Credit Union Geek

Marketing, Strategy, and The Force by Joe Winn

Tag: credit union planning

Pictures Put Your Brain On Turbo

A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but recent research suggests it could be much, much more. Which is more appetizing? A 50-word description of a scrumptious fudge brownie or…:

Fudge Brownies

Dessert, anyone?

Restaurants have known this simple fact for years. Show rather than tell. We don’t eat words! Even if you get 1,000 to a picture.

But what about for marketing? The key is to get people to remember and act upon your strategy. Unless you’re a very different credit union, offerings don’t normally include food service. So what good are pictures? A well-placed picture tells your story in a way words cannot. Or, more accurately, a picture entices the viewer to remember far better than mere words.

Recent research shows good visuals put your brain on turbo. And not just a little bit. Up to 60,000 times faster. That’s right, appropriate imagery triggers memory, emotions, and decision-making up to 60,000 times faster than text alone. And the coolest part? The study wasn’t just looking at photos of favorite entrees. It highlighted the entire idea of visuals.

What do I mean? That’s a great question. We have already established how photos bring a tale to life. No one wants to read a report on your favorite vacation pictures without seeing any! Be honest: When you’re browsing your Facebook News Feed, do you look for the longest text post you can find, or slow down when you get to shared photos and videos of vacations, pets, kids, etc.?

Does that mean littering your website, branch, and marketing materials with photo upon photo? Please don’t. Instead, it supports the idea of telling a story with every aspect of your presentation. One of my favorite credit union websites does this to great success. Heritage Grove CU is situated in the Pacific Northwest. It’s an area built around a love of the outdoors. Of course, the weather and terrain suits this mentality. Be it a relaxing mountain drive, a slow walk, trail running, or any number of activities (remember that post about the bicycle-loan program?), members of Heritage Grove experience plenty of Mother Nature’s air conditioning.

Heritage Grove CU

As a result, their site is built to visually express this mentality. Beyond pictures, the entire experience exudes adventure. What about your website? Is it replicating a bank, or does the visual feel match your mission? This consideration can mean the difference between an engaged member and one which just pays the bills.

So we’ve established that pictures are an effective means to tell a story in an engaging way. Plus, we learned that proper visual design can make your brain work up to 60,000x faster. And this Floridian thought Cuban coffee was potent!

Cuban Coffee Shots

Disclosure: Heritage Grove CU is a client of my company. I receive no compensation for their inclusion.

Image credits:
http://www.texanerin.com/content/uploads/2013/10/fudge_brownies_1.jpg
https://www.ourgrovecu.com
Flickr: /photos/28769489@N04/4282401037

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Soap_bubbles-jurvetson.jpg

All Packed…Except For That One Thing

Special Sunday Post! If you’ve read it, make me really happy during my travels and comment or share it with your network!

Disclosure: This is written from a personal perspective, and not for an overnight business trip. I am heading to Peru to hike the Inca Trail up to Machu Picchu! Given I live in Florida, I own neither high-altitude nor cold weather gear, at all. Imagine that the next time you shovel snow higher than your car. (It’s ok, during the summer, I can make jokes like this.)

Getting ready for a trip is handled many different ways. Are you the:

  • List-maker
  • Obsessive checker
  • Last-minute packer
  • Let others do it slacker
  • Carefree tosser
  • Organized chaos manager
  • Confident stuffer

Like a shape-shifting alien, you can be all of them at once!

In my preparations, I embraced my “-ers”. Initially, I was overwhelmed. “Basically, it’s impossible.” Then I made a list, and another, and still another. Today, I can tell you 90% of them were useless. But, they helped me transition into my next phase: Obsessive checker. “Do I have this? Perhaps, but better take everything out just to be sure.” Welcome to stressed, enjoy your stay. So I decided to wait until I knew more, when the trip was closer in time. You know, when other people could contribute. That’s not slacking, right?

Carefree tossing is not my style, but earlier today, I looked upon organized chaos and thought, “Manage this!” Each item was placed on my bed, photographed, and given the go/no-go decision right then and there. Sorry Margaritaville shirt, you’re not going to Peru. Pulling my shoulders back (it’s important for posture, especially when carrying the pack…has nothing to do with confidence), I began stuffing the chosen ones into the bag. Cinched tight, clips secured; this is what will come with me on the trail.

I forgot something. No idea what, but it’s important.

And that’s where you can fall into a cycle of inaction. If you’ve been reading my posts, you should know at what point the topic relates to your credit union. The time has come.

Every initiative has a plan, with preparations to support. Like packing for a trip. The “-ers” stop by your branch with glee. You can even name the people exemplified by each (except the slacker; credit unions are only filled with doers). Together, they make success happen. In fact, one could argue their necessity. If your credit union were filled with list makers, not much would get done, but it would be laid out in spreadsheet/presentation elegance. However, having steps all can follow helps keep everyone on the same figurative page. The obsessive checker catches what might be otherwise missed. A last minute push ensures final challenges are overcome. And so on.

The image that comes to mind is herding cats. It may be challenging, requiring specialized skills and a lot of patience, yet when done, a fluffy pile of meows and purrs emerges.

Or a successful program, even if it includes zero cats.

Now, where did that little fur-ball go?

Image credit: “80 – Machu Picchu – Juin 2009 – edit.2” by Martin St-Amant (S23678) – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:80_-_Machu_Picchu_-_Juin_2009_-_edit.2.jpg#/media/File:80_-_Machu_Picchu_-_Juin_2009_-_edit.2.jpg

If You Don’t Speak Up, Someone Else Might Not Too!

Has this ever happened to you?

I was using my web browser and noticed it behave in a way that seemed odd. Sure, I could have thought, “you silly computer” and continued on with my day. But I’m a geek, remember? So, I reported it directly to Apple. Turns out, the behavior was an unreported security issue. Do you use a Mac? Take a look at your recent Safari update details. Who do you see credited in that second bullet point?

Fast forward to the day that update was released. Many sites presented the changes, both visible and under the hood. While I was getting the computer back up-and-running, I noticed a change to the way it reported RAM being used. Oh, that’s not something you’d typically check? 😉 Once again, I could have said, “I’m sure someone else will pick up on it.” Instead, I wrote to the leading Apple reporting site online with a screenshot of the change. Not an hour later, they updated their article, visible to millions of visitors, with my comments and screenshot.

A difference was made.

Even though we’re all geeks in something, I’m not suggesting bug-hunting as a new staff strategy. But what about a staff member who notices a typo in a new marketing piece? Or a member stuck in a service loop? Do they feel empowered to speak out? How about places where it’s more subtle? Imagine your phone system. It has a recording for members, and may change depending on promotions or season. Say a staff member hears an old loan offer being discussed on the recording: “Not my department. Obviously, someone else already knows about it. I don’t want to be a bother.”

No matter your position, you are valuable. From the member who points out a slow drip in the branch bathroom to an MSR who informs management about a bug in the system, that voice made a difference. It might be substantial, saving your credit union large amounts of time and money. Or, the comment may spawn a small improvement, making the member experience just that little bit better.

Speaking out is scary. Why? We put ourselves out there. And we might be wrong. That’s ok. Create a culture of inclusiveness amongst your friends, family, and workplace. Whether above or below you on the “corporate ladder”, value that input! It won’t all be amazing, but sometimes, a bug will be found, a security vulnerability will be discovered, and a better member experience will be identified!

Image credit: http://stuffpoint.com/the-simpsons/image/92012-the-simpsons-speak-up.gif

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