Credit Unions, Banks and 23 Democratic Candidates

At the time of writing, we have 23 Democratic presidential candidates who want to unseat President Donald Trump. Now… name five of them.

How’d you do? Did you struggle like most Americans?

Of those you did name, let me guess the ones you got right. You got Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. Those were easy, as Sanders was second to only Hilary Clinton in the last presidential primary, and Biden is a former Vice President. Third on your list is probably Elizabeth Warren, although you may know her best for her American Indian claim that backfired.

After that, the mind wanders. There’s Mayor Pete and Kamala, although you just can’t quite remember their last names of Buttigieg and Harris, respectively. Of course, if you are a political junkie or live in a state where one of the 23 Democratic presidential candidates grew up or now resides, you probably faired a little better.

By the July 2020 Democratic National Convention, one name will emerge as the challenger to Trump, and whether you are Republican, Democrat, Independent or third-party supporter, we can’t deny that this person will become a household name in America.

In your market, if the “Average Joe” was asked to name the top five financial institutions in his hometown, would your credit union or community bank be one of them, or are you forgettable?

Every candidate (and every financial institution) is a brand. Some burn hot and fast. Some experience a yo-yo effect. Then there are those that build up, have a breakthrough and witness sustained results. How do you go from good to great, or if your organization is in the top five, how do you stay there?

As you watch the Democratic presidential race unfold, I want you to keep in mind which ones adhere most to what I’m about to tell you. And I challenge you to do the same as it will help move the needle for your credit union or community bank.

Here it is: Don’t be afraid to show your true colors.

The late comedian George Carlin once said that the reason Bob Dole lost to Bill Clinton in 1996 is because Bob Dole claimed to be a “plain and honest man.”

“People don’t believe that,” he said. “What did Clinton say? He said, ‘Hi folks! I’m completely full of sh*t and how do you like that?’ And the people said, ‘You know what? At least he’s honest.’”

When every bank and credit union is selling great rates and service, it’s our natural tendency to fit into the crowd. The result: Just more noise. When Bernie Sanders pitched free higher education during the 2016 presidential primary, Hilary Clinton tried to piggyback on that momentum. As a result, her education platform went nowhere.

Visions are important because they help motivate people to action. And if yours is just cookie cutter and boring – illustrated in your advertising by dangling keys outside a car window – you’ll probably stay in 23rd place.

Marketing success for your credit union or community bank is tied to reaching breakthroughs through an accumulation of steps. It starts with confronting the brutal facts of what you are missing and what makes you exceptional and awesome. It then takes an explicit message with persistent pushing.

This doesn’t mean being lewd (e.g. President Trump), but it does mean being highly attentive, which you can’t knock our president for being with his constituents. Show your true colors and connect with kindred spirits, and you’ll be on your way to creating a movement of attracting your ideal member.

Frank Allgood has more than 20 years of experience in every facet of public information and marketing communications. As Vice President of Relationship Development for Your Marketing Co., he is responsible for strategic brand experiences and marketing initiatives for credit unions across the country. For branding or rebranding projects, call 864.326.8740 or email

Subscribe Today!

Subscribe now to receive a monthly email with content filled with strategy and ideas to help you meet the goals of your credit union.

Skip to content