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'The Thank You Economy'

Social media has revolutionized how business is conducted.

December 02, 2012
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Are you grateful for your members’ business? Then say so!

The book, “The Thank You Economy,” by Gary Vaynerchuk, will show you how. The 2011 business bestseller, published by HarperCollins, illuminates best practice opportunities and strategies for reaching out to consumers.

While aimed at communicating with consumers through social media, “The Thank You Economy” includes many tips that apply to all types of consumer interactions.

For credit union personnel who interact with members and potential members through social media, the book should resonate. Vaynerchuk says it's critical staff are aware of the importance of their "voice" as representatives of their organizations, and also the impact their messages will carry.


Social media, according to Vaynerchuk, has revolutionized the way business is conducted. Personal, one-on-one attention to members and potential members is not only important, but expected.

“Developing strong consumer relationships is pivotal to a brand’s or a company’s success,” he says. He recommends invoking emotionally laden interactions through your brand messages.

All relationships formed and nurtured with members are important. Don’t take any for granted, he warns. Good relationships quite often are fostered through small interactions that promote trust and loyalty.

Consumers choose to interact with financial service providers they like, and social media can facilitate this loyalty. Make it a goal, says Vaynerchuk, to exceed members’ expectations at every opportunity.

A key lesson of the book: Don’t underestimate consumers in two areas:

1. Their willingness to forgive an unfortunate service experience; and,

2. Their ability to detect insincere communication with the underlying intent to simply sell a product or a service.


For better focus and success in all types of member interactions, the book “The Thank You Economy,” by Gary Vaynerchuk, recommends:

1. Deeply care about your mission and your credit union, and let this enthusiasm shine;

2. Don’t fear the unfamiliar—innovation can be good;

3. Reinforce a caring service culture with self-awareness, commitment to change, authenticity, and setting the appropriate tone with your communication;

4. Know members’ “language” and speak it;

5. Be aware of their wants;

6. Permit members to help define your credit union, but don’t allow them to take over;

7. Create a sense of community;

8. Allow quality interactions to become your goal, not quantity of interactions;

9. Keep in mind: “If you’re small, play like you’re big; if you’re big, play like you’re small”; and

10. Remember that sometimes you must “crawl before you run.”

The best strategy is to respectfully communicate the truth about your credit union for all who want to hear, says Vaynerchuk.

Reaping the rewards of social media communication and all types of loyalty-building member interaction requires a lot of patience, he says. Be passionate about what you do, he adds, to provide enough “fuel for conversation every day, for hours on end.”

Intellectual capital, or relationship capital, is what will allow businesses to succeed in a growing “thank-you economy.” In the end, he says, any obstacle can be overcome with the same solution: Out-care the competition. Businesses that establish and grow strong relationships with consumers will be the ones to succeed, he says.

LORA BRAY is CUNA’s research librarian.

This article first appeared in
Front Line newsletter.


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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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