Learn how your credit union can connect with members online through meaningful digital marketing that’s relevant to what they’re looking for.
The role of emotion, psychology and brand in digital marketing for credit unions
AT A GLANCE:
- What online banking looks like for credit union members
- Building loyalty and trust online
- Inspiring members to engage and respond
- What a strong credit union brand can achieve
What online banking looks like for credit union members
Like bigger banks, most Canadian credit unions offer online banking so members can easily check their balances and transfer money. Some credit unions offer mobile apps or interactive financial literacy tools on their websites to help members budget and manage their money. In Saskatchewan and Manitoba, there are actually more credit unions than bank branches, although many smaller credit unions don’t have a strong digital focus other than online banking and perhaps mortgage or retirement calculators on their websites.
Though credit unions tend to fall behind the major banks in digital sophistication and brand presence, this lack of focus on digital and/or brand development can translate to competitive opportunities. Individual credit unions will be able to differentiate themselves on brand and digital marketing without having to invest in expensive web technologies.
Building loyalty and trust online
For banks and credit unions today, a positive customer experience is thought to be about easy access to money or transactional satisfaction. But banking, and especially money management, is personal, and it’s important to remember that money and emotions are intertwined and that people have strong emotions about money. This means that when you’re marketing financial credit union products, you want to ensure you also conscientiously address members’ emotions around money.
At one time, banking was a local affair. Location was important and loyalty was inspired by trusting your local branch and service providers. Nowadays, the bank or credit union that offers the best or most convenient digital experience increases both market share and loyalty. And, members today spend less time at branches and more time on their computers and smartphones.
But simplified transactions aren’t enough of a differentiator to inspire loyalty. A seamless and connected online experience includes consistent visual information and messaging. So, if a credit union’s website, social media and digital ads are clear and consistent, that clarity and consistency build trust, which in turn builds loyalty.
Inspiring members to engage and respond
The single most important factor in inspiring members to engage is having a clear and consistent brand. Once you have established a strong brand presence—one that makes you memorable, relatable and likable in the minds of your audience—you can differentiate yourself from other credit unions. Then it’s just a question of tailoring your messaging and marketing tactics to give members what they’re already looking for, where they’re looking for it.
One such tactic is emotional storytelling, which has the potential to inspire members to invest emotionally in their own finances. This connection between mind, body and money transcends traditional marketing, which tends to focus only on rates and products. If your brand can clearly express that your credit union understands and helps members navigate the emotional side of personal finances, you’ll connect emotionally with them, which will in turn increase their satisfaction and loyalty.
What a strong credit union brand can achieve
Your products and services can easily go unnoticed if no one knows about you or you don’t stand out in any way.
A strong credit union brand can:
- Boost your competitive advantage
- Set you apart from other credit unions
- Speak directly to your target audience
- Engage members to connect emotionally
- Build trust and loyalty with members, vendors and partners
- Build employee morale
- Increase your market share
- Increase value for shareholders and members
Here’s what we’ve learned:
- Ample competitive opportunities exist for credit unions to differentiate themselves through their brand and digital marketing efforts without having to invest in costly web technologies.
- A seamless, consistently branded online experience will build members’ loyalty and trust
- Storytelling that inspires members to become emotionally invested in their finances can be more effective than traditional marketing.
- Your credit union brand, once strong, can increase your competitive advantage and set you apart, connect emotionally with your members, build trust and loyalty, and increase market share as well as value to shareholders and members.
Connecting mind, body and money and expressing this connection through brand-based, emotional storytelling is a powerful way to reach and engage credit union members in a more meaningful way than focusing on rates and products.
Once you have a strong foundation—in the form of a clearly defined brand and a digital platform that can measure, analyse and report on the performance of your online properties and campaigns—you will be able to make better decisions based on real data and grow your credit union through campaigns and reporting that will give you the best possible return on your investment.
Want to learn how you can gain market share through strategic digital marketing? Contact us today.
1. Young and Thrifty: Canada’s Credit Unions as Online Banking Options
2. The Financial Brand: The Path To Consumer Loyalty in Banking is Digital
3. ipswitch: Branding in Banking: 5 Reasons Strong Brands Win (2017)