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Wanted Worldwide: CU Social Media Strategy
MADISON, Wis. (5/28/13)--
Participants from five countries pose in front of the World Council of Credit Unions headquarters during last week's Build the Brand Workshop to develop strategies for reaching a younger audience through social media.  The workshop was funded by Vancity CU, Vancouver, B.C
Thirteen credit union and trade association marketing executives from five countries met last week at World Council of Credit Union's (WOCCU)  Madison, Wis., headquarters to develop strategies for credit unions to reach a younger audience through social media.

Executives from Australia, Brazil, Canada, Korea and the U.S. met for a Build the Brand Workshop funded by a grant from Vancouver, B.C.-based Vancity CU. The event built on last year's inaugural Build the Brand Workshop, which identified credit union messaging that resonates with today's consumers worldwide.

"Social media presents credit unions worldwide with an opportunity to deepen their relationship with members, especially Generation Y," said Brian Branch, WOCCU president/CEO. He noted that the results will be shared with the rest of the global community at WOCCU's  2013 World Credit Union Conference in Ottawa, Canada July 14-17. For more information, use the link.

David Southall, president/CEO of Innovations FCU, Panama City, Fla., and Build the Brand Workshop participants brainstorm ways to provide members relevant and timely social media content. One idea was to use employees across departments.
The day and a half workshop was moderated by Shel Holtz, principal of Holtz Communication + Technology and an expert in integrating technology into communications strategies. 

Workshop participants from outside the U.S. included:

  • Russell Allert, online communications coordinator, Queenslanders CU, Australia;
  • Daniel Ferretti, chief marketing officer, SICREDI, Brazil;
  • Heather Harmse, digital marketing manager, Vancity CU, Canada;
  • Gail Stepanik-Keber, chief brand and corporate social responsibility officer, Servus CU, Canada;
  • Tania Goodine, vice president brand, Libro Financial Group, Canada; and
  • Kevin Heo, international program officer, the National Credit Union Federation of Korea.
Russell Allert, online communications coordinator, Queenslanders CU, Australia, explains the importance of credit unions employing social media to engage with and listen to their members at the Build the Brand Workshop, hosted by the World Council of Credit Unions in Madison, Wis. (Photos provided by the World Council of Credit Unions)
Participants from the U.S. included:

  • David Southall, president/CEO, Innovations FCU;
  • Tansley Stearns, director of impact, Filene Research Institute;
  • Connie Fedor, communications manager, University of Wisconsin CU;
  • Sean McDonald; director of business development, MidState FCU;
  • Janet Garkey, manager of member education, Credit Union National Association;
  • Tara Bross, marketing specialist, Linn Area CU; and
  • Josh Allison, relationship development manager, Horizon CU.
Participants from all five countries addressed the challenges their credit unions face in meeting consumer expectations for social media engagement with limited resources, including a lack of employee training, relevant content curation tools and technological incompatibility with mobile and tablet devices.

They agreed that credit unions must incorporate a content strategy that articulates cooperatives' social responsibility philosophy, which they found resonates with younger audiences' personal values.

"The difficulty in attracting younger members is not unique to credit unions in the U.S.," said workshop participant Sean McDonald in a blog post after the event. "Our challenges are the same, our focus points are the same, and our goals are aligned."
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