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CU TAB DIRECT BY BILL MEYER TAB Engaging Your Audience in New Ways Case Study How CU Direct Generated 375K Votes in only 20 Days At its milestone 20-year mark CU Direct launched a 20-day online campaign with the aim of giving 20K to a worthy charitable organization. The response proved so overwhelming that CU Direct was able to triple its contribution. These takeaways can help your credit union achieve similar engagement from its audience. once daily for a Children s Miracle Network (CMN) Hospital of their choice to receive a 20 000 donation from CU Direct. Additionally the credit union that generated the most votes for the winning hospital would be invited to co-present the donation to the winner. B eing in business for 20 years is a monumental milestone for any organization. It s a time to reflect on not only who you are and what you do but more so why your organization exists. It s about finding that deeper meaning and celebrating it with employees customers and your industry. At CU Direct we wanted to acknowledge our 20-year milestone while promoting the goodwill of credit unions and providing support to a charity that helps thousands Children s Miracle Network (CMN). We achieved this objective by stepping out of our comfort zone and trying something that we had never done before. It was a risk but one worth taking. In a 20-day timeframe we developed a campaign that would require a viral response for it to reach its full potential. While it was uncertain how well the campaign would perform we did our best to create a platform that we believed would have a high potential to succeed. Our goals were based less on actual numbers and more on just receiving general engagement and response. We d consider our campaign a success if we could make a positive impact on others by getting credit unions throughout the nation to participate. The Execution During the development and execution of the campaign we did encounter a few challenges. The most prominent being a tight deadline because we had only three weeks to design develop The Strategy We launched the 20 for 20 Giveback Campaign during the month of December 2014. The campaign was an online voting contest that invited credit unions their members and the public to vote 28 C R E D I T U N I O N B U S I N E S S A P R I L 2 0 1 5 C U B U S I N E S S . C O M CU DIRECT TAB The credit union community as well as the general public was actively posting to social media outlets about Key Takeaways Here are our key takeaways from our 20th anniversary campaign the contest encouraging their own that credit unions can use to develop purposeful outreach social networks to join in the voting. strategies and produce similar levels of success 1) Be bigger than you. In the end CU Direct s 20 for 20 During the final week of the campaign Giveback Campaign was developed to benefit CMN. It gave us a way to connect the campaign to a bigger picture and the two leading hospitals were within associate our company s anniversary with a social cause. just a few votes of each other Credit unions differentiate themselves from other financial vying for first place. institutions by being nonprofit organizations governed by and deploy the entire campaign. Despite these challenges we prevailed and were ready for launch on December 2. Once launched we saw early support and success. Within the first week of the campaign s kick-off there were nearly 100 000 votes submitted on the campaign site. Because of the overwhelming response we increased the donation to 40 000 with 20 000 going to the hospital with the most votes and 5 000 going to the four runner-up hospitals. As the campaign built momentum we continued to be surprised by the engagement we were seeing online. The credit union community as well as the general public was actively posting to social media outlets about the contest encouraging their own social networks to join in the voting. During the final week of the campaign the two leading hospitals were within just a few votes of each other vying for first place. Ultimately on the final day of voting the two hospitals were tied and CU Direct awarded both hospitals 20 000 for an overall donation of 60 000 to six CMN hospitals across the United States. By any measure the campaign exceeded expectations and presented a set of best practices that our marketing team and company will continue to apply in the future. members for members. Because of the community-based family-like qualities of credit unions campaigns that focus on local social causes and foster goodwill are particularly effective in building reputation and loyalty. They are also a powerful means of connecting with current and potential members in a meaningful way. 2) Think integrated and be consistent. Since CU Direct had never engaged audiences in a voting-style campaign there was uncertainty about how much interest and votes would be generated by the campaign prior to launch. To combat this uncertainty we developed a plan with a mix of integrated communication strategies and tactics including The Results Overall the results we received in this campaign set a new milestone for our organization. The 20 for 20 Giveback Campaign accumulated over 375 000 votes delivered more than 2.1 million page views to the campaign website reached approximately 775 000 users on Twitter and 282 000 users on Facebook and earned over 270 media mentions all in 20 days. 29 C R E D I T U N I O N B U S I N E S S A P R I L 2 0 1 5 C U B U S I N E S S . C O M CU DIRECT Launching a website as a central hub for the campaign Asking for CMN hospitals and credit unions to partner with us and spread the word about the contest through social media e-mail and more Involving all CU Direct staff Regular updates and communications were sent to all employees encouraging them to vote and help spread the word among the industry and their own families and friends. Implementing a PR strategy that generated media interest on a local industry and national level and that earned media coverage throughout the entire campaign Sharing campaign updates on CU Direct s corporate blog Using a consistent hashtag CUDirect20 on Twitter Facebook LinkedIn and Google with ongoing promotion through posts Executing a social media (Facebook) ad campaign that ran the duration of the event Employing an e-mail marketing campaign that promoted the event to the credit union community a campaign in order to stay in front of audiences overcome challenges and generate positive results. CU Direct made a decision to create a nontraditional campaign that aligned with our audience s value system. If there s only one lesson you learn after reading this let it be that you should always push yourself to break through conventional approaches when it comes to the way you reach out to your current and potential members. Bill Meyer is the PR & Corporate Communications Lead at CU Direct the nation s leading lending and automotive solutions provider for credit unions. Representing more than 1 100 credit unions nationwide CU Direct specializes in solutions that help credit unions generate loans manage risk and provide value to members while helping dealers enhance efficiency increase profitability and generate sales. For more information about CU Direct or its 20 for 20 Giveback Campaign visit http cudirect20 or contact bill.meyer It is important for credit unions to consistently use similar integrated outreach strategies throughout the duration of 30 C R E D I T U N I O N B U S I N E S S A P R I L 2 0 1 5 C U B U S I N E S S . C O M