Connect With Members Online

Treat members like they’re your friends.

May 01, 2011
KEYWORDS connecting , media , social
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More conference highlights:

Consumers’ disgust with banks’ predatory practices and bailouts gives credit unions the perfect chance to build market share, says Patrick Adams, president/CEO of St. Louis Community Credit Union.

“This is our ‘bags fly free’ moment,” says Adams, referring to Southwest Airline’s popular practice of not charging passengers for their first piece of checked luggage. “Don’t lose this opportunity.”

Measure results, not activity, when gauging business development success, says Celeste Cook, CEO of CUStrategies LLC. When she worked as a credit union business development executive, she spent a fair amount of time playing golf—and building relationships—with executives of a former select employee group (SEG).

Both Cook’s putting and relationship-building paid off: The company, AT&T, rejoined the credit union as a SEG, providing access to thousands of potential members.

Build “mind share” to grow market share, says brand strategist Libby Gill. “Capture members’ heads, hearts, and loyalty.”

Five ways to do this: Define and deliver authentic value, confirm your status as a go-to authority, create a sticky message, create a “wow” website, and implement a culture of continuous improvement.

Council honors top marketers

Taking top individual honors from the CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council are:

  • Amy McGraw, marketing director for Public Service Credit Union, Romulus, Mich. (Marketing Professional of the Year). She helped her credit union grow from 19,000 members and $89.5 million in assets four years ago to more than 23,400 members and $126.3 million in assets today despite the challenging economy.
  • Brynn Ammon, project manager for $1.1 billion asset Pen Air Federal Credit Union, Pensacola, Fla. (Business Development Professional of the Year). In 2010, under her leadership, Pen Air Federal opened more than 100 new business accounts and signed up 120 new select employee groups.
  • Joye Cox, vice president of marketing for $671 million asset SAFE Federal Credit Union, Sumter, S.C. (Hall of Fame inductee). She has been instrumental in adding underserved communities, expanding programs for senior members, and laying the groundwork for a student-run branch in a local high school.

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory ( will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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