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White paper offer tips for green branding

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MADISON, Wis. (7/14/09)--Credit unions can learn to incorporate green initiatives into their brand and image with a new white paper from the CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council. “Going Green--A Marketing Perspective” outlines the underlying requirements for incorporating green into a credit union’s branding efforts. The paper discusses the process of building a demonstrated foundation of commitment to environmental stewardship to avoid potential backlash from environmental groups. The groups watch for unsubstantiated or inflated promotion of green efforts--also known as “greenwashing.” “To avoid the quicksand of greenwashing, credit unions should develop a big picture mentality about environmental stewardship that incorporates what they have done, what they are doing, and what they could do in the future before launching a green marketing campaign,” explains the paper. “People who are interested in the environment and sustainability can smell trickery a mile away,” said Kim Deppe, vice president of marketing for Community First CU, Jacksonville, Fla. “There’s a lot of suspicion particularly among young people about slapping something up against the wall and calling yourself green. Be sure that you’re being genuine about it and truly representing yourself accurately because the downside risk about trying to be something you’re not is that you lose credibility with some very important audience segments,” Deppe said. “Being eco-friendly is more than a passing trend; it is an important part of a credit union's business model,” said Ann Legg, council chair and vice president of marketing for Cabrillo CU, San Diego. “Being green is integral to sustainability, viability, and relevancy.” Also, the challenges and rewards of running a single-person information technology (IT) department are featured in “Drinking from a Firehose: Running a Successful One-Person IT Department.” The CUNA Technology Council white paper looks at how to leverage time and talents to create effective credit union operations by examining key factors such as: time management, project planning, prioritizing tasks and outsourcing. The paper also offers ideas for getting in front of the CEO and top management and expanding IT’s role in budgeting and planning. Rudy Pereira, council chair and senior vice president of operations and technology at Alliant CU, Chicago, acknowledges that running a one-person IT shop is a major challenge. “These practitioners are usually on call 24/7 and are under pressure constantly to keep the credit union functioning with software that nobody ever sees and hardware that nobody understands,” he said. “They are charged with protecting the integrity of the credit union's data, serving the entire staff, training the users and updating the equipment. Vacations are often ruined when the BlackBerry rings. My hat is off to these professionals.”