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Author "World 2.0" Journal           55110 Views
Morriss Partee
Chief Experience Officer








Holyoke, MA

The Business Value of Personal Connection
created 05/23/2014

Who are you striving to be?

10275516_705648832830172_5588543601566778944_oThanks to this photo of Roy Bergengren recently shared by credit union advocate Matthew Cropp of Vermont, I realize that we now have fewer credit unions in the U.S. than at any time prior to NINETEEN THIRTY-NINE. Think about that for a minute.... what does that mean? Now some would explain that away saying that overall membership in the U.S. is at an all time high. So let's put those two equations together: more people, but fewer institutions. Is that a good thing? A bad thing? Just a thing?

What would Ed Filene and Roy Bergengren think? That after the past 75 years of credit union advocacy, we now have fewer credit unions serving all of America? Are the products better than before? Is the service worse than before? Is the differentiation between credit unions and banks better or worse than 75 years ago? Do we still have a need for credit unions, or has the reason they were founded pretty much gone away? Is there more opportunity than ever before for smaller CUs to succeed? Or is it just too challenging, and every CU below $10m in assets should just get merged into a larger one until there are none in this size range anymore? Do you need to offer every financial product and service that your competitors do in order to succeed? Or does that pursuit just drain time and money resources away from your CU's core mission?

What is the mission and purpose of your credit union? Who are you trying to be? Who are you serving? What is your connection like with the members you serve? Tight? Barely there?

One of the reasons I bring up this topic is that it seems to me that more and more credit unions are basically operating as tax-exempt banks; attempting to grow no matter what, and becoming more generic in appearance and attitude (and losing connection with the group that founded them). To operate this way may serve the needs of the institution (although it may actually not), but in any case seems a disservice to the membership, and perhaps just as importantly, a disservice to the CU movement as a whole. If a credit union is going to operate like a bank, it should just acknowledge that fact and change charters and switch to being regulated and insured the FDIC instead of NCUA. That tax-exempt thing is not really that a great a business advantage anyway.

But the other surprising thing about credit unions operating like banks (aside from failing to live up to its mission statement) is that in many cases, the trend is away from generic large institutions and stores, and TOWARDS unique, local, and independent organizations. So-called "big box" stores are on the decline; while one-of-a-kind shops find their niche. Many people avoid chain restaurants in favor of unique eateries.

But being different, in and of itself, is not a sustainable business model. To increase success in business, you need to provide something different for which there exists a customer base. One way to approach this differentiation is to employ technology to make it easier for your customers to do business with you, whether that be in facilitating the process of ordering products and services, the delivery of those products and services, or help in using those products and services. From our own point of view; we've found that every time we make our own technology easier to use, more streamlined, and more personalized, it pays dividends immediately.

How are you using technology to differentiate and personalize your credit union? Are you using technology to strengthen the connection between your employees and your members, or is it weakening that connection? Who are you serving, and how are you making their experience with you easier and better? If providing "better, more personal service" is the differentiation point of your credit union (as many state), is your technology living up to that promise? What are your thoughts?



New Loan Report!
created 01/31/2013

 

Hey gang!
 
I've got exciting news.... we are proud to launch a brand new product here at EverythingCU.com. Building on the long-running success of our Marketing Budget Report, we've now built you a super-dandy Loan Report.
 
This Loan Report has all of the same great peer group comparisons as the Marketing Budget Report (virtually any number of peers from 10 to 5000, compare by Assets, Number of Members, or Total Loans), and compare by State, Region, or the USA.
 
But this new Loan Report has FAR more comparison data because the NCUA 5300 has much greater detail about loans.
 
This nifty new Loan Report lets you view these loan breakouts:
 
• Total Loans
• Mortgages
• Other R.E.
• New Auto
• Used Auto
• Credit Cards
• Unsecured
• Business Loans
• All Other Loans
 
And in addition, for each of these loan breakouts, we offer a full variety of View Modes:
 
• Rate
• Average Size
• Percent of Total
• Loans per Member
• Growth Rate
• Charge-offs
• Total Expense
• Net Worth ratios
.... and several more
 
But don't take my word for it, try out the demo! In demo mode, you will be able to view only the Total Loan category in the "Current" View Mode. But all of the data is there if you would like to purchase it.
 
