Four Takeaways from CUNA MBD Conference 2018

By Third Degree05.14.2018

In case you missed the CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council conference (or in case you need a cheat-sheet of notes), we’ve pulled together some key takeaways for you!

1. Embrace social haters.

Social media is fun, until it isn’t – like those times when people post negative comments about your credit union. What do you do then? Embrace the haters! Relationships die in apathy. It’s better to respond (appropriately) to a hater than to ignore them and hope they go away. The haters themselves aren’t the only ones waiting to see how you’ll respond; everyone else who knows you on social media will be watching too.

Only about 13% of complaints on social media get a response and the average response time is 10.3 hours. Too many brands are failing at addressing these issues. For the most part it’s because they’re afraid to enter into these conversations, yet members or customers who care enough to complain deserve some sort of response.

Social media is an unscripted 24/7 press conference. You don’t get to set expectations on social, but you can manage them. A good rule of thumb: if more than 10% of members are affected, you need to respond or at least put information out there. If you don’t, someone else will and you’ll be playing catch up.

2. Get inside consumers’ heads.

Have you ever wondered what makes consumers do the things they do? This session explored some of the things that drive irrational consumer behavior. Our key takeaways were that it’s important for your credit union to give consumers options and to reassure them that you’ve got their backs.

Consumers naturally compare things and they like to have options. If you only have one offering (for instance, only one type of checking account), consumers will compare your one offering to others in the market. Having more than one option gives consumers the ability to compare similar items without having to look outside your credit union as much.

People are also inherently afraid of losing things. They’re particularly concerned about losses related to things like money and private information, two things credit unions handle the most. When consumers feel safe and believe that you’re looking out for them, they’re likely to engage more in the products and services you provide.

3. Be your authentic self.

A stunning 73% of millennials would be willing to bank with Amazon, Google, Square, or PayPal. How can you differentiate yourself with competition from these large institutions and the credit unions or community banks in your area?

The answer is that you have to figure out whether your challenge is attraction, engagement, or conversion. One way to do this is to look at your Google Analytics to see where you’re losing your millennial audience. You have to be willing to take a layered targeting approach that addresses each of these areas.

For Millennials, ease is more important than privacy. Authenticity is also really important. Brands like Amazon and Google deliver against these preferences really well. If you took their logo off the work they do, somebody would still know who the brand was and what it was all about. Can you say the same for what you do? If not, you need to rethink your approach and how you’re sharing your brand to make sure you’re doing it in a way that’s truly authentic.

4. Tell your story.

Storytelling not only speaks to the heart, it has an impact on brain chemistry. There are studies that prove it! Storytelling is an effective strategy because it is memorable. It’s a co-creative process that invites people to project themselves into the moment you’re describing.

In order to tell your story effectively, you have to know what your story is. That often means defining the things that it isn’t. A story is not a tagline, history lesson, list or brochure. It’s something that has a defined beginning, middle and end. There’s an emotion to each of those components. Think of a story as a hero’s journey: talk about what “normal” was like, what event or realization shook everything up, and what new possibilities were opened or attained as a result of that disruption.

The biggest mistake most brands (and people) make is alluding to their story without actually telling it. What matters isn’t the magnitude of the story itself, it’s your ability to define it and share it in a way that means something to people. The strength of your brand is measured by how well your members can tell your story to other people they know.

Third Degree is a marketing/advertising firm that works with credit unions.