More Proven Strategies For E-xtending Your Brand

You know you need to leverage the electronic banking channel to grow your credit union. But what you may not know is just how to do it and what the successful providers of e-banking know.

In this, the second of two parts, we delve into another half-dozen strategies to make your e-channel work.

With financial service trends driving towards mobility and efficiency, we need to invest in and examine how we can extend our products and services through new e-channels and challenge ourselves on product differentiation.

Every Monday morning a person should be assigned to go through a very detailed checklist of your entire website and check copy/rates to make sure every link works properly.

Community and media websites can (if selected correctly) help drive traffic to your site. Online banners that link to your site can be much cheaper than traditional print and you capture net savvy members/potential members this way.

Consider the use of micro sites, i.e.; Shouldirefinance.com. Quite simply you brand and market these type of micro-sites separately. These can be very powerful tools.

Establish a blog along with a presence on FaceBook, MySpace, LinkedIn, etc. Add new copy constantly even if it is canned-something new is always better than something old when it comes to the web.

Mobile banking is getting BIG-fast! Check out goDough by Symitar www.symitar.com. USAA also has a solid product. FSCC's Sarah Canepa Bang notes that US Mobile is playing catch up-we have a window but its closing fast. Just 30% of US banks offer account balance by phone. Just 26% offer bill payment by phone (Aite Group), The good news is-78% of consumers would prefer to get mobile from their FI over mobile carrier (Compete 07)

CUs (and banks) are focusing too much on affluent members when it comes to mobile banking.  Who needs to know the balance in his account more than someone living on the edge?  Everyone has a phone in his pocket! FSCC has launched a program for all our CUs that gives them a mobile program for their members (WAP and Applet). There is no excuse not to be offering a robust mobile program. We can learn from our friends around the globe-check out Smart Padala in the Philippines-these guys are actually the phone company, but have created a mobile program that is helping to build wealth in the poorest of the poor. The branding is awesome and CUs could learn a lot from them (http://smart.com.ph/Corporate/Services/SmartPadala/.

Low-Income Consumers Need Services

Mobilians International launche Mobicash, allowing people to charge purchases to the mobile phones-no credit card or bank needed (IDC Research, February 2008). Mobile banking in South Africa and the Philippines helps keep low-income consumer money safe while reducing fees.  Low-income consumers make up 21% of mobile users in the U.S., but, no one seems to be paying attention (Yankee Group, January 2008).

International Remittances are next. Smart Padala (link provided above) is offering international remittances through mobile phones in the Philippines (Aite Group, April 2008).

Institute remote deposit capture for checks for your small businesses and member-consumers ASAP!

Capture e-mails all the time and train your POS staff to always update this non-stop.

Any interactivity you can build and add to engage and capture your member's attention-you want a member to value and rely on your e-services as their resource for all things financial.

Finally, if you are over 35, find someone younger in the CU to tell you about things like Twitter, YouTube, blogs etc.

Instituting any or all of the above ideas extends your brand, and that will drive growth, increase loyalty and create additional opportunities which build greater brand equity.

Paul J Lucas can be reached at paul<at>pauljlucas.com. (c) 2008 The Credit Union Journal and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved. http://www.cujournal.com/ http://www.sourcemedia.com/