We think this report will be especially valuable for CEOs and VPs of Lending, but it is also great for CFOs, VPs of Marketing who are concerned with the CU loan portfolio, anyone on the ALM or Supervisory commitees, board members, and branch managers. So be sure to tell everyone at your CU who would benefit!
 
As with all of our products, purchase of the Loan Report makes it available to ALL registered employees at your CU. If they are not already registered, you can Invite Them Here.
 
Check it out and let us know what you think!
Morriss


Especially good for small CUs
created 09/27/2012

 

Matt and I recently had the pleasure of attending a credit union conference in Zoar, Ohio, called Making History 2012. It was hosted by CDFI grant writing specialists, CU Strategic Planning led by Jamie Chase and Chuck Cockburn.

One of the reasons we were especially excited to attend was to meet in person one of our favorite clients, Carole Wight, President of Holy Rosary Credit Union in Kansas City, Missouri. Carole was a delight, and the work that she does at her credit union is impressive. Carole also uses KickStart, our online loan generator, and she loves the product. So much so that she wrote the following email to the Director of the Office of Small Credit Unions in Missouri earlier this week:

Kevin:

I had to write you about EverythingCU.com. I use this site constantly.  You can download sample documents, get advice, purchase an online switch kit, watch inexpensive marketing webinars and have an online loan application system.

I soon will use all of their products. My outreach efforts are stronger as a small credit union because of this site.  Go to my homepage and look at my online loan application. The beauty is that it is designed so that there is no non-public personal information exchanged with social and account number.  It is just simple, but it works. I paid under $500 for the year for this site.  My loan volume has increased as a result.

Small credit unions need a tool like this. In my humble opinion, if they don’t see the value, we need to help them see the value. I would be happy to answer any questions you might have or meet with you. This is probably my number 1 tool for marketing information.

Thanks, Kevin.  Please feel free to have any interested credit union contact me also.

Carole Wight, President
Holy Rosary Credit Union
Kansas City, MO  64106

We are quite honored to call Carole a friend, as well as a client.



It starts at home
created 08/30/2012

Do you ever wring your hands that more people don't know what a credit union is? You've sent newsletters, done radio ads, put up billboards, and still so many people don't know?

Well, I've got a really important idea for how to take care of this.

As marketers, most of know that the number one source of new business is through referrals of existing business. So if you take care of your current members well, they will tell their friends and family. So let's assume you are already taking care of your members.

Are you taking care of your employees too?

And what I mean is this: Employees are people. They are not bodies taking up space in an organizational chart. What could be more demoralizing to a person than being assigned an email address of Teller1@NotABankFCU.com. I bet YOU don't have an email of CFO5@NotABankFCU.com or VPMarketing28@

So why do this to a teller? Because you have high turnover in the position? Of course you have high turnover in that position; it's a hard job with low pay. But when you treat people like numbers, and EXPECT that they will be out the door soon, it becomes even worse. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, and turn over gets worse, not better.

Yes, a big percentage of your tellers will eventually leave. But what about the ones that stay? What about the future CEOs, CFOs, COOs, and VPs of Marketing? Take a look at all the amazing programs going on for the future leaders of the CU movement, such as The Cooperative Trust's Crash Events and CUES Next Top Executive.

I will offer this thesis: The best way to spread the word about what credit unions are is to treat every single new employee as if they are going to spend their career in the credit union movement, and eventually work their way up to being the CEO of YOUR credit union. If you treat every new hire in that way, sure, many of them will leave someday.

But here is the benefit: Even the ones who leave someday will enjoy their work more thoroughly. They will likely stay with your CU longer, thus reducing turnover. And most importantly, since you have educated them what it means to be a credit union, they will educate your members what it means to belong to a credit union.

AND..... for those one or two special people who grace your establishment for their entire careers.... YOU can feel special knowing that you have nurtured the next generation of credit union leadership. And it all starts with treating your new hires like they matter. Because they do.



