Who Are You Talking To?

Are you more George Michael or Lady Gaga? Maybe Rolling Stones or Blake Shelton? These can be fun questions to answer, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who you are most similar to. It matters who your members most relate to.Your language and your imagery define your brand. The persona of your credit union needs to be relatable and specific. All too often I hear credit union leaders tell me they want to appeal to everyone they can help. While this approach sounds good in theory, it ultimately waters down your message.
If you don’t know who you are talking to, you can’t connect on a deeper level. Surveys have shown that 77% of millennials would rather receive a message from their dentist than their financial institution. I don’t know about you, but I don’t exactly get excited about scheduling my regular cleaning. So why do people prefer to hear from their dentist? Because unlike the finance-related communication, the dental message is specific to them.

So how do you get specific with your messaging?

First, you have to decide who you are talking to. Who does your credit union serve the best? Is it the millennials who may be getting married, buying a new home, and starting a family? Perhaps it’s Gen Z members who are starting life after college and facing all the demands that lie ahead. Whoever it is, your messaging needs to be tailored to their demographic.
I’m not saying you can’t serve those who come to you. If a 55-year-old member comes looking for a retirement fund, of course you’re going to help them find the best option. But when it comes to attracting new members, you’ll be more successful by targeting the people best served by your team.

Here are a few questions to help you identify your “ideal member”:

1) What is our strongest offer to members?
2) Who needs this solution?
3) What media platform does this individual use most?
4) What kind of language does this person use to communicate?
Marketing can become overly complicated, especially when you consider the variety of platforms and communication styles that are available. It is tempting to try and appeal to the masses and serve everyone you can. But when you try to be everything to everyone, you dilute your message and lose the ability to help those who truly need what you have to offer.
Don’t try to be trendy. People see right through attempts to be cool. Think about the genuine relationships you’ve made with members over the years. I would be willing to bet most of them were formed by sitting down with members, discussing their unique challenges, and creating a financial roadmap just for them. Credit unions were designed to serve those who were not served by traditional financial institutions. If you want your credit union to succeed, I implore you to explore your roots and find who you can serve best. Then, once you’ve identified your ideal members, create messaging that speaks specifically to them and connects with their needs.

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