Inside Marketing: Inspiring Hope in 2020 and Beyond

child in window holding up colored drawing of rainbow of hope
By Amber Bush

4 minutes

How to extend International Credit Union Day’s message into a meaningful year-end campaign

The theme for this year’s International Credit Union Day, “Inspiring hope for a global community,” is especially fitting. It has been a challenging year, with the unexpected emergence of COVID-19, the pandemic’s severe economic repercussions and the difficult transition to navigating the “new normal” (that feels anything but normal). Communities everywhere can certainly use some hope.

International Credit Union Day is an ideal time to reinforce to members that credit unions are there for them during these tough times, and the assistance CUs provide is heartfelt thanks to the movement’s “people helping people” philosophy. However, this message doesn’t have to be limited to a single day. Credit unions should consider extending this theme throughout the rest of the year, executing a communication campaign that shares success stories mixed with relevant financial advice. Such a campaign can position your institution to meaningfully engage with members and amplify the message of International Credit Union Day, ending a difficult year on an optimistic note.

Celebrating Wins (However Small)

With the turmoil and stress of the last six months, it’s easy for the bad to overshadow the good. However, many credit unions stepped up to the plate to profoundly help consumers and businesses in their communities. Year end is a great time to recognize these instances of hope and success that might have otherwise gotten lost in the shuffle.

For example, if your credit union participated in Paycheck Protection Program lending, was there a local business that was able to keep their doors open or retain employees as a result? Or, did you offer skip-a-pay programs that allowed members to prioritize other expenses during trying times? If so, it might be worth reaching out to the members or businesses involved, asking if they’d be willing to provide a quote about their relationship and experience with the credit union.

Another strong source of inspiration for such a campaign is your own employee base. Asking employees to share why they enjoy working at the credit union or what initiatives or interactions they’re most proud of this year could uncover strong additional content to share. Consider asking employees from different areas of the organization, from tellers to the C-suite, to showcase different perspectives.

These quotes and anecdotes (once approved) can be used over social media and in blog posts to fuel your campaign. Consider highlighting a quote a week over social channels and recapping the content in a monthly blog post. When sharing over social media, make sure to include relevant hashtags (such as #CUDifference).

Sharing your credit union’s positive impact with the community can boost employee and member morale, strengthen engagement and attract new members.

Promoting Financial Wellness

In addition to highlighting recent successes, another way to inspire hope is to provide relevant guidance and advice for helping members improve their financial health. The initial shock of the pandemic is behind us, but many businesses are still operating in limited capacity and struggling to stay in the black. Likewise, many members are still furloughed or looking for new employment opportunities. As we close out 2020 and head into 2021, pertinent financial advice and resources will be more important than ever.

There are several ways to effectively share financial advice as part of your credit union’s year-end campaign. For example, leveraging social media to share a quick “financial wellness tip of the day” is a great way to disseminate information and engage with a wide range of members. Consider using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for these snippets of advice.

For financial topics that require more in-depth explanations, a blog post (either traditional or video) is handy, which can then be promoted in smaller pieces. Perhaps your credit union can tackle a more complicated topic each week throughout the last two or three months of the year to support the campaign. Consider topics such as PPP forgiveness, boosting credit scores and paying off student loans more quickly. To help amplify reach, blogs should be shared over your institution’s social media channels or via email blasts.

Bringing It All Together

As with any effective communications campaign, establishing your voice and making sure it’s consistent throughout all channels is key. Whether writing a traditional blog, a video blog script, a social post or email, all communications should convey a common brand personality, one that communicates your credit union’s culture. International Credit Union Day is all about celebrating your institution’s dedication to positively impacting your community—use that as inspiration to let your brand shine.

Even though tough times aren’t necessarily in the rearview mirror quite yet, credit unions across the world have and will continue to help instill hope throughout their communities, providing members and businesses with the financial tools, programs and advice necessary to succeed. To extend the theme of International Credit Union Day and close out an unpredictable year with hope, honor your institution’s efforts and help members prepare for their financial futures through a cohesive communications campaign.

Amber Bush is account supervisor 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 @wmagency, Facebook, LinkedIn or its blog.

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