. The Transom .

Monday, February 23, 2009

Changes to The Transom

It's been far too long since my last post, both because I'm also now writing our agency blog (www.caccauldron.com) and for a personal issue that has now come to pass. I am committed to continue The Transom but am going to expand it to not just marketing issues, but greater business issues of the day.

As such, I had the opportunity to present a social media workshop to the Missouri Credit Union Association last week. It was both a rewarding and engaging experience and while I passed on a lot of useful information to the attendees, I also learned a lot about the workings of credit unions and how they differ from traditional banks. One of the key similarities to the credit union business and my business of public relations, is a complete lack of understanding by the vast majority of potential customers, or potential members in the case of credit unions. There is a clear financial advantage for most people to use credit unions, yet the overwhelming majority of people do not. There is a clear advantage to utilizing a more robust public relations approach to marketing, yet most companies fail to understand.

When it comes to public relations, most people have the Hollywood understanding of the business - media publicists or spin doctors. While there are a few of these rats running around calling themselves PR people, in truth they are publicists, and there is a big difference. And when it comes to credit unions, most people still think of them as exclusive, private organizations that only 5% of people can get in. In reality, more than 80% of consumers qualify for membership in a credit union.

I would bet that most people would do themselves a favor by exploring a little intellectual curiosity every now and then. Stop and ask yourself, is this the best way to do it or am I doing it this way because everyone else does? Is this the best place for my money or my budget, or am I spending it like this because it's what I am familiar with? Those companies and people that choose to do a sliver of homework on the subjects find great benefit in their new choices. I bet you can too.

6 Comments:

  • Excellent case in point Rob; especially for a PR/Communications firm. ;-)

    Most credit unions realize the need for a robust PR effort; however, when faced with the immediate need to generate income (since margins are squeezed tighter than a nickel in a dollar store) or generate a cause marketing effort, ultimately the revenue generator wins. I would be willing to bet a hefty sum that few CU folks would argue your point. Most would simply ask, "How would you propose we pay for it?" If it's not going to immediately help a member or the entire membership, it's a long range goal. Credit Unions have a long standing traditon of People Helping People by making decisions based on the needs of the membership. Today, credit union members need a safe place to put their money which yields a solid return for their future and a reasonable source for credit. The credit union's responsibility is to communicate that to the membership.

    Hopefully, state and national trade associations will see the need for a larger, more robust integrated communications effort consisting of PR and advertising tactics so that individual credit unions can continue to do what they do best - help people make the most of their money.

    By Anonymous Michelle Rosner, at Friday, February 27, 2009 10:54:00 AM  

  • I'd be curious to hear what 'immediate revenue generating' initiative works so well that PR can be brushed aside. Additionally, I'm in favor of an ongoing campaign rather than a quick income scheme. Over the long term, I would be willing to bet that one ongoing program trumps multiple bursts of activity with the goal of revenue generation or membership communication. But as you pointed out, that is the opinion coming from the guy in the PR Firm seat.

    By Blogger Rob Amberg, at Friday, February 27, 2009 2:07:00 PM  

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