5 Ways To Claim Your Youth


We’re marketing to a new generation of consumers.  To put it in context, this is a generation that doesn’t remember the cold war.  The term “Like a broken record” means very little to them, and they have likely never heard a busy signal. While major events like 9/11 and the Economic Crisis have shaped their view of the world, they are more knowledgeable, better connected and more cynical of marketing than any other generation.  So, how can you “Claim your youth” and capture the attention of the next generation of consumers?  Well, here’s a little brainfood….

1. {Make Life Easier}

When asked if young people would rather keep an item of technology (iPhone, Laptop) or keep their sense of smell, they chose technology. While this may seem absurd, technology has really become almost like a human sense.  We filter the world just as we would our through our eyes and ears. Today’s youth are growing up in a world where “there’s an app for that” can solve just about any problem with great ease.  How can you solve problems easily and in the way that young people care about? 
2. {Have Style}

Good design isn’t just about distinctive aesthetics. It’s also deliberately maximizing functionality to help achieve greater results.  We all know what bad design is, so why not stomp it out to create consistency.  Let’s start with your website. If you held your hand over the logo of your website, would you still be able to tell it is your credit union? Think like a retailer and have your own distinct vibe. Look at other brands outside the credit union system for inspiration.  Are you Sears or Nordstrom?  If a retailer took over your credit union, how would the lobby look?  How would your website change to get more in the shopping cart? 

 3. {Keep it Simple}

When is the last time you applied for a loan at your credit union? Or tried to become a member?  How easy is it to turn purchase intent into a sale? Can you simplify the process, paperwork or language to make it fool-proof? And what could be more daunting than trying to move from one financial institution to another?

4. {Give them something to care about}

Young people care about helping those less fortunate and expect those ideals from the companies they do business with.  Form partnerships with non-profits. Publish your good deeds as part of your marketing endeavors. Have a rule or thumb or mantra like Tom Shoes. 

5. {Come to the Claim Your Youth Conference in Vegas on Oct 9-11}

Your youthful members are the future money managers who will eventually need car loans, credit cards, mortgages and the rest of your products and services. But they’re a different animal when it comes to marketing to them. They’re texting and involved in social media so you have the opportunity to use all kinds of techie, fun options besides sending newsletters. The Claim Your Youth Conference offers insight into your young members and how to gain their loyalty so you can create a culture to make them members for life. Learn more about it here. 
Hope you see you there with your sense of smell still intact.
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Friends with Benefits: Five BFFs every credit union marketer should have

{originally posted on cuinsight.com}

It’s a mad, mad world for credit union marketers.  We are expected to increase footprints in the door, boost loan volume, raise membership, pat backs, kiss babies and cheerlead the staff to new heights. As the song goes, every marketer could “have a little help from my friends”.
Here are five people within the credit union to befriend:

1.  Tammy {the talkative teller} 
Every credit union has one teller that members wait patiently for, even when there’s a line.  This same teller can sell ice to Eskimos, knows every member name and account number and often get suspicious packages and love notes from would-be strangers. She knows wedding dates, birthdays and ogles over the trials, tribulations, and life events of each member she serves. In truth, she knows the members more than anyone in the credit union. She is the closest to understanding the members on a deeper level than any matrix of demographics ever will. Take the talkative teller to lunch to pick her mind.  Be prepared to do most of the listening and soak in every story.  It will give you just the emotional hook you need to connect with your members in new ways.

2.  Barry {the bookish bean counter}
Every CFO is a marketer’s arch nemesis at times. There is much to learn from Barry if you can get passed his excel spreadsheets. Barry has his pulse on the credit union’s current financial position, what products are ripe to promote, and how the economy can play into your success.  Take Barry out for coffee, but forgive him if he starts counting the beans they use to make it.

