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Grow your CU by leveraging its purpose


If you think your members just want a checking account, online access and fairly priced loans, think again. At The League's Innovators & Educators Roundtable Aug. 15, you'll learn to deliver what consumers really want when choosing any product or service, and how credit unions' unique purpose and values can satisfy that craving in ways the competition can't to achieve bottom line results and membership growth. Just one of the presenters, Josh Allison - Founder and Chief Ideator for Think Café, a consulting company, and Development manager for Horizon CU - offers a preview.


Today's credit union, Allison says, has become indistinguishable from other financial service providers because there are so many of them offering so many of the same things. And credit unions' messaging – that has often explained what a credit union is based on services alone, only to have them appear bank-like – hasn't helped.


"If you're not growing, it's because you're not communicating what consumers really want," he said. "If you're only talking about rates, accounts and other services, you've commoditized yourself into oblivion."

To illustrate, Josh cites a store's toothbrush aisle and the dozens of colors and logos consumers confront there. Unless the consumer recognizes some appreciable difference among the choices, there's nothing to guide his or her purchasing behavior. Fortunately, he says, credit unions already have a distinction they can leverage: the fact that they all exist to improve members' financial position and the communities where they live and work.
Allison points to Tom's, the online shoe and eyewear company. It has swiftly increased its market share by selling what consumers really want: purpose. For every pair purchased, Tom's donates a pair to a child in need.

"Their website says 'One- for-One,' and calls itself a 'Movement.' There’s a lesson in this for credit unions," Allison said. "We are also a movement, but we haven't done what other companies have to articulate our purpose and values. But consumers will not only choose shared values when given a range of options, but actively seek them when deciding where to do business."


That's important, Allison says, because consumers now drive more of the process when it comes to finding and analyzing goods and services. Consumers simply go online, and can go anywhere, making it essential that they know what it is that sets you apart. In fact, he adds, consumers have grown so distrustful of marketing messages that an estimated 70 million shoppers are "box turners;" they immediately look for the ingredients label to see what a company is really selling.

"Consumers assume that what you offer is equal to competitors so talking about features is no longer a value proposition. It's what you stand for, and what doing business with you helps achieve, that will attract and retain them," Allison added.


At The League's Innovators and Educators Roundtable, Allison will challenge credit unions to "think authentically" and communicate the "bigger idea" of improving quality of life that all credit unions share. Discover how "purpose" has translated into growth for companies and credit unions that articulate this well, and walk away understanding how to leverage your credit union's identity for improved profitability and membership growth.


Register by Aug. 1 to receive special early-bird pricing of just $99.


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