make sure your CU is the most visible bunch of nuts in town.

People are squirrels and CUs are nuts

Back in 1957, an informal study tried to find out whether squirrels preferred “wild” food or human food.  The researchers went to Central Park and put out several morsels at once (natural fare like hazelnuts and acorns, along with human food like peanuts, popcorn, and Cracker Jack) and recorded which ones were taken first.

The results were a bit baffling until the researchers realized that the squirrels simply grabbed whatever snack happened to be closest. They weren’t carefully weighing flavor, color, nutritional content and texture and then making an informed, rational decision. The squirrels just grabbed the closest thing that seemed edible and then moved on.

Sound familiar?

Most people are squirrels.

That’s how they choose their financial services provider(s). Grab whatever’s closest and easiest and get on with life.

“I just moved and need a checking account… oh wow, here’s a bank-ish looking place. That’ll work.”

“Dang, I need a new fridge and I don’t have… oh, I can just sign here for a store card?”

“Man, this car sure is sweet… just sign here, huh? Ooh, look at that radio!”

If all this squirrelly behavior sounds bleak to you as a CU marketer, don’t despair — it explains a lot of the baffling things consumers do. And if nothing else, it clarifies your job: make sure your credit union is the closest acorn at just the right time.

(If it helps, you can take some comfort in the fact that the non-squirrels are probably already CU members.)

Lately, an awful lot of agitated squirrels have been sniffing around the woods. It seems banks have been feeding them nothing but peanuts and hot air, and they’re ready to grab the next tasty deal they see.

But you can’t just hang around and wait for them to find you.

You still have to make sure your CU is the most visible bunch of nuts in town.

Brian Wringer

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