3.  Carl {the cautious collector}
A collector is a challenging occupation.  While we have the ability to create and bring positive trends to the credit union, Carl is constantly on the phone keeping the credit union safe. Sitting with Carl for a day will help you appreciate your job and think about how to target more effectively to keep the safety of the credit union in mind. Take Carl for a relaxing drink and talk about his role in your credit union. Trust me – he deserves it.

4.  Linda {the lucrative lender}
There always is a showstopper in lending – the loan officer who always has the highest volume and has the most requests for loan appointments.  Linda may be new or your most veteran employee.  She can walk you through the lending processes and wow you with her relationships with members.  While you get members in the door, Linda is the one who can fulfill the promises you have laid before your members.  Does it really take 10 minutes to close a loan? Is the process really convenient and easy? Linda is the one person who can tell you how the process can improve your marketing prowess. Linda is your key to what members are saying about your loans…whether it be rates, products or needs.  Share a soda with Linda in the lunchroom but be prepared with a tissue when she tells you about the lives she’s improved.

5.  Helen {the helpful human resource manager}
This probably shocks as a BFF for a marketer, but she is essential.  In order for any marketing to be successful, support from the team is critical.  There is nobody better than Helen to teach you about the people that work across the hall from you.  She has a grip on culture, morale and the team in general.  Helen has the insight you need to prepare for staff meeting before rolling out a new product, promotion or initiative.  Give Helen a nice pen to write with because she will have many notes for you.

For those shocked I didn’t mention the CEO…he doesn’t need to be a BFF – make him a fan of your work instead.  Start by befriending the ones mentioned above. Who knows – you may gain some insight, knowledge to do your job better, and some uber cool friends along the way.

by: Lisa Moore, Story {Teller}, gira{ph}

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dear gira{ph}, it’s me, Lisa

Well, this is my first official blog post for you and I feel the need to introduce myself.  I’m Lisa.  I would shake your hand, but I don’t like germs.

It’s really weird to introduce yourself to a new company, new people and a whole new world when you’ve done the same thing for so long.  Some may say it’s even a little scary.   I wouldn’t disagree with that statement, but sometimes excitement and adrenaline take over.  It’s like the uphill ride on a roller coaster when you keep thinking, “oh, no why am I doing this?” But once you go down that first hill, the rest is a “hands in the air” kind of ride.   Besides, you know the old saying “change is inevitable, especially if you pay with a dollar when it only costs 72 cents”.   Just kidding, that is not an old saying, but it could be.

I wanted to say it was never an easy decision for me to leave Pioneer WV FCU.  That place was like home to me.  Everything from the smell of the buildings to the paint on the walls reminded me of growing up.  You see, gira{ph}, I began working there at fifteen years old.  At the time I was hired to do office work, but I enjoyed it very much.  So much that I returned for work every summer afterwards.

After high school I began college and continued my employment at Pioneer and became a full time employee and student.  I remember times not leaving work until midnight or later just so I could get my hours in as a full time employee.  Don’t worry, I won’t do that to you…I graduated several years ago.

I made the best of friends during my time at Pioneer, and for that will always be so grateful.  They are an amazing bunch of people whom I will miss very much.  But perhaps, I am most grateful for the opportunity to find myself professionally.  I worked in almost every area of the credit union and finally found a “home” in marketing.   After we re-branded last year I found my passion.  {Alongside Kelley, I wanted to help other credit unions tap into their full potential.

So gira{ph}, I want to thank you for already making me feel welcome and part of this amazing company that has so much heart.  You must be grateful to Ms. Kelley Parks for creating you.  I’m serious, gira{ph}, if you haven’t thanked her then you should because {she brought you to life through dreams and determination,} and you don’t want to be rude.  I could go on and on about how wonderful Kelley is but I think you already know.

