What CUs can learn from Sarah Silverman

If you haven’t seen the latest Sarah Silverman video about moving her money to a credit union, you might be living under a rock. I’ve seen almost as many social media posts and reposts about #bankexit as political posts.

Okay, that might be an exaggeration. There’s still far more political posts in my social media. And of course the video and the entire #bankexit movement has political overtones to it as well. The #bankexit movement started in connection with the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) standoff, targeting big banks (Wells Fargo, Chase, Bank of America and Citigroup) since they were primary funding sources for the pipeline. Plenty of ordinary people supported the protest by the Standing Rock Sioux, encouraged by a combination of grassroots activism and left-leaning celebrities/media.

BUT, regardless of how you lean politically, there are plenty of take aways for everyone here (plus a potential membership boost for credit unions):

Unexpected allies are a gift. Sure, Sarah Silverman isn’t always G-rated in her delivery, but she gets the basics right about credit unions, and she connects with an audience that CUs also need to connect with — younger people that make decisions based on what they see as the right thing to do. So, flag it as PG-13 if you have to when you share it, but embrace the gift.

Video is better at explaining things. Let’s face it, it takes a minimum of 2-3 sentences to describe what a credit union is and does, and by the time you start the second sentence your listener has already glazed over. Now, wrap that explanation into a video, where a viewer expects to be led to a big reveal, and everything is easier to understand.

Video is better when it is personal. Online video consumption has been growing by around 20% for the last two years. But no one wants to listen to an anonymous talking head behind a desk. By bringing in a recognizable face (Silverman), adding graphics for emphasis, then actively promoting it online, a personal story becomes a teachable moment.

Besides, if you get good at it, you can always monetize it. There are companies such as this one that allow you to add your content to a website, then use their system to promote, syndicate, track, collect comments, sell subscriptions or merchandise, make money from ads, even allow fans to create memes based on your content. Isn’t capitalism grand?

Kent Dicken

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