Let's talk about LOVE, Baby!

Why love needs CU marketing love, too.

When you think about it, credit unions and the whole credit union movement are pure love in action.

I’m serious. Sure, the eight cooperative principles use fancier language, but when you get down to it, these core principles of the credit union movement are all just practical ways humans make the world a better place for all us humans.

Let’s talk about love, baby

Quick, what are the main member benefits at your credit union? If you start listing stuff like lower fees and great rates, you’ve missed an important point. People make connections and decisions using their hearts, not their heads.

What connects your credit union to your members? How do you make their lives, families, and communities better? How do you earn their trust? At the end of the day, it’s not numbers, it’s heart and soul; it’s how you make them feel, not how much they saved.

That’s love in action. That’s how you explain the difference.

Love languages

First off, no, you probably shouldn’t use the four-letter “L” word in your marketing. That’s coming on a little strong. But you can and should use more emotional language, images, and situations. There are lots of ways to communicate love without saying the word “love”.

  • Respect
  • Mutual Trust
  • Acceptance
  • Listening
  • Gratitude
  • Understanding
  • Paying Attention
  • Support
  • Flexibility
  • Teaching
  • Learning
  • Celebrating
  • Encouraging
  • Openness

You get the idea. It’s OK for credit unions to wear their hearts on their sleeves. That’s what makes every CU special. Every CU has to find its love language, and the best ways to express that in words, images, policies, and decisions.

Show the love

Of course, words are just sweet nothings without actions. Everyday, with every interaction, products, policies, and procedures must be rooted in love, those emotional connections to your members.

For example, do you know your members well enough to offer the kinds of loans they really need? If there are a lot of lakes around, do you have great boat loans? Do you share in their joy? Are you helping young families build the confidence and credit score to buy their own homes? Are you sharing in their hopes and dreams?

And the same goes for community connections. How are you helping make your communities better? Any ol’ bank can write a check. Are you putting real time, sweat, and energy into making a real difference, right here? Into building a better future together?

Lovin’ ain’t easy

True love sometimes means making decisions by heart, not by the numbers. And that’s really hard sometimes. Doing the right thing sometimes isn’t the most profitable thing, at least not in that moment.

Keep your eye on those eight global principles, and on your credit union’s principles, and on the long term. Train and empower your employees to make decisions based on your core principles.

This also requires a very long-term outlook. Credit unions are at their best when they’re partners for life with their members; look for any gaps, and make sure you’re there for the whole journey.

The power of love is transformative, so make sure you leave a lot of room for love in your spreadsheets and pie charts.

There’s lots more love where this came from

Brian Wringer

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