Here’s to the first week of many more to come!  Again, I thank you, gira{ph} and I will talk to you again soon. By the way, I hope all of our future conversations aren’t just one-sided.  😉


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gira{ph} grows taller: please welcome lisa

It’s been quite an adventure the last two years for gira{ph}.  Not a day goes by that I’m not thankful to work in an industry full of amazing people who truly make a difference in the lives of consumers.   Along this incredible journey, I’ve had the great fortune to meet many extraordinary people with unique perspectives and so much to teach the world of credit unions.  One of which is Lisa Moore, Marketing Manager of Pioneer West Virginia FCU.

I met Lisa two years ago, just as I was leaving my job at Call.  She was looking for help with marketing and branding.  Perhaps it was serendipity, fate or a higher power, but she  became my first official client when I went on my own.  We had instant chemistry and over the last two years, I’ve witnessed Lisa’s thumbprint on an incredible transformation of her credit union from the inside out. It’s a story every credit union marketer should hear.

I am excited beyond words to announce that Lisa will be joining gira{ph} to share her experience and help credit unions grow and prosper. Lisa brings with her a unique perspective, hundreds of side-splitting stories and unending passion to lead credit unions into a new era.

Here’s why I’m excited to have Lisa on my team:

Lisa gets {results} She went through a rebranding last year that helped grow her credit union to be #6 in the country for Loan Growth and #15 in Visa Credit Card Growth (according to the nice folks at Callahan), not to mention record net income levels and new membership growth numbers in one of the most difficult economic times in our history. Armfuls of awards can’t match the sheer magnitude of how much Lisa’s leadership has helped turn her credit union around.

Lisa is an {idea machine} Just pose a question and for your own safety, stand out of the way.  Lisa is truly one of the most creative, clever and witty people I’ve ever met.

Lisa is an {entrepreneur}  I believe this gift started at the ripe age of 8 when she started a business selling miracle water (aka dirty water from a mud puddle) door to door.  Ever since, she’s used that kind of creative thinking to create marketing magic. Give her a small budget and she still makes miracles. Luckily credit unions have more merit than dirty water.

Lisa has a {unique perspective}  She started in credit unions at the age of 15 as a teller and has experience in lending, operations, member service and finally marketing.  She even has experience in janitorial services – although that was short-lived, since she almost blew up the building.  She was young, and it’s a long story.  Don’t hold it against her.

Lisa is a {story teller}  Her secret ambition is stand up comedy, and I honestly think she missed her calling.  She just needs a stage. Though I’m pretty sure most of her stories are enhanced for dramatic effect, they are always entertaining.

Lisa is a {gifted writer} Lisa has a unique blend of wit, warmth and wisdom in her writing style. I’m sure you’ll be hearing lots of Lisa’s stories soon on this blog. Stay tuned.

Lisa is {passionate} Topping her list is credit union marketing, college football and deep fried pickles.  When Lisa commits to doing something – it’s a homerun.

You can read more about Lisa’s story here and here.

Join me in welcoming Lisa on a new adventure to help credit unions create chemistry with consumers and stand taller to seize this unique moment in history. 

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The Gift of Human Imagination {Video}

“All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
-Pablo Picasso

It’s an oldie, but a goodie.  Sir Ken Robinson talks about the power of creativity in his TED presentation.  Go grab some coffee and shut your door. It’s worth the 20 minutes. Trust me.

Here are my three favorite points and the implications for credit unions:

1. {Think like a child}: Children are natural innovators. Every kid is creative, yet as adults the barriers of society and corporate culture suck it out of us.  Humanity is inherently creative.  We need good ideas to propel us forward, yet where does creativity sit on our org chart? Is it practiced? Is it rewarded? Or are ideas largely admonished?

2. {We need to rethink the richness of human capacity} It’s nearly impossible for humans to make truly logical decisions. As Simon Sinek points out in his book, Start With Why, we make decisions in our lymbic brain, the part of our brain responsible for emotion.  This is why brands have such a large influence on our purchasing decisions and why companies like Apple make record profits. What if Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg or Larry Page started a bank? Do you think they’d continue to market on rate, price and dinosaur products? No. They’d inspire us with creativity and imagination. And we’d pay a premium.

