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Videos testimonials turn mainstream in CU marketing
MADISON, Wis. (8/9/12)--Credit unions are increasingly turning to video to capture testimonials from members about the great work credit unions do and to record consumer dissatisfaction with bank fees and service.

McGraw Hill FCU, East Windsor, N.J., is using video and social media to spearhead an industry-wide movement that demonstrates how credit unions provide financial wellness in ways that contrast with large banks.

"We Hear You" provides a nationwide platform for consumers to create and share video stories about their personal experiences with credit unions and large banks.

The contest is open to everyone, including members of any credit union. Entrants can post videos in which they tell their stories about how their credit union helped them or how they were frustrated with a bank that may have charged them unnecessary fees or imposed misleading account terms.

The $293 million asset credit union has provided some inspiration to potential entrants through its original "We Hear You" video. To view it, use the link.

The contest offers $1,500 in prizes.

Some credit unions tie video into their financial education efforts. For example, Dupaco Community CU, Dubuque, Iowa, has teamed with Mediacom cable, to challenge consumers to create 30-second videos sharing their tips on saving more and spending less.

The "Shift into Thrift" Video contest is intended to inspire thrift through peer-to-peer sharing of ideas for financial success, said Dupaco Community.

Leagues also are using videos to get across the credit union difference and document testimonials from members. In the Aug. 3 edition of its Weekly Conversation newsletter, the North Carolina Credit Union League featured a video of Ashville, N.C.-based Oteen VA CU member Jane Nunziato describing how the credit union helped her and her husband obtain a low-interest loan to obtain a hearing aid.

"We don't have health insurance right now, so the only way we were able to get a low-interest loan was through the Oteen VA CU," Nunziato said in the video.

The North Carolina league has an extensive library of videos that demonstrate how credit unions help their members. Jeff Hardin, director of communications with the league, travels around the state to film the videos at credit unions with compelling programs. Some credit unions such as Local Government FCU, Raleigh, N.C., and Latino FCU, have submitted their own videos, he said.

"As an organization we feel like credit unions are doing great things and the more that we allow people to tell those stories, the more successful credit unions are going to be, and the more people are going to fully and fundamentally understand the differences between credit unions and banks," Hardin told News Now.

The Michigan, Texas and Wisconsin credit union leagues have also used video to share the credit union message.

Credit unions and leagues also are using video to capture the attention of Gen Y. Young & Free, a campaign launched in 2007 by Canadian marketing firm Currency Marketing, is a blend of social media and product promotion built around Gen Y spokespeople, or spokesters, who generate publicity or "buzz" for credit unions through word-of-mouth promotion, including YouTube videos. The concept is built around a contest to determine who will become the credit union's or league's spokesperson.

Applicants create buzz for themselves--and drive traffic to the credit unions Web page--through their meet ups, Facebook pages, YouTube videos and tweets. Videos are a critical element used by candidates in building word-of-mouth support. The spokester is chosen through an online vote, and receives an annual salary from the credit union, plus a car to attend community events, and all the technology needed to keep in touch with credit unions' Gen Y members.

The spokester interacts with young members though social media. Video is a critical element of that interaction.

Kylie Keene posts videos featuring some of the inspiring people she meets in her travels as Maine credit unions' Young & Free spokester, according to the Maine Credit Union League (Weekly Update Aug. 3).

New Mexico Young & Free also posts videos of the latest adventures of its new Young & Free spokester, Anthony Almanzar.

Jenn Cloud, Young & Free spokester for Vantage CU, Bridgeton, Mo., maintains a video library of her travels  and financial advice.

The Arkansas Credit Union League has centered its statewide awareness campaign around video. The league adopted the "My Credit Union is Everywhere," statewide cooperative advertising campaign designed by the Grand Rapids, Mich., credit union service organization, CU*Answers (News Now July 6).

The video was adapted for a 60-second television commercial, a 30-second radio spot and a billboard. The campaign also included a YouTube link and postings to Facebook.

Even regulators know the value of getting a message across visually. The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) uses video to communicate with credit unions and credit union members, describe monthly economic trends, and feature speeches of its board members from the Credit Union National Association's Governmental Affairs conference on its website. It also includes videotaped messages from Chairman Deborah Matz.
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