Inside Marketing: 3 Things Credit Unions Can Learn From Lionel Messi

soccer player lining up to kick the ball toward goal
By Frankie Keck

4 minutes

This famous footballer leads the pack on the pitch and with fans through consistency, strong leadership and smart marketing.

The 2022 World Cup is quickly approaching, and many soccer legends are participating in their final world cup games. One of them is Lionel Messi—a soccer (or football, for those not in the U.S.) professional that has inspired millions of soccer fans around the globe.

Messi’s fans don’t just trust him on the field as a player, but also as a person. Messi takes pride not only in his record but in his fans, and credit unions should likewise take pride in their members and work hard to earn their loyalty.

Members are looking to trust the financial institutions they chose. Credit unions can gain members’ trust and loyalty through many strategies that Messi has implemented.


One thing that makes Messi stand out compared to other professional soccer players is that he consistently works hard to bring success to his team and to his fans. Through his consistent performance and dedication to the sport, fans easily trust and look up to him as an expert player and leader. Credit unions have the same opportunity to foster trust by consistently providing quality member service, care and solutions and by being dedicated to members’ banking needs. Credit unions have an advantage over other financial institutions because of their dedication and relationships with their members.

Credit unions that consistently exceed their members’ expectations will quickly build more loyalty and trust. That being said, credit unions can better show consistent quality by delivering services with a personal touch, providing a comprehensive and reliable banking platform that makes all functions simple for users, and responding promptly and efficiently to any questions or concerns.


Utilizing social media and implementing a market plan is another important way to deliver an exceptional experience for your members. Messi may have a whole marketing team for his socials and live events, but he (and they) portray him in such a way as to be seen as credible, knowledgeable and humble. Through his social media presence, he is able to grow his connection with fans.

Credit unions should market to members based on their unique needs to properly engage them. Helping your members at the right time with the needed service will strengthen the relationship. Using social media to further connect with members so they know about these services is crucial. Social media serves as a great outlet for member service, updates, educational posts and brand awareness. A credit union can shape consumer perceptions by developing an online presence that is credible, knowledgeable, relatable and trustworthy. Not only do these social marketing platforms allow for promoting the credit union’s services, but they also serve as a helpful tool for members looking for answers or wanting to learn something new.


Leadership comes in many different shapes and sizes—all teams are different, and there may be several ways to achieve your goals. Messi leads his team with confidence and achieves results through his expertise and guidance as well as his talent on the field. Credit unions can lead by being a dependable financial institution, just as Messi leads by being a dependable player.

But credit unions can be leaders in many other ways as well, including staying on top of digital banking trends, connecting with members in deeper ways or producing innovative thought leadership and guidance. When credit unions integrate new fintech into their banking platforms, they can be seen as trailblazers to their members. Offering new ways to manage finances is key to differentiating your credit union from other financial institutions. Credit unions can also serve as leaders in their communities by volunteering and supporting local business, charities, events and initiatives. But it’s imperative to use marketing and communication tools to let members know about these efforts and innovations.

Member retention should be a priority for all credit unions. Just as Messi reaps the benefits of his fans’ loyalty, credit unions can thrive when they earn member loyalty. Members that feel you credit union is dedicated to providing top-notch service, providing a personalized touch and consistently meeting expectations are going to be the most loyal to your organization. The goal is to have your members recommend the credit union to others and continue to do business with you because they believe you are the best institution for their needs.

Frankie Keck 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.

Compass Subscription