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HARRISBURG, Pa.-In real estate or retail, location is key. When it comes to a successful marketing campaign, however, a more appropriate mantra would be “Exposure, exposure, exposure.” In an effort to broaden the exposure of credit unions among mainstream news and business reporters, the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association (PCUA) has organized a series of media tours with CEOs from various CUs around the state. Four visits were planned this year during International Credit Union Month to newspapers in Allentown, Reading, Pottstown (suburban Philadelphia) and Altoona-bringing together representatives from both small and large, state and federal CUs. “Our hope is that, over time, the CU movement will appear more and more as an authority on financial services issues and in the media in general,” said Mike Wishnow, PCUA senior vice president of communications and marketing, who is overseeing the media tours. The tours also raise the visibility of CU CEOs in their communities. Credit unions and PCUA already are seeing some of the fruits of their labor. As a result of six media tours last year, reporters in several of those markets are using CU CEOs as sources in articles, Wishnow said. (He plans to schedule four more tours next year.) More immediately, after meeting with staff from The Mercury in Pottstown, Pa., on Oct. 14, 2004, an article appeared in the next day’s “Business” section about the recent American Banker customer satisfaction survey that ranked CUs above banks and included comments from media tour participants John Faust, CEO of Diamond Credit Union; Andy Pistoria, CEO of Tri County Area FCU; as well as those of Wishnow and PCUA Account Executive Shawn Murphy. For others considering organizing a media tour, Wishnow offers several recommendations for a successful interview: * Provide CEOs with background material-such as general statistics and facts about the state’s CU makeup and history-prior to the interview to serve as a refresher. * Emphasize the cooperative nature of CUs and the efforts of the total movement, rather than airing differences or focusing too much on individual CU accomplishments. * Diversify your representatives in terms of CU size, field of membership and charter type. * Allow reporters to lead the interview and to dictate the interview format. “Reporters need to be independent,” Wishnow said. “They truly view themselves as the Fourth Estate.” But most important is for CEOs to be candid with reporters and to demonstrate their true passion for the CU movement. “The reporter seemed surprised to learn about the cooperation among credit unions – locally, statewide and nationally,” said Jo Ann Broderick, president and CEO of First Commonwealth FCU, who participated in her first media tour at the Allentown Morning Call. “We’re used to it, but others don’t know. The reporter also commented on the strength of our passion and our desire to serve our members’ needs.He even sent us an e-mail afterward, asking for a job application.” Meanwhile, in other PCUA marketing efforts: * PCUA continues its yearly advertising campaign during International Credit Union Month. More than 225 billboards are on display across the state, and more than 2,500 radio and television spots will air as a result of $157,052 contributed by 273 CUs for the ad campaign. * CU advertising pullouts appeared in three major media markets-Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and the Harrisburg/Lebanon/Lancaster/York (HLLY) area-in time for International Credit Union Day. Success of last year’s insert in the HLLY area, allowed for introduction of the pullouts in the other markets. The HLLY pullout also has increased from six pages to eight pages. The pullouts feature advertorial copy-such as how to join a credit union, information explaining the CU difference and CU success stories-as well as advertisements from local CUs in each area. * PCUA President and CEO Jim McCormack and Leigh Philibosian, vice president of marketing at Mid-Atlantic Corporate FCU, were guests on the Pennsylvania Newsmakers program hosted by Dr. Terry Madonna. The segment featured a discussion of credit union history and International Credit Union Day; it was scheduled to air on four television stations and one cable station throughout the state during International Credit Union Week. * A half-hour public service radio show on “Taking Control of Your Debt” was scheduled to air on Central Pennsylvania Clear Channel radio stations during International Credit Union Week. The taped program featured Hershey FCU CEO Diana Roberts and PCUA Senior Vice President of Communications and Marketing Mike Wishnow. -

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