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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – Redstone Federal Credit Union has taken a well-calculated leap to get more personally involved in the creativity and research game with its new inhouse advertising agency. “I have been working in marketing for 30 years and I have always wanted to do this,” said Redstone FCU Vice President of Communications/Business Development Joyce Dye. “I’ve been with this credit union for two years and we had all our creative placement with an outside ad agency and while they were good they didn’t really understand or convey the personality of Redstone FCU.” According to Dye, the $1.6 billion credit union has the unique position of being the “biggest fish in the pond” with a larger market share than any other financial institution in the area. To give it perspective, Northern Alabama has 350,000 residents and Redstone FCU is some 250,000 members strong. Dye says as an important partner in the community the credit union needed to capitalize more on its presence here. “We’re very lucky because we couldn’t have done this without the blessing from our board,” said Dye. “When we took this huge proposal to them we really highlighted the benefits of creating an in-house ad agency from having more control over our image, more timely news releases and quality media placement to better internal communications and cost savings. We needed this internal agency that is completely focused on what we do and who we are in the community.” In a high tech area with more PhD’s per capita than anywhere in the country and a diverse geographic area to cover that reaches Southern Tennessee, Dye says one of the advantages of restructuring has been the ability to customize branch marketing and community programs. For example, the credit union was a major sponsor of the popular Lincoln County Fair Swine Day, which was advertised on most of the benches throughout the fairgrounds. In addition, credit union staffers handed out fans branded with the CU name, which were a strategic hit with attendees since the event is held at the end of August. Dye says no matter where they turned the Redstone FCU name could be seen. The move has also helped cut costs overall despite an increase on the salary side. As an ad agency Redstone FCU receives a 15% discount on media placement. “Our agency had our first car sale three weeks ago and the results have been better than any we’ve ever had in the past,” said Dye. Dye adds that the internal agency response time is also quicker. “In today’s marketplace you can’t afford to wait two to three weeks for something to be placed because sometimes you need it in the paper tomorrow and that type of turnaround doesn’t usually happen with an outside agency unless you are their top client,” said Dye. “We had a few security issues this year and our agency was able to get the news releases out to a simulfax in just 30 minutes.” Finding the right talent takes time and in addition to experience Dye needed people who are innovators, create excitement, are persuasive, creative and of course are big collaborators. After a year Dye only just filled the last position two weeks ago. For the top Assistant Vice President of Marketing position she selected Ken Jost, someone with no credit union background but 25 years of ad agency experience from the West Coast. Rounding out the team are: Dawn Speegle, marketing specialist; Stephanie Waddell, marketing officer; Mary Alice Touchon, marketing research analyst; Angela Campbell, marketing officer; Jackie Brown, creative services manager; Thom Tingle, copywriter; and Barry Sanders, graphic designer. Collectively, Dye says the staff represents more than 115 years of educational and work experience. The new structure has also helped with internal communications between all departments and branches and applying the research gathered to make better marketing decisions The team was even able to design their department area, which features modular furniture in a collaborative environment with a casual meeting space area complete with barstools and seating arranged around coffee tables. Keeping a design eye on building communications and teamwork the space also includes low walls and a meeting room. “We do all work together of course so this way it is easy for us to grab someone to get their input on a project. It is exciting to have this team of creative minds all working together here,” said Dye. “I certainly would have never attempted trying to pull off sponsoring a Chicago concert without this team in place. Redstone FCU is the title sponsor of longtime rock group Chicago`s concert on May 11th at the Huntsville Von Braun Center Arena as a way to appeal to local baby boomers. Dye had mentioned wanting to sponsor a concert in passing to one of her media contacts back in February and when the call came for Chicago she said she’d only agree to do it if Redstone FCU was the sole sponsor and this would be a concert for members first and the public would buy whatever tickets were left over. “Since the beginning of March our name has been announced on all television and radio commercials promoting the concert and we are just benefiting from a media blitz,” said Dye. In addition, the credit union launched “an Evening with Chicago” concert promotion with a giant giveaway of 300 pairs of concert tickets, 60 of the band’s multi-disc CD of hits, and a “Groupie Grand Prize” of six, third row seats, a VIP reception before the show, limo service that evening and backstage passes to meet the band. Drawings will be held each week until the week prior to the concert. Credit union members approved for loan products including credit cards, home equity lines of credit , auto loans, mortgages and personal loans are automatically entered in prize drawings. In addition, anyone who bought a ticket with a Redstone FCU debit or MasterCard would receive an additional $5 off the ticket price of $35.25. Dye also let employees buy tickets first. “They had to raise the limit of my corporate card so we could place the order of 800 employee tickets at the discounted rate.” “It has been pretty exciting and from the moment attendees step into the arena all they will see is Redstone FCU,” said Dye. “This is exactly the type of concert our community needs and we’re proud to be able to deliver it for our members.” [email protected]

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