Sparkle? Wait, handheld fireworks in the office? 

Growing your credit union may not be as easy as waving a magic sparkly wand, but there are ways for you to bump up your numbers without having to create a lot of noise, flash or bangs. Just use your sparkle!

We all have it. Every credit union has it too. Just think of when your members have smiled thanks to a staffer. Sparkle! When a member’s financial burden has been lifted thanks to a caring call center conversation. Sparkle! Those loan approvals leading to a better home, a safer car, a college education? Sparkle!

Sparkle Potential

Each and every interaction your members and potential members have with your credit union has sparkle potential. These interactions build positive experiences, create buzz, and separate you from those boring banks and credit unions ….which equals more members!

And while it might be easy to think of person-to-person sparkly interactions, what about other interactions people have with your credit union? Do they have the same sparkle? Do they reflect your brand, your personality, your member empathy?

Take a look at your notification letters for instance. I’m guessing they don’t sparkle. Your credit or debit card re-issue mailers – do they sparkle? ATM screens and receipts? Even those have potential to bring sparkle to potential members. Imagine if a non-member used a sparkle-y ATM (no glitter required)! They might just give their current primary financial institution a harder look.

Sparkle Ingredients

So how can you bring sparkle to these seemingly non-human interactions? Find your credit union’s voice and visuals. These two key elements to an awesome brand are right there in your culture just waiting to be discovered and cultivated. They can truly be what sets you apart from other financial institutions. You just have to know your culture, then be brave in showing what makes your credit union unique.

Sparkle In The Real World

Take Canvas Credit Union. They recently went through a name change (used to be Public Service Credit Union). Their CEO, Todd Marksberry, gave a talk about it at the 2019 MAC Conference I attended. His sparkle was off the charts! He spoke with such enthusiasm and energy about his life story and how Canvas truly puts members first.

They embrace their ‘crazy’ and let it show in all sorts of ways – from how they dress, their social media posts, how their ads are written and styled. And by the way, it’s not that ‘crazy’, they are just much more personable than traditional financial institutions.

Guess what. Their sparkle is growing their credit union. By embracing their people and culture, aligning with an authentic vision and mission, then crafting a brand to reflect all of that, Canvas has seen amazing growth. More than 50% growth in assets and a 45% growth in members since Todd joined the credit union in 2015. Sparkle CAN make magic happen!

Listen to Todd’s story in his own words in this podcast.

Create Your Own Sparkle

Take a look at how your credit union touches a member, from notification letters, receipts, online banking messaging, even the way your members go through the loan process. Think of how you can make it feel less corporate and more personable. Bring the credit union’s personality out with that tone of voice and visuals which reflect your culture and brand.

Finding that brand, that personality, is hard work. It takes time and great detective skills to truly learn the people and organization, to move past assumptions. Those discoveries need to be coupled with a style and personality the board and executives are willing to stand behind. Their leadership in the culture/branding/sparkle efforts are critical to success and future growth. Todd credited the board at Canvas for being open to new ideas and supportive in his approach.

But just take a look at Canvas’ success and you’ll have no doubt the difference sparkle can make!