LAS VEGAS (3/21/11)--It’s more important than ever for credit union brands to capture members’ heads, hearts, trust, and loyalty. Credit unions are the “good guys” of the financial services industry, and they have a great story to tell. But credit unions won’t be able to exploit their “good guy” status to build market share until they build “mind share,” says brand strategist Libby Gill, speaking at the 18th Annual CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council Conference in Las Vegas last week. She says it’s more important than ever for credit unions’ brands to cut through the clutter and capture members’ mind share--their heads, hearts, trust, and loyalty--after which market share will follow. Gill cites five ways credit unions can build member mind share:
* Define and deliver authentic value. Examine what you’re providing members and whether you’re meeting their needs. * Confirm your “go-to-authority” status. Establish your credentials and credibility by sharing your expertise with members, becoming a valued source by the media, and harnessing members’ testimonials. "Nothing sells a customer like another happy customer,” Gill says. “Don’t be the greatest best-kept secret.” * Create a “sticky” message. A tagline can be a powerful way to communicate your credit union’s unique value proposition to members. “Diamonds are forever,” for example, justifies the jewels’ high price point. And “That was easy,” from Staples, addresses the company’s efforts to make consumers’ shopping experience more convenient. * Create a “wow” website. This means having a website that illustrates your credibility up-front; has a clean, professional, and contemporary look; and includes calls to action. “Your site should tell people what to do once they get there,” Gill says. “It should lead people through.” * Implement a culture of Kaizen, or continuous improvement.
“The definition of a brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room,” says Gill, borrowing from Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos. Live the Kaizen concept, she concluded.