessitate. So you could be 70 years old and opening an account for the first time or buying a new home." IBMTEFCU hired a branding specialist who conducted focus groups and surveyed the members to help IBMTEFCU learn how members preferred to do business with the credit union. According to Kiesling, the research provided invaluable member insight. "What surprised us most was just how savvy our members are not just about the industry but finances and that they wanted to be informed and not sold to," said IBMTEFCU Graphics/Communications Specialist Gina Nass, who created all the collateral in-house. "Right there we knew that we had to concentrate on building relationships and get into diversification of products and services rather than pushing low rates or single service." Analyzing the members' and potential members' needs resulted in four cycles-Basic, Strategic, Family and Beyond. With member needs dictating the LifeCycle it was important that any collateral used graphics that wouldn't ultimately "paralyze" the campaign. To that end IBMTEFCU borrows images from nature, objects/tools from everyday life and plays up silhouettes more than actual models. The result is marketing pieces that spark the imagination while emotionally drawing members into particular cycles. For example, one poster features an old car on the open road and the caption "Sweet ride to personal freedom". "We didn't want to risk offending some of our members by implying, `well you are 25 so you must be looking for X product/service'," said Kiesling. "The campaign had to be non-specific to age because of our high-tech member base. Some of our members retired in their twenties and LifeCycle Marketing made sure we didn't miss their financial needs in our marketing promotions. Wanting to be sensitive to their needs and since life is about cycles not stages we opted to position our brand as the credit union that can still fit members' needs any time in their life." To further the new brand and LifeCycle campaign, employees were also trained to handle all transactions so that members experience "one-stop-shopping" with each interaction. In addition, IBMTEFCU updated its logo making the Texas star a focal point and changed the font to one that is widely used by members. So how are members responding to the needs based campaign and new brand? "It is premature for us to decide if the new brand elements and LifeCycle Marketing concepts are working from a numbers standpoint," said Keisling. "But we do know that our activity across all channels has increased. We also found that conversations between staff and members are better and more focused because of LifeCycle Marketing." [email protected]

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