It doesn't take an Act of Congress...
created 10/11/2011

 

We here at EverythingCU are thrilled that there is renewed, extra interest in helping more and more people leave their megaBanks (like BofA), and join their local credit union. I just ran across this article on the Bold Progressives web site, where they are calling for signatures to help pass legislation:
 
 
Of course, if you already have EverythingCU.com's online switch kit, you know that it doesn't take an Act of Congress to make it easier to switch.
 
If you don't already have it, find out what 111 other credit unions have discovered-- you can make it easier to gain new members by making it easier for them to make the switch..... without waiting for the gridlock of Washington to untangle. (That might be a very long wait... don't hold your breath!)


Ed Filene and social media
created 08/30/2011

 

A long-running topic here on EverythingCU.com is how to get management on-board with social media when they are dead-set against it. Over the last couple of years, many suggestions have been offered about ways to accomplish this objective.
 
My favorite so far comes from Andy Anderson in Atlanta this morning. He quotes Edward Filene:
"If you are going to do business, you will have to do it in this new world; and I haven’t lived in this new world any longer than you have. It is stranger, in fact to me than it is to you.”
Andy informs us: "This was his speech before the School of Business Administration of the University of Buffalo in 1936."
 
These words that Edward spoke 75 years ago are as true and relevant today as they were then. I think that had Ed Filene lived in this day and age, he would have whole-heartedly embraced social media, and used it to spread the word about credit unions throughout the land. 
 
Thank you for sharing this with us, Andy!


Thank you, Executive Members
created 04/18/2011

On this bright and shiny spring morning (Patriot Day if you live in the state of Massachusetts), I'd just like to take a minute to thank all of you Executive Members of EverythingCU. Many of you have been with us since the very early days of the site (2001-2002), and many of you have joined the community along the way. I'm always gratified, honored, humbled and awestruck about the comments you have for the community here. And thank you for sharing the EverythingCU love with so many of your peers and colleagues, at your own, and other credit unions.

 
I know that this economy continues to be very tough, for both your credit union and your members, which is why we appreciate all the more that so many of you have kept EverythingCU Executive Membership in your budgets. There are currently 270 credit unions who are Executive Members, representing a combined 1,181 credit union professionals.
 
Just in case you aren't completely familiar with all the benefits of Executive Membership, let me remind you of them so that you can be sure you are taking full advantage of your benefits.
 
• Executive Membership applies to all employees at your credit union, no matter if they are already signed up on EverythingCU, or if they sign up later, while the CU's annual Executive Membership is still in effect.
• Executive Membership allows you to download an unlimited number of documents from the 1451 that you've contributed over the years.
• Executive Membership gets you discounts on the products that we offer, including the Online Switch Kit, Marketing Budget Report, Plumwall, Beehive, and Video Tutorials in the Knowledge Warehouse
 
And as if all of that wasn't enough, Executive Membership also gives you the option to post messages on the discussion anonymously for those times when you have a controversial topic you'd like to discuss without fear of reprisal.
 
If you are already an Executive Member, be sure to tell your colleagues at your credit union that they should register on the site so that they too can enjoy the benefits of your credit union is already receiving.
 
So thank you again, and enjoy this fine spring day!


Member Profile: Bobbie Garner
created 02/22/2011

 

Unlike retail businesses, at an online business like EverythingCU.com, we don't get regular in-person interaction with our customers. Which is one of the reasons I love speaking to CU leagues and conducting hands-on social media workshops for them. And it's also the reason why I particularly loved the phone call I had today with EverythingCU'er Bobbie Garner.
 
Recently I got to meet Bobbie in person at the <a href="http://www.cuwatercoolersymposium.com/">CU Water Cooler Symposium</a> in Indianapolis at the end of October. Bobbie had just attended the first-ever EverythingCU Webinar Roundtable, so it was pretty cool to meet her in-person just two days later. At the Symposium, Bobbie told me that her credit union was really liking their new <a href="http://www.everythingcumarketing.com/services/index.cfm?fuseaction=beehive">Beehive online budget tracking tool</a> from EverythingCU.
 
