Humans want to be treated fairly.

Should you: Stay in your Lane, or Think like a Human?

If we have learned anything in this era of  ‘woke’ advertising, it’s that companies need to think like a human instead of a corporation.

Whether you agree or not, most people believe that businesses have a social responsibility in the marketing they present. Ads and images that show rigid gender roles and sexual stereotypes, unrealistic beauty standards and body-shaming, not to mention systemic racism, have rightly been criticized by the audiences they offend.

Of course, ‘doing what’s right’ automatically seems to cue some sort of outrage from those that claim companies should ‘stay in their lane’, and not ‘capitalize on social causes.’ But outrage that feels manufactured rarely lasts very long, and the bottom line usually benefits.

Millennials, in particular, seem to be very aware of the ethical implications of their choices for services and products. Plus their parents are beginning to follow their lead.

And any company that is thinking about future growth obviously will want to follow their target audiences.

All of which bodes well for credit unions, who need Millennials to grow, and have a great human-to-human story to tell.

The trick is to not pull a Pepsi Max/Kendall Jenner-type faceplant, but to produce marketing that resonates a lot more than it repels.

The best men can be.

Some people have labeled this Gillette ad as male-bashing in the era of #MeToo. But it simply encourages men to stop other males from bullying and harassment – the types of bad behavior that should have never been associated with masculinity in the first place – and to set a better example for the boys that are watching and learning what it means to be men.

Anyone still freaking out about this ad likely hasn’t watched it. Or maybe they are simply reacting based on what others in social media have said. Or maybe they just forgot that Gillette used to use the tagline “The Best a Man Can Get”, which means that this ad was actually more about evolution of their brand than a ‘surrender to social justice.’

Dream Crazy.

There was plenty of speculation as to the negative affects of Nike using Colin Kaepernick to voice and appear in this ad, since he had become the face of NFL player kneeling protests. Mentions of Nike on social-media rose 1,678% on the Sunday and Monday of the commercial’s launch, much of it negative.

But talks of boycotts and pictures in the press of piles of burning shoes quickly faded away, and had little negative effect on Nike as supporters rallied to their side. Online sales rose by 31% that week, compared to the same week the previous year. In fact, Nike had a +31% sales growth in 2018, compared to a +8% gain for the S&P 500 index.

Once again, people proved that values matter.

But what does any of this have to do with my credit union?

If you want your credit union to grow, you have to stop thinking like a business, and think like a human instead.

Because humans want different things than businesses. Things like ROI and loan rates aren’t even on their radar.

Humans have different needs. Different dreams. Different reasons to make their own decisions and different motives that influence those decisions. Decisions that are often based more on emotion than anything else.

Humans want to be treated fairly. They want everyone else to be treated equally. And they are getting more vocal about it.

Maybe it’s time for your credit union to get vocal about it as well.

Kent Dicken

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