How 1 CU Is Using Marketing, Partnerships To Grow

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Kinecta Federal Credit Union may look like a community-chartered credit union and, at times, even act like one.

But, says Teresa Freeborn SVP of marketing and communications, it's not. And, from Kinecta's view, it's even better because of one of its 160 SEGs, Consumer Cooperative of Santa Monica, opened the door to potential members. How?

Consumer Cooperative is a membership-based, natural foods grocery store. Members who join receive various discounts on products, and are also eligible to join the credit union. The store reportedly has 5,000 active members with more joining daily.

During The Credit Union Journal's fourth annual SEG/Business Conference in San Diego in March, Freeborn will talk about how KCFU's relationship with a cooperative will change the way it does business. She will join many other experts who will speak during the two-day conference regarding their own strategies for recruiting new members-and making good members better members.

Freeborn said she will also share some of the CU's successful and unbank-like marketing campaigns targeted toward existing members who aren't using the credit union to its fullest extent.

For example, a recent brochure was created to have more of a "fine arts" feel to it than the typical banking brochures. Instead of stiff people shaking hands and smiling into camera lenses, its photos depict freedom, happiness, and elation, she said. The cover includes a picture of a man riding into the distance on his bike with both hands in the air.

The copy inside takes on the "Pepsi/Coke kind of challenge" that lists differences in costs and benefits of services between banks and its credit union, pointing out such things as interest rates on checking accounts and vehicle loans.

Freeborn said that particular marketing piece came after she made a collage using brochures from six area banks to examine their similarities. Once established, the creative team at KCU had to come up with something totally different, she said.

The 60-year-old credit union was for most of its life known as Hughes Aircraft Employees FCU. Its new name seeks to remain loyal to existing members, along with its 100-plus select employee groups.

The name, Kinecta, combines two different forces. The first is strength, forward motion. The second is "kin" or family. The accompanying logo has four circular multi-colored symbols, standing for energy, motion, and the diversity of the credit union's employees and membership.

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