What does a company’s logo represent? According to Scott Stratten, president of Un-Marketing, it is simply a trigger for memories – good or bad.
“Unbranding means whatever you see is right,” he told the audience. “Everyone has their own impressions of brands, along with biases. If we see the logo of a company we have interacted with, we think of the most recent interaction we have had with that company.”
Stratten told a story about the Ritz-Carlton Amelia Island in Florida. The youngest child of a family visiting the resort accidentally left “Joshie,” his prized stuffed giraffe, at the hotel. The panicked father told his son Joshie was “on an extended vacation,” then frantically called the front desk and begged them to find the toy so his life would not be ruined. The dad happened to mention the “extended vacation” line, so when an employee found Joshie, she took pictures of the giraffe in various poses around the resort, and included the pictures in the package prior to overnighting Joshie back to his family.
“What do you think the dad did when he received this package? Right, he told everybody,” Stratten said, noting he read the story on the dad’s blog. “This was done by one hotel laundry worker and a front desk clerk, and thousands of people heard about it.”
The lesson Stratten wanted credit unions to learn: “The people who work with your members change the perception of your credit union with every interaction. The day is made up of hundreds if not thousands of interactions – in person, e-mails, Twitter, Facebook. Empower your people because they are the brand. People do not work their best if they think they do not matter. Marketing does the branding, the logo and the website, but the day-to-day interactions really are the brand.”
According to Stratten, too many CUs treat the pursuit of new members different from how they treat current ones, often giving rewards to new members that are not offered to members that have been around for years. “If you think word of mouth is the best marketing, shouldn’t that be different? Focus the love on current members.”
CUs need to know they have three types of members: ecstatic, static and vulnerable, he continued. While management believes most of their members are ecstatic, most are static, he warned.
If a member says he or she is “fine” with the credit union, Stratten said that is a time to worry.
“Fine is bad. We don’t want fine. It is just a word to get out of the conversation. It is the “F” word in business. Fine is where business goes to die and competitors take over.”
If a credit union employee hears someone say “fine,” sit that person down and go over stop, start, continue: as in, What do we need to stop doing, start doing, continue doing, to keep you for the rest of your life?
“Interactions are pivot points,” Stratten said. “The worst type of member complaint is the one the credit union cannot hear. Because then the credit union cannot fix it. Members do not expect perfection, but they do expect ownership of mistakes. When we complain we want validation. We want an apology that does not deflect, but takes ownership.”