'Next Top CU Member' Puts Loyalty In Spotlight

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DUBLIN, Ohio-Ohio HealthCare FCU asked consumers to tell it who its top members are, and 41,000 people responded.

OHFCU's "Next Top Credit Union Member" contest asked members to submit an entry and explain why the credit union has made a difference in their lives. Nine finalists were selected and video testimonials were shot, which were placed on a new microsite, www.nexttopcumember.com. Consumers were given two weeks to vote on the best entry. Three winners were chosen and each awarded $500.

"We were stunned by the response," said Marketing Director Jamie Crooks. "That is a lot of publicity-and hits to our website-for a $44-million credit union with 8,000 members."

Not only did the contest generate publicity for the credit union, the member testimonials will be key elements in its new "Making a Difference" marketing campaign Ohio HealthCare FCU will roll out in the first quarter.

Crooks explained that the CU had been looking for ways to effectively gather member testimonials to use in future advertising. "We got more testimonials, over 25, than we thought we would. And the publicity, as I said, was well above projections."

What helped was one member setting up shop in a local mall during the contest and handing out thousands of cards asking shoppers to go to the credit union's website and vote for her video.

OHFCU was pleased, too, with what members said about the credit union in their written testimonials and videos. "They mentioned positive things, in general, about what the credit union does for its members and that we are different than a bank," Crooks said. "They talked about how great member service is, and how our employees know them by name."

One member talked about how OHFCU has been a big part of her life for the last 25 years. "She opened an account with us, opened accounts for her kids, and now is opening accounts for her grandchildren."

Crooks said the testimonials will help the credit union set itself apart in the market. "The focus of our new advertising campaign is how Ohio HealthCare Federal Credit Union has made a difference in the lives of healthcare employees throughout the state. We want to be known as the healthcare credit union in Ohio."

The credit union spent less than $10,000 on the contest, including the microsite.

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