Recently, I got to chat with Bobbie a little bit more, to find out how Beehive was working for her. She told me that she was excited to be using it for her 2011 budget, and that the credit union had looked at other options, but none was as easy-to-use and inexpensive as Beehive. It turns out that Bobbie works part-time for the credit union; and the marketing budget is coordinated between four people; herself, their full time Community Relations Specialist who is a recent college grad, and two other executives at Health Care Professionals FCU.
 
In the course of the conversation, Bobbie also told me that the budget that she has to work with at Health Care Professionals FCU is much more than her budget last year, thanks to EverythingCU's <a href="http://www.everythingcumarketing.com/myresources/index.cfm?fuseaction=omr">Marketing Budget Report</a>. She said that by using the "Export to Excel" function of several report pages, and turning them into graphs, it was clear that her credit union's marketing budget was well below comparable credit unions. The CU Marketing Budget Report is also extremely inexpensive, and we keep it that way on purpose, both for selfish and altruistic reasons. We hope hundreds more credit unions take advantage of it; selfishly, because if CUs use it to get their budgets increased, we hope they spend some of those 'extra' dollars on us, but also altruistically in that we truly love to further the credit union movement, and increasing marketing budgets will spread the good CU word even farther.
 
Bobbie also mentioned that EverythingCU is a wonderful resource in its own right, and how she reminds the credit union's Specialist to always check the Document Center before creating a new document from scratch since there are more than 1400 documents in that library!
 
Basically, we wish we could plant a tree to grow more clients like Bobbie and HCP FCU... they are big fans of EverythingCU (and we're big fans of theirs), and they use many of our products: the Executive Membership, webinars, the EverythingCU CU Marketing Budget Report, and most recently our Beehive Online Budget Tracking tool. We're thrilled that they are getting great value from being a part of this online community!


Cambridge Counseling
created 01/19/2011

A friend of mine, Thom Fox, recently contacted me to learn more about credit unions, and how belonging to one can save consumers money. Thom is the Business Outreach Coordinator for Cambridge Counseling, a non-profit organization that helps consumers reduce their debt and make smarter financial decisions. We had a discussion to help him write the script for some webisodes that he creates, and I was very pleased with the way the first one came out.



Why did I need coffee now?
created 01/03/2011

Sometimes, there is no answer to the universal question, "Why did I need coffee now?"

A series of four short videos to brighten up the first Monday of 2011:



Visualizing our socially networked world
created 12/16/2010

Here is one of the coolest graphics I've ever seen; a visualization of our online social connections. I learned of this page from the CU Water Cooler.



Social Media and CU Governance
created 12/01/2010

Based on the conversation exploding here on EverythingCU.com over the past two days on  the ROI of Social Media, I created and edited this opinion piece down to 10 minutes to fit it onto YouTube. I talk about branding, marketing, social media, credit unions, ROI, the future of credit unions, their Boards of Directors, and their members, and my mom. I think what we currently think of as Social Media (aka Online Community Engagement) has the potential to transform it all. What do you think?

 

Transcript:

Hi, I'm Morriss Partee, Chief Experience Officer of EverythingCU, and I'd like to make this quick little video blog on a topic that is near and dear to my heart, and that is credit unions and social media. It's been an amazing thrill to see the topic of credit union's use of Social Media and its ROI really blossom on EverythingCU in the past couple of days. I've watched with great interest as many opinions have been stated very forcefully from both sides. There's a lot of good arguments, both for and against credit unions using social media.
 
Online communication is changing everything
 
Social media, and if we use the term to mean online community interaction, is, without question, transforming the way that people across the United States, and even across the world, are interacting with each other, and interacting with the world. So this social media phenomenon and revolution has affected or will affect virtually every department of credit union operations. It's clear there are marketing implications and operational implications. But I'd like to talk about one are which I think in the long run, has the largest potential to truly improve credit union business and the way members interact with and view their credit union.
 
A Little Background
 
One of the big sea-changes in the way that credit unions operate with their members is when credit unions were deregulated from standard field of memberships in 1998. And since that time, credit union after credit union after credit union has gone to community charter, or a charter much broader than their original one.
 
Hi mom!
 