3. {If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original} We stigmatize mistakes. Think about the last meeting you went to where a mistake was made.  Mistakes have a powerful control over our ability to be creative. Yet, history is full of monumental come-backs. Did the innovative “New Coke” wipe Coca-Cola out of business? No. In fact, Coca-Cola learned from its mistakes, drew closer to its customers, came back stronger and is still the #1 soft drink in the world.  Let’s be wrong, try new creative things, and bounce back higher.

After all, human imagination can only be a gift if it is actually given. 

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Happy Birthday, gira{ph}

Today marks the one year anniversary of this adventure. The day also marks the 20 year anniversary of my Dad’s business too – the person in life I look up to most.  Thanks to him, I grew up with unending optimism that anything is possible in life.

My father grew up in a poor, rural town in Southern Virginia. He was stricken with polio at the age of 3 leaving him paralyzed in one leg and partially in the other. As the only handicapped kid in his small town, he didn’t let it stop him from being the first in our family to go to college, then on to graduate school.  He became a popular research analyst for the furniture industry, and traveled the world speaking and inspiring the industry he loved so dearly.

A few years ago, after several falls, he lost the ability to walk and travel. Bed-ridden for weeks at a time, he ran his small business from the side of his bed. He did whatever it took to provide a good life for his family, share the unending passion he had for business, and inspire the industry he cared about.

Dad taught me a lot of things in life, but here are a few of my favorites:

{Be humble} Dad won every award possible, was on the Today Show, MSNBC, quoted in many publications like the Wall Street Journal, but you’d never know it by his modest nature.  He would often say that he was just fortunate to be in the right place at the right time, simply making the most of life’s circumstances and opportunities.

{Be Generous With Your Time} Dad would give the shirt off his back to anyone in need, both in business and in his personal life.  He has unending compassion for the human spirit. When people come to him for advice, he stops everything he is doing to be an ear to listen.

{Anything is possible with hard work} Dad traveled and worked constantly.  It was exhausting to see how it would wear on his crippled body, but he’d push through to do whatever it took to be successful. Despite overwhelming odds and physical challenges, his determination and optimism led him through the kind of life books are made of.

{Have a Sense of Humor} Dad is one of the funniest people I know. There is nothing too stressful that a little self-depricating humor can’t alleviate. His weight, his bald head, his physical handicap’s – nothing is off limits.

{Challenge The Status Quo} Dad is one of the most creative people I know.  When I am at a loss for ideas, he is one person I call.  Maybe its the entrepreneurial spirit, but Dad constantly challenges ideas and pushes his conservative industry to be more innovative.

{The Best Part of Going Away is Coming Home} Dad would often say that he worked hard because he wanted my brother and I to have everything in life we ever needed.  Although he was often away for business, when he came home his attention was on us.  He made sure we knew we were what was most important in his life.

Cheers to you Dad, 20 years in business and all you taught me through it all.  Thanks for living a life by example.  My greatest wish is that in 19 years, my daughter will be able to say the same.

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I Was Here {Video}

Every year I’m like a kid at Christmas just before the CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council’s annual conference. Perhaps this year was made extra special, since for the first time I attended not as a credit union employee, but as a consultant / speaker. The occasion marked a full year since going out on my own.

Friday night I had the pleasure to cheer on my friends and watch my first client’s eyes light up as they won their first diamond awards. As I sat and watched them, I reflected on what has been perhaps the most challenging and rewarding year of my life – the high’s, the low’s, the successes, and the failures. I wouldn’t change any of it for the world. Amy McGraw summed  it up so eloquently in her acceptance speech for Marketer of the Year, {If you find a job you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.} No truer words have been spoken.

Congratulations to Lisa, Lori and Shannon, True CU Pioneers. It’s been an honor to witness your success and see you transform your credit union from the inside out. I feel fortunate that I was here.

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