CU Promotes 'People Powered Banking'

Members star in drive to raise awareness of CUs.

September 21, 2011
KEYWORDS branding
/ PRINT / ShareShare / Text Size +

SCE Federal Credit Union, El Monte, Calif., knows how important its members are. That’s why members star in the $500 million asset credit union’s innovative branding campaign, “People Powered Banking.”

In this campaign to expand membership, SCE Federal features members from a variety of backgrounds—high school students, city officials, and small business owners.

These members’ testimonials set SCE Federal apart from other institutions, says Annette Coronado, director of marketing.

“We’re emphasizing that we offer consumer-friendly financial solutions,” she says. “But most importantly, we’re telling the story from the viewpoint of our member-owners, with them extending the invitation to join.”

People Powered Banking

In short, members do the advertising for the credit union.

SCE Federal promotes the two-year campaign with bilingual materials in a variety of venues—branches, microsites, billboards, bus wraps, mall kiosks.

It launched the campaign to make nonmembers aware of the benefits credit unions—SCE Federal in particular—can offer, says Coronado. But it was also a matter of seizing the moment.

“It was a time of consumer uncertainty and dissatisfaction with retail banks,” she explains. “With the financial crisis and tightening of credit, consumers everywhere had a tough time accessing credit.”

Coronado can’t pinpoint exactly how successful the branding campaign has been. But the credit union has received positive feedback from both members and nonmembers, and is implementing methods to more accurately gauge awareness.

These methods include holding a “spot-us-and-win” contest, where members submit photos of credit union ads they’ve seen around town, and adding a measurement component to the credit union’s Net Promoter Score survey.

A successful branding campaign requires a variety of factors, Coronado says, including strong strategic direction, living up to your branding message, effective targeting, and open communication that fosters support from all levels of the credit union.

Other advice she offers:

  • Plan well in advance;
  • Deliver on your brand’s promises;
  • Invest in great design, copy, and execution to effectively communicate your message to the public; and
  • Get feedback and make adjustments accordingly.

Don’t expect an immediate return on your marketing investment, Coronado warns. “Branding is a long-term commitment with long-term rewards.”

LIBBY VERTZ is an intern in CUNA’s business-to-business publishing department. Contact her at 608-231-4096.

Post a comment to this story


What's Popular

Popular Stories

Recent Discussion

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.

Your Say: Who should be Credit Union Magazine's 2014 CU Hero of the Year?

View Results Poll Archive