The secrets of top designers. What drives millennials and gen-z away. Some really ugly logos. Here’s what we’ve seen recently that you may have missed:
Everything is made up (and 29 other designer secrets.)
Be a sponge. Emotions matter. Embrace your harshest critics. Everything is made up: “Every language ever spoken…Olympic games…Smart phones…Pizza…Ice cream…Google! Everything we take for granted in our daily lives, at one point, didn’t exist. One person, or a small group of people made something good and it became part of humanity’s lived experience. That means that on any given day, anyone could make up something that could change the way our children, and our children’s children live. That is both incredibly humbling and inspiring to wake up to every morning.” Learn the secrets of top designers and how they innovate time and again.
Potential IRS reporting requirements causing alarm.
In (very) brief, there’s a proposal afoot to force financial institutions to send an annual report to the IRS of all accounts with more than $600 in activity, supposedly to enable the IRS to find tax dodgers more easily. CUs, banks, consumers, and advocacy groups are pretty united in opposition to this. For example, here’s NAFCU’s take on it. In general, no one likes this idea. We’ve even seen a few credit unions take the unusual step of mentioning this to their members, and asking members to write letters in opposition. As a marketer, make sure you pay attention to these things. What’s your plan for asking your members to get involved in politics?
Where have all the retail workers gone?
The legal marijuana business “became a refuge for retail and restaurant workers during the pandemic… An estimated 321,000 Americans now work in the industry. In other words, the United States now has more legal cannabis workers than dentists, paramedics or electrical engineers.” So far, 18 states and DC have legalized marijuana, and 37 states allow its medical use. It’s a $19 billion industry that is projected to hit $41 billion in four years. But unless the Senate also passes the SAFE banking act that Congress has passed, banks and credit unions in the majority of states can’t work with marijuana businesses. No wonder CUNA has come out in favor of the bill.
Human contact is a last resort.
Beloved curmudgeon and fintech snark dispenser Ron Shevlin serves up a strong cup of reality check in Gen Z And Millennials Use Bank Branches Because Of A Poor Digital Experience. Well, it’s all right there on the label, isn’t it?
But seriously, younger folks (and a large slice of older folks) just want to handle money stuff online, automatically and quickly, and generally get back to something more interesting, like cleaning out the lint trap. They only want access to a human when there’s some reason that doesn’t work; something they can’t do, or a question they can’t answer. The next-to-last resort is (shudder) a phone call, and the most dreaded horror of all is a meatspace branch visit.
That said, when people need a human, they REALLY need a human, and so your humans MUST be easily, seamlessly available. Whether that’s in a branch or not is sort of beside the point.
Employees need financial wellness, too.
This CUInsight article from Julie Ferguson is a pretty simple point, but too often overlooked: Financial wellness begins with your employees. Seems like this should be a no-brainer for credit union employees.
We’ve discussed “dog-fooding” before, and it’s much the same idea; you have to use your own products in order to understand your products and advise others.
To put it another way, would you want to have your car fixed by a mechanic who had to hitchhike to work? And of course, employee financial wellness and money savvy in general has huge benefits for every kind of employer, not just financial institutions.
Do Annual Reports still matter? Yeah, sometimes.
This is an interesting overview of some of the best Annual Reports from various credit unions and banks. They’re one way to plant a flag and reinforce and reinvigorate a brand, and can be a powerful way to engage employees, volunteers, and highly involved members.
We’ve seen some CUs reduce their Annual Report to a brochure, some go online with an interesting and engaging interactive experience, and some still produce a beautiful physical book every year. There’s no one right answer, but it’s worth thinking about whether your Annual Meeting and Annual Report represent a regulatory burden or a powerful brand opportunity.
Social media is for interaction, not just ads.
TikTok creator Emilyzugay has recently gone viral for her humorous, deadpan videos in which she critiques brands’ current logos and showcases her suggested redesigns. She started with Starbucks, H&R Block and Apple, and since then brands have been reaching out in an attempt to join the trend. Many of these big brands are now using her logo designs for their social media accounts.
But there’s a lesson here that goes beyond an opportunity for some free, fun PR; This is a good look for these brands because they’re taking the time to engage with content creators. We cannot overstate the value of seizing the opportunity to humanize your brand.