As example, my mother is a member of UMassFive College Federal Credit Union. Whenever I've had the pleasure of working on marketing campaigns for that credit union, I often think of my mother as the ideal target market. And every now and then, I'll ask her a question about the credit union. "How do you feel about this? Why do you do business with the credit union? What do you like about it? What don't you like about it?" And the thing that really strikes me is that because my mother is a retired professor from UMass, she feels like UMass Federal Credit Union is HER credit union. She knows the people who run it, she knows that the people who are members are colleagues of hers, that are affiliated with UMass in one way or another. Of course, she's very proud of UMass. So anyway, that's the world in which credit unions have traditionally operated. But for any credit union that is now far more broader than an original employee group, or their employer has changed, merged, been outsourced overseas, their original SEG has shut down, gone out of business, merged, diversified, whatever the story is, those credit unions need a new reason for being. Something that is fundamental, that makes you feel like "this is MY credit union." Well, what do credit unions talk about in terms of the difference [between themselves and banks]? The difference is in their governance, their form of governance. Credit unions are not-for-profit cooperatives. This is supposed to be MY credit union.
 
MY credit union? Really?
 
Well, what does that mean, "MY credit union"? Does that mean I can withdraw a million dollars? Well, no, of course not, it doesn't mean that. Well, then what does "MY credit union" really mean? How can we replicate, how can we make people, feel, understand what "MY credit union" means? We are the members, right? We are the member-owners. That's the fundamental thing we've got going here.
 
So what does it really mean to be a member-owner? Well, right now, because of previous technological or operational limitations, membership really has only meant that I vote for a Board of Directors once a year. And I'm only voting for 3 out of 9 or so (board) members each year. And unless I'm really well tied into the community or connected to the community, I have no idea who these people are. I might get one paragraph and a little, tiny one-inch photograph of what the person looks like, and they all kind of say the same thing about how they're going to make sure the credit union is operated in the best interest of its members. Great. Well, it doesn't help me choose, it doesn't help me understand [who these people are]. I feel relatively powerless, and it doesn't make me feel much like it's mine–that I get to vote on... I don't know who.
 
Ginny Brady, Revolutionary
 
That's why I was so intrigued when Ginny Brady, in Plattsburgh, New York, started blogging with her members. She truly wanted to interact with her members to say "here's what we are weighing as the board, here are the issues we're wrestling with, we have to make tough choices, we have to balance different facets of financial soundness, with doing the right thing for our members, with maintaining the institution's integrity." For several years, she was regularly blogging, saying "here's what the board's doing, here's what we're up to, here's our annual meeting, come out to it, we'd love to talk to you, we'd love to get your input."
 
She actually stopped blogging after a couple of years. I think it's simply because she was way too far ahead of her time, and perhaps people in the Plattsburgh region weren't really ready for a local credit union to blog, and to understand what that meant, and to know how to find it, and know how to interact, or to want to interact. But I still feel like as people now come online in different ways, Facebook, Twitter, email , blogging, what have you, I feel that there are new opportunties for credit unions to really make a difference with their governance.
 
Online input on CU governance!
 
What if there were online polling? What if you polled the membership regularly and said "how many of you prefer X over Y?" or "how many people feel it's important that we offer this checking account?" or "we're planning to build a new branch." I still feel like there's plenty of opportunity to really engage members, via online channels, via Facebook, via SurveyMonkey, or any other means, to say "WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE? What is it that would make the credit union better for you? What do you like about us and what we're doing now? What do you hate about the credit union now?" And we can do these things in real time. You could even have a board meeting where you pose a question to the membership at the beginning of the meeting, and you have a decent number of responses by the end of the meeting. So if members have this voice now, and  they are actually engaged with the board of directors, and not even directly, but just in an anonymous way, that's going to make people feel like, "yeah, that's MY credit union. I have input to the credit union. The credit union listens to me for feedback. The credit union is interested in what I have to say. That's MY credit union. I'm not going to leave MY credit union. I'm not going to go down the street because a rate is a quarter-point higher or lower, because it's not MY credit union."
 
So anyway, that's just my thoughts, rambling from here in Western Massachusetts on a dark and stormy, rainy December night. I would love to hear your feedback on whether this aspect of inviting membership into governance has significant potential to truly revolutionize how credit unions market with and do business with their members.
 
What's your take?


