2017 may only be half over, but it’s already had its share of advertising triumphs and disasters (Sorry, Pepsi). Both the hits and the misses are the result of brands actively searching for ways to use new marketing tactics to reach an increasingly segmented group of viewers. The good news is that with the right strategy there are now more ways than ever for your credit union to reach people. And frankly, some of the greatest innovations aren’t even using new platforms. They’re simply utilizing some good old fashioned innovation. We’ve taken an in-depth look at some recent ways that marketers, especially credit unions, have been using to build their brand, sell products and reach the community. Here’s who made the cut:

Gesa Credit Union – “Supermarket Swipestakes”

Did you look twice? Swipestakes looks like a typo, but you’ve got to give Gesa Credit Union credit for inventing a word. It’s the name of the campaign, it promotes their product and it makes you want to find out more. They used their cool new wordism (see what we did there?) to create a print ad that frankly did a lot of great things.
So what exactly was the promotion? Simple. People who swiped their Gesa cards were automatically entered into a sweepstakes that offered a chance to win a three minute shopping spree at a local grocery store. And if the place they swiped their card happened to be a grocery store, they got a double entry. So, their sweepstakes encouraged people to sign up for a Gesa Visa Debit Card, engaged current debit card holders and helped out neighboring grocers. You can’t get much better than that!

Lyft – “Car Wash Takeover”

What happens when you paint a car wash pink and offer your drivers $1.00 washes? A lot of grateful drivers… and a lot of marketing buzz. If you have any plans to drive around Los Angeles during the next few weeks, you may have a hard time missing this colorful stunt by Lyft. They partnered with the La Cienega car wash to create a complete takeover using Lyft’s signature pink color, prominently displayed a sign thanking their drivers and basically redesigned everything at the car wash, from the menus to the wash-tunnel instructions. Oh, and the proceeds are being donated to the L.A. Regional Food Bank until the promotion ends on August 13th. How great is that!

So let’s turn this on its head a little. What if this promotion was for your credit union? You could paint the car wash your CU’s colors, donate the proceeds and use this amazing stunt to promote auto loans. Or, if something on a smaller scale works better, plan to host a community car wash or forge partnerships with area automotive businesses. This is the kind of community grassroots marketing that can get your credit union recognized, drive auto loans, enable you to help others and forge relationships with people throughout your local area. It’s a win, win, win, win.

State Street Global Advisors – “Fearless Girl”

We’re sure you’ve seen this by now, but the simplicity in this Cannes winning work makes it an obvious choice to include. Unofficially named the corporate feminist icon, this small but mighty bronze statue has shaken up the world of advertising. State Street Global Advisors, the asset-management business of State Street Corp., brilliantly timed the deployment of “Fearless Girl” with International Women’s Day in order to promote the appointment of women in leadership.
Fearless Girl is both individual and inspirational in a very uncomplicated way. We mention this because the most common mistake in marketing is to complicate ads with too many pieces and messages. Sometimes less really is more.
True to its name, this work depicts a young girl fearlessly staring down the famous bull statue. It hasn’t been without its critics, but it has generated many conversations. Since launching, millions of people have flocked to visit her, and she’s definitely made her mark by making a statement that has resonated.

Bank of the Prairie

Since we’re on the subject of statues, here’s another great example of simple, yet very effective marketing. Bank of the Prairie commissioned a local artist to create these custom horse statues for both of their community locations. Do they generate interest from drivers passing by? Of course! But they have also become a symbol for their customers and for people throughout the area. The second of the two statues was actually completed in 2016, but we wanted to include them because they’re inventive, recognizable and well known. Most importantly, these horses are a visual demonstration of the the bank’s core values: resilience, resourcefulness, longevity and community.

Black Hills Federal Credit Union – Brand Image Spots
Just take a quick peek at these two amazing ads:

Do you see what we’re seeing? They’re beautiful, relatable, local and were likely inexpensive and fairly easy to produce. Each of them uses a single scene to highlight inspiring moments. From the pure fun of a backyard water balloon fight to sweeping views of the area Black Hills Federal Credit Union serves, these spots create relevance for the hometown viewers.
The addition of the Mitakuye Oyasin voiceover gives one of the spots even more originality, localization and uniqueness. Mitakuye Oyasin is a phrase from the Lakota language that reflects the worldview of interconnectedness held by the Lakota people, many of whom live in the Black Hills area of South Dakota. What a beautiful and moving way to talk about closeness and community.

Every time you hear yourself saying, “Yeah, but we can’t all afford an expensive television commercial,” or “We don’t have the resources to take over a car wash,” ask yourself, “Why not?” Great things can be done with just a few tools. It’s all in the idea and the innovation.
The bottom line is that people don’t respond to advertising because they want to be sold to. They respond because they’re emotionally connected. They also want to learn, and if you can offer something that’s interesting enough, entertaining and adds some value to their lives, they’ll be more than willing to connect with your credit union.