Credit union members, like all human beings (including the most logical, hard-nosed, by-the-numbers credit union marketers), make almost all decisions solely with their emotions.
That’s not to say that rationality has no role at all — being logical or making the logical choice usually feels pretty good, too. Logic and emotion aren’t opposites.
“Logic” and “rationality” can help support emotional decisions, but the final decision is always, always, always up to the emotions. When there’s a choice to make, people will always choose the one that makes them feel good. Every time.
Most people, especially our credit union clients, have a hard time with this concept.
They believe that people mostly act rationally. This is simply untrue, and you can prove it in many ways. A few examples:
- Why do cars come in different colors, and shapes? Shouldn’t all vehicles be painted the safest possible color, and shouldn’t they all have the safest possible shape and be made with the safest, most reliable, and most economical components possible? Yet somehow, we’re not all buzzing around at safe speeds in identical bright orange computer-controlled electric cars. The world’s largest industry exists purely because of emotion and passion.
- Why does the entertainment industry exist? Logically, there is no need for music or fiction of any kind. (Documentaries and textbooks would be useful, of course, but not “Star Wars.”) Entertainment fulfills purely emotional needs and desires, yet it is another of our largest industries.
- Why do people tend to cluster in cities? Logically, we should all distribute ourselves evenly across the planet.
- James T. Kirk was the Captain of the Enterprise, not Spock.
- I think we can agree that credit unions have been logically proven to be better financial institutions than banks. Why do for-profit banks still exist?
So how does this affect credit union marketing? Pretty profoundly.
Credit unions have the logical side of things all sewn up — they have better rates, lower fees, and measurably better service than the competition, and they can prove it.
However, before they’re willing to pay attention or even believe the logical side of things, members and potential new members need powerful and truthful emotional reasons to connect to a credit union. They need to feel the difference before you even get a chance to tell them the difference.