Social Media is not a waste of time for most CUs
created 11/30/2010

 

Fully five years into the social media revolution, a job opening for a social media position at a credit union was posted on EverythingCU.com just a week ago. I was very excited about this development, because as many of you know, I've been involved in social media and credit unions for... well, before there was even such a thing as social media.

When we started EverythingCU.com back in 2000/2001, we wanted to enable credit union marketers across the country (and even a few other countries too) to be able to share and communicate. We quickly realized that it would be great to attach a face to these names flying across our computer monitors, and thus photo uploading was added. (In the early days we even scanned photos sent to us by snail-mail.) In addition, we created easy document sharing, as well as individual profile pages. 

When the words "social media" started cropping up in credit union and other online sources back in 2005/2006, I started investigating this newly emerging trend and discovered it was very similar to the peer-to-peer networking and communication we were already enabling with EverythingCU.com, only on a more personal and "regular consumer" level. "What an exciting development!" I thought to myself. "Now that social media is emerging as an entity in its own right, we'll be able to help credit unions understand the power of this medium for themselves that we're experiencing here at EverythingCU.com." In the subsequent years, I've spoken at many CU conferences and conducted workshops on social media for credit union leagues around the country; something which I truly love doing.

So now the subject on EverythingCU turns "how can you calculate the ROI of this new social media position?" What an interesting question!

It can indeed be extremely difficult to measure ROI for marketing. You can measure overall results for a marketing campaign for a specific product by comparing that product's sales with the previous year's results. But as was pointed out on EverythingCU by Mia Perez, how do you measure ROI for the second year of the campaign, when you had successful adoption of the product in the previous year, thereby reducing the pool of people who would have bought the product based on your spectacular new marketing campaign? It's going to necessarily be less than year 1. But you did as great a job creating the marketing campaign in year 2, but you'll have less to show for it. Hmmmmmmm.

Another commenter in the Social Media-ROI topic pointed to the Financial Brand's Why Social Media is a waste of time for most banks and credit unions.

I can't prove the ROI of social media, but I fundamentally believe social media is not a waste of time for most credit unions. If your credit union behaves like a bank, then absolutely, you should skip social media. But I find the values of most credit unions line up perfectly with what makes social media a fantastic venue. Let's take a look at where and why this makes sense from a "values" point of view:

Social media is all about empowering individual people. Each person in entitled to their own voice, their own opinion, and can create their own network of friends, family, and colleagues. Everyone is on an even playing field in terms of putting their message "out there." In the credit union world, all members are treated equally, i.e., every member has an equal vote in electing the board of directors who are charged with overseeing how the credit union is run. Credit unions open their doors to everyone who is eligible to join; they don't discriminate. Credit unions are cooperatives; social media is fantastic because of the cooperation and sharing that occurs. Credit unions originally were created for employers or organizations in a single location, in other words, a location-based community of people who had something in common. Social media flourishes because people everywhere are finding and/or creating their own online communities based on criteria that are important to themselves, whether it be political, religious, occupational, or centered around comon hobbies, passions, pasttimes, locations, and all sorts of other common interests.

Social media is fundamentally democratic and cooperative, as are credit unions. Credit unions were born of communities; social media is community brought online.

But before diving further into Social Media and its ROI, let's examine exactly what social media is, since it means different things to different people. I view social media as any way that people communicate with each other online. This is done on an individual as well as a group basis. Well, this was happening long before MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter started becoming popular. So why did the phrase "Social Media" catch on starting around 2004/05? At this point, Facebook wasn't open to the general population; blogging and podcasting were the new and hot things. Bloggers and podcasters were starting to build community with their endeavors and were excited that they were creating what the authors of the Cluetrain Manifesto had talked about in 1998.

So if we define social media as online communication, conversation, networking, and media sharing, then it's been happening for quite a number of years, as email, AOL, chat rooms, listservs, the web, and the like are not new by any means. And even more fundamentally, human communication has been happening via technology since cave drawings were painted, and continued on through smoke signals, telegraphs with Morse code, pony express, the telephone, radio, tv, 8-tracks, albums, cassettes, CB radio, VHS, DVDs, and many others.

