Credit unions rely on public relations efforts to propel their brand’s credibility, visibility and, ultimately, their growth. As such, your credit union’s strategic PR plan is its road map to success. It outlines which steps, both short- and long-term, will help you in achieving your goals.
Your PR plan cannot be a “set-it-and-forget-it” deal, but rather, it is an adaptable framework that should guide all decisions moving forward. Any credit union will inevitably experience changes, both within the organization and the industry, that may cause some refocusing and readjusting of the overall plan.
Summer is quickly approaching, and we’re coming up on the mid-year mark, so this is an ideal time to revisit your PR plan and make sure it is still in line with your credit union’s strategic vision. Here are some tips to keep in mind when updating your PR program:
- Analysis: Where are we now?
To best prepare for the future, it’s imperative to know where your credit union currently stands among the industry, among competitors and, most importantly, with your members. Review your current plan—what worked well for your credit union? What did not work so well? Perhaps a blog post geared toward first-time homebuyers resonated particularly well with members—this could mean educational content is most valuable for your audience. Likewise, it’s a good idea to note which types of announcements generated interest from the media. This will help sharpen your credit union’s approach to media outreach.
It also might be helpful to perform an analysis to objectively assess your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. For instance, if your credit union notices low enrollment for mobile banking, this could be a good time to focus on driving awareness of the credit union’s mobile banking features. Any quantitative or qualitative data points available may also help by providing a real-time look at your credit union’s current performance.
- Direction: Where are we going?
Determine a uniform vision of what the future should look like—what is your credit union’s vision for the next two years? What about the next five or 10 years? Decide on your strategic goals, both short-term and long-term. These priorities should be realistic and a result of your analysis. Identify strategic aims that are attainable, measurable and that show clear direction of your credit union’s steps to success.
- Execution: How will we get there?
What steps can be taken now to better your credit union in the future? Developing an action plan with detailed and realistic objectives will ensure that proper structures are in place for achieving success. This action plan should include program deliverables, which are the items that will help accomplish the established objectives. These deliverables may include press releases, blog posts, media interviews, trade shows and even social media campaigns. When brainstorming deliverables, it is important that there is a clear understanding of how each one helps the credit union achieve its goals. In other words, focus on deliverables that drive results.
In order to achieve success this year and beyond, your credit union must start taking the right steps right now. While you may experience curveballs, establishing an up-to-date strategic plan as the foundation for your PR efforts will ensure you stay on track.
It’s always helpful to take a step back and reassess the progress you’ve made over the past few months—this is one of the easiest ways to determine what is working and which areas need improvement or additional attention. Revisiting and updating your PR plan will prove beneficial to your credit union, discovering new opportunities to capitalize on your strengths, overcome weaknesses and realign your action plan with your credit union’s strategic vision.
Augusta Bauknight is an account coordinator at William Mills Agency, the nation's largest independent public relations firm focusing exclusively on the financial services and technology industries. The agency can be followed on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or its blog.
Credit Union Management’s online-only “PR Insight” column runs the first Thursday of every month.