Is Your CU South of Bordering Greatness

In case you ever wondered, there are 71 outdoor boards for the world famous tourist trap, South of the Border, along the southbound side of Interstate 95 between Virginia and the South Carolina border. How do I know this? When I was a kid, it was a tradition for my brother and I to count the brightly colored, uniquely branded billboards on our Chevy Chase-style road trip vacations to Disney World. It marked the halfway point from our house to the mouse.

There’s nothing quite like an onslaught of humorous outdoor ads against a prosaic pine tree- lined skyline to build a kid’s anticipation. It’s brilliant because by the time you get there, you’ll buy anything. And I mean anything. How else can I explain all the tacky, overpriced, useless plastic, whosits that have come into my possession after years of visiting Pedro’s Wonderland.

So, here are some great marketing lessons learned from the world famous tourist trap:

Be bright in a sea of blah: Just like brightly colored billboards that stand out against the skyline, credit unions have a similar opportunity. So few financial institutions are truly unique and bold in their messages since the norm is that financial marketing should be safe, boring and gray. The world craves bravery.

{Tell a story that builds anticipation} Would one or two or ten billboards have the same effect? I doubt it. They have uniquely positioned their marketing so it builds anticipation and tells their story in 10 words or less over a four hour stretch of road. As credit unions, how often do we depend on the one ad or campaign to tell our story. Great marketing builds on itself and makes people want to talk about it.

{Have a sense of humor} What I love about Pedro is that he pokes fun at himself for all his quirks. After all, it’s a filthy tourist trap, but at least he’s real about it. What quirks do you have that members find endearing and refreshingly human? Do you give lollipops to kids of all ages? Is it fun to stand in line? Is Bob the Loan Officer’s tattoo the exact color of money? Does Betty the Teller claim she can remember your name after one transaction? Maybe it’s time to embrace who we really are instead of the air-brushed version.

{Be consistent and iconic} After reading 71 of Pedro’s silly slapstick messages, you know exactly what to expect when you pull off the exit. Since we’ve traveled 200 miles together, Pedro becomes like a personal friend who has invited me to his home. He was polite with his introduction, made me laugh over and over, so asking me to dinner isn’t out of the question. So, who is your credit union’s spokesperson? And is the tone consistent across all mediums from forms to signs so members know exactly what to expect when they walk through your doors?


About giraphcu

Greetings and salutations! Welcome to gira{ph}, a strategic marketing firm that helps credit unions amplify their greatness to create chemistry with consumers. The credit union movement has given so much to us. This is our way of giving back. Enjoy!
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