Let's examine the telephone for a second. The telephone is basically a one-to-one non-persistent communication technology. (Although via voice mail, it can also be persistent and asynchronous.) At one time, I'm sure the telephone was very expensive, and businesses were loathe to adopt a new technology that very few of their consumers possessed. But now we don't question the ROI of every person having a phone, whether it's on their desk, a mobile phone, or now a smartphone. And yes, we have people dedicated to running businesses' telephone infrastructures. But we don't dedicate one person or one department in an organization, put all the telephones in their office and say "you are our telephone department! You'll be operating and handling the telephones for everyone in the organization! Anytime anyone needs to make a call, they'll come here to use these telephones, and seek your guidance in how to use the darn things!"

Well, I think social media is about where the telephone was many decades ago, in terms of how businesses are thinking about being involved with it.

Also interesting is how everyone views social media differently depending on their background. Marketing looks at social media as an advertising channel, while journalists view social media as a threat to the traditional way of bringing people news. Customer service people see social media as a new method of communicating with people. 

As for ROI, well, there have been quite a few Credit Union success stories in social media already. And there have been quite a few success stories for non-CU businesses in social media. 

We don't necessarily measure the ROI of attending an in-person networking event such as a Chamber of Commerce mixer. But we all intuitively understand how important networking is. Well, as William Azaroff has pointed the way, perhaps a better term for social media is online community, or maybe even better, online networking.

Bottom line: Social media is definitely not a panacea, cure-all, or get-rich-quick scheme. But it works great for businesses when it's used as a way that makes sense for both the business and its customers. After all, communication is fundamental to human nature, business, and marketing, and these online channels, media, and community are all fantastic communication avenues. And oh, by the way, social media, and online channels, have in many respects transformed the way people interact with each other.

Second bottom line for credit unions: Did you notice how your physical community dispersed over the last ten years or so? Yes, a majority of your members still reside within a five mile radius of a branch, but c'mon, don't tell me you weren't excited when you discovered you had a handful of members several thousand miles from your nearest branch. Well, I've got news if you hadn't figured it out already. While location-based communities and geographies are still important, and are more important than ever in some ways (The New Geography), there is a new community and it's online. People belong to multiple communities online and are excited about them. There may be an opportunity for your credit union to also be a part of the online communities that make sense for your credit union, based on what makes your members tick.

Post Script: (As if this entry weren't long enough already), I think that while there are huge areas of credit union function that are in the process of being transformed by online communication, the most exciting one, which has the most potential for bringing credit unions back to the member-centric powerhouses they once were, is in governance. Right now, credit union governance is a closed-door black box despite the efforts of pioneers such as Ginny Brady. But it's in governance that credit unions have the opportunity to engage with the members like never before; to bring better transparency, to throw open the doors to the board room, and get meaningful, frequent member interaction with the board and management decision making. I truly believe that's what Ed Filene would have envisioned had he been alive in this generation instead of his own. While you can't measure the ROI of social media/governance interaction by the members, it gets to the FUNDAMENTAL reason why so many people LOVE their credit unions:

Because it feels like it's MINE.

If you spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on a "traditional" branding campaign, you won't make nearly the impact as ACTUAL online engagement with your members about the way THEIR institution is run. This is also an advantage that credit unions will ALWAYS possess over banks. PRESS YOUR ADVANTAGE TO THE MAX!



Video Tutorial: Starting a New Topic
created 11/17/2010

In this 4.5 minute video, I explain how to start a new topic on EverythingCU.com. Feel free to post feedback here as a comment on this Journal Entry, on the discussion area here on EverythingCU, or email me at morriss@everythingcu.com. Hope this is useful for you!



Video Tutorials: Intro to EverythingCU
created 11/01/2010

Here's a short, 3-minute introductory video, the first in a series I'm creating, designed to give you detailed instructions on how to use the features and maximize the resources available to you here on EverythingCU.com.

 
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Upcoming subjects I'll be covering include: How to start a new topic, Navigating the discussion, Ordering and viewing webinars, Executive Membership, the CU Marketing Budget Report, and more. More tutorial videos are posted on the EverythingCU.com discussion area right now, and they will be published here soon as well.