Credit Union Geek

Marketing, Strategy, and The Force by Joe Winn

Tag: perceptions

Old School Thinking

You’re not old, just maturing like a fine wine.

We all do it, no matter our age. “Because it’s always been done that way.” How much sense does that make? Say it aloud. Would such a declaration inspire confidence in your team? It is tempting; humans are creatures of habit. Do you have a morning ritual? How about a specific way you tie your shoes? It’s very easy to switch from active thinkers to passive participants in our own lives.

Good thing this has nothing to do with our work. What was that? We get into habits there too? Impossible, we’ve always done it this way and it has worked…oh boy, you got me! Is there refuge from a life of pre-set habits?

Stop everything. Breathe, but differently than normal. Place your hand over your abdomen and feel it rise and fall with slow rhythm. In…and out. In…hold…and out. No chest breathing; keep your shoulders in a relaxed position.

Now, were you focused? In the moment? Out of a habitual stupor? Wonderful, now it gets hard.

This happens every day, in all areas of work. And some may be sapping your success.

It’s time to look at everything through the senses of a baby. Imagine how they perceive the world…no preconceived notions, no judgment, just wondrous absorption and processing. The first time they toss something and it falls down…remember, they weren’t sure where it would go…up? To the side? Hover in place? (We all know the answer…mom or dad picks it up, of course!)

Whatever you have done in the past, reassess to see if it truly makes sense in achieving your goals. This may involve member communication, marketing strategies, or workplace organization. Nothing is out of bounds, including how you evaluate…that may be tainted as well!

Remember, your business (be it credit union or otherwise) and your life are active experiences…why be a passenger?

Is Your Credit Union Sending Members the Wrong Message?

Originally published on

This post might not be for you. Or, it could be exactly what you and your credit union team need.

Inspired By: Someone Else’s Faux Pas

I’ll be honest; the inspiration came from a local chamber of commerce, not credit union. So, it’s possible none of you are making this mistake. Unless you are…

We’re going to talk about messaging. Public perception. How you convey yourselves to your target audience. Be it your members or the community at large. Just as it can raise positive awareness, publicity can paint an undesirable picture. I saw this happen with a large chamber of commerce in my area. Pretty sure they didn’t notice the faux pas. So what happened?

Who’s Your Target Audience? (ie. Who do you serve?)

Theater Seating
Who would attend your CU’s show?

First, let’s back up and ensure we are all on the same page. Whether you’re a chamber of commerce or credit union, who is your target audience? Exactly.

Local businesses and their staff, residents, and those you wish to attract to the area.

Who do you serve? Well, your members.

When these two things line up, you can better pursue your mission.

The “Event”

In the case of this chamber of commerce, they held a major event, complete with ribbon cutting by the mayor, to celebrate the opening of…a Krispy Kreme.

Now, I don’t know if their stores are franchise or corporate, yet think about it. Is this the message they really want to promote? That a big, multi-national corporation gets special treatment and recognition, while thousands of local businesses, each with their own unique stories to tell, get ignored?

To clarify, this isn’t something they do for every new business opening, even of chamber members.

Perception Matters

Happy Bearded Man at Desk with Be Happy Note on Forehead
Tell me you wouldn’t want to recognize these dedicated goofballs?

In real estate, the oft-repeated phrase is: “Location, location, location.”

Here, could we say it’s “perception, perception, perception”?

If an institution talks about being there for the “little guys”, then makes a big deal out of the exact opposite, what do you think?

It comes across as hypocritical towards the local businesses they espouse to promote and support.

Where is the event for the local business whose staff and owner overcame enormous struggles to be successful?

Or even to just open their doors?

Like I said, you might not be making this mistake. But in case you are…awareness is a good thing.

PS – This is a great time to solicit stories from members about the greatest challenges they have. Then choose one (or more) and do something to help.

Image credit (because what says recognition and celebration like an anthropomorphized pineapple?!): Pineapple Supply Co. on Unsplash

A Geek’s Thoughts on the Election

Today, this country made a decision, but it isn’t a decision in which anyone should be proud. Whether you voted for your candidate or against the other one, or a mixture of both (or went third-party), the conclusion is a troubling result. We’ve said that experience is irrelevant. We’ve said that decorum is unnecessary. We’ve rewarded hateful speech and actions, probably because we share the fears from which they derive. We’ve legitimized a lot more, but it’s not even worth diving into it here.

In my research of machine learning (artificial intelligence), a common theme arose around the idea of logarithmic change. This means that as change (in this case, computer performance and “smarts”) occurs, it occurs at a faster rate than prior. Not only does a system get smarter as it “grows”, but it gets smarter more quickly. Think of it like a car which goes 0-60 in 4 seconds, 60-120 in 3, 120-180 in 1, 180-240 in 0.1, and finally 240-300 in 0.0001 seconds. Once it’s going 500, can you even process that type of acceleration? More importantly, how would you describe the velocity increase at 1,000? If you’re struggling to wrap your brain around it, that’s ok. You’re not alone. We perceive the world linearly, and this is at the core of many challenges.

Our world has been in the midst of this increasing rate of change for all of its history. However, only within the past decade or so has it become so impactful on the average person’s life. Minorities are rapidly becoming the majority, social norms are shifting at an accelerated rate, and the divide between what our knowledge contains and what the average person knows (or even *could* know) is growing exponentially. You could probably describe the basic idea of how your VCR worked. How about your iPhone?

This is why the challenges of today (and tomorrow) are so difficult to reconcile. We think in a linear fashion: Last year was that, this year is such and such, so next year will be a derivative of those. Except this no longer applies. Change accelerated and next year will be something we can hardly imagine.

And neither candidate appeared to grasp this fundamental concept.

This election was an expression of deep-seated fear of the unknown (be it gay marriage, traditional gender roles breaking down, ethnic diversification on a majority scale, expanding capabilities of a surveillance state, and any number of other topics). What many always knew to be true simply isn’t anymore. Like being in an earthquake, people’s “bedrock” is cracking. Anxiety over what an ever-increasingly changing future will bring led Americans to make rash decisions all the way through the election process.

I don’t have any answers. I’m pretty sure our President-elect doesn’t, either. So we’re going to have to work together and figure out how we will move forward while navigating this wildly-accelerating car.

Image credit: Me, seeking inner balance and focus.

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