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Who makes the credit union message sing?

Wednesday morning at THINK 14 was about crafting a unified message, bringing the movement’s many voices together and finally letting that message sing. In a collaborative Disruption Lab, THINKers worked together to hammer out a common identity.

CO-OP also premiered its new national consumer marketing campaign, aimed at raising the profile of the credit union movement – and unveiled a new consumer-facing video featuring THINK 13 alum and musical tour-de-force Daria Musk.

The afternoon was all about challenging the business model. Kate Feather at People Metrics believes customer experience should lead the way to new business models. And just to be clear, customer experience is not to be confused with customer service: “To say that customer experience is the same as customer service is to say that the safety net is the trapeze act. If you’ve used it, something has gone wrong.”

Ivan Askwith, the mastermind behind the record-breaking “Veronica Mars Movie” Kickstarter campaign, drew parallels between the kinds of fan communities that rise up around movies and TV shows and the potential for equally enthusiastic communities within credit unions. “Could credit unions have a cult following?” he asked. He also urged credit unions to think about member experience from the members’ perspective. “It’s not about you; it’s about them,” he said. “Focus on the people you want to reach and not how you’re going to reach them. What do consumers want and need? What would they find most meaningful?”

CUNA CEO and President Bill Cheney and CO-OP CEO Stan Hollen joined Feather and Askwith in a THINK It Out that brought into focus the challenges facing change-driven credit unions. The starting notion: Change is inevitable, but not because credit unions are fundamentally off track. “I don’t think the business model is broken at all,” said Hollen. “It’s always changing; it’s never static. And the pace of change is accelerating. But that’s always been the case. You have no choice but to move.”

Cheney agreed that change is of the essence, and he took issue with the idea that urgency comes from lost opportunity. “The window of opportunity isn’t closing,” he said. “It’s wide open.”

In a sense, Askwith agreed: “There is perpetual massive discontent [on the part of consumers,” he said. How can credit unions meet those needs? And how can they convince consumers that their time is now? THINK on.

THINK Starter Perspective

How will THINK Starters be looking to integrate today’s insights into next week’s actions? Here are a few random ideas from today’s debrief:

  • Contemplating John Lauck’s idea of creating a “Tomorrow Team” at CMNH.
  • Gathering employees for focus groups to generate ideas, especially cross-pollinating with people who don’t work on your team.
  • Looking for ways to test new ideas on a manageable scale, so we can make progress and still feel safe, fail forward and control risk.
  • Asking – and asking again – What are we not doing for our members? How can we better hear what our members are saying?
  • Viewing operations from a customer experience standpoint, and not a customer service standpoint.
  • Striving to use social media consistently.

THINK Social

The social sphere at THINK 14 was abuzz with the announcement of CO-OP’s national consumer campaign and its official spokesperson, Daria Musk.

Most shared topics:

  • What credit union priorities should be
  • Committing to a larger national campaign
  • What makes a credit union “feel” different than a big bank

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Top 5 Social Insights

@cmnigro: Every single business has challenges. We need to stop talking about them and start doing something.

@SashaLovesCUs: Nobody should get hired, stay in their position, or get promoted if they do not exhibit a fanatical display of support.

@morrischris: Members are at the heart of credit union business – it’s not only part of our co-op principles, it is THE principle.

@onthegreen88: 1. Fans & Communities matter; 2. Marketing isn’t about messaging; 3. Technologies change, people don’t.

@AlixPatterson: When fans love something, they will fight for it. Would your members fight for you?

Up Next

Thursday Morning: Attract and motivate the best and brightest with insights from Mark Thompson from Virgin Unite Mentors and Susan Cantrell from the Accenture Institute for High Performance Businesses. Also: Celebrate with our 2014 THINK Prize winner.

Follow the action!

Follow the hashtag #COOPTHINK on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.