PR Insight: Leveraging Awards to Grow Your Business 

many hands holding up a trophy together
By Angelo D. Jones II

2 minutes

Industry and community recognition provides a great opportunity to attract new members.

The laborious process of applying for industry awards can prove stressful and painstakingly long for credit union marketers. They may not consider the countless hours of drafting and editing award nominations the most enjoyable work, but the euphoria that permeates throughout the organization after winning makes it worthwhile. Awards play a key role in feeding the public relations and marketing engine, which supports the credit union’s overall business goals. When utilized correctly, awards serve as tools to attract new members, inform existing members of organizational leadership and innovation and strengthen the credit union’s brand. 

Bring on the New Members

Consumers often mistakenly assume credit unions are unable to handle all of their financial needs. As we know, this is not true. Awards geared toward success in innovation, leadership strategy or even size can provide great opportunities to dispel this myth. Receiving an award or honor creates a natural “moment in time” to launch marketing activities aimed at attaining new members. Marketers could write a blog to share across popular social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, or host a small pop-up event in the community. Winning an industry award (or even being recognized as a finalist) gives credit unions new opportunities to demonstrate why they are the best option for potential members who are looking for a financial services partner. 

Reminding Existing Members of Value

Awards can also serve as a powerful way to remind existing members of each of the credit union’s product offerings and inform them of the great things happening within the organization. Execution of this marketing strategy can take form as a targeted email campaign, social media promotion or even more traditional branding via banners and signage within the branch. Sharing this news with existing members is not only exciting, but it can present a chance to cross-sell products and services, benefiting both the member and credit union. 

This is also a good time to build goodwill by thanking your members—e.g., for voting for your credit union in contests sponsored by the community or publications or simply for supporting your organization during a project or campaign that earned the award.

Interacting with the Media

Awards also foster moments to interact with media outlets that cover the local community and/or the credit union industry. Issuing a press release to announce the win can help inform the media about the credit union’s current news and accomplishments. Working with the media also aids in building the credit union’s brand—among members, potential members, industry influencers, staff and potential employees. Just remember that if an award is tied to a particular publication, promotional efforts should be directed toward that publication only. 

Awards can be very beneficial for a credit union in boosting staff morale and bringing greater awareness and growth to the organization in an impactful way. When utilized properly, award campaigns can serve as vital marketing, informational and branding tools aimed that maximize a credit union’s overall marketing reach.

Angelo D. Jones II is account agent 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

CUES Learning Portal