When $73 million White Rose Credit Union decided to relocate its branch in Red Lion, Pa., to nearby Dallastown, Pa., two years ago, it knew it needed something special to draw attention to the “new kid on the block.”
Jen Swanner, marketing vice president for the York, Pa.-based CU, chose to install a digital sign within a distinctive, 18-foot-high pylon. The credit union previously had worked with W.J. Strickler Signs, a company that has served the mid-Atlantic region since 1972, on static signs for some of its other branches. Strickler designed a sign with the White Rose Credit Union logo and name illuminated on top, and incorporated a full-color, LED display from Watchfire Signs that could be used to create messages directly from Swanner’s desktop.
“I knew immediately we needed a digital sign when putting in a brand new branch,” Swanner recalled. “I did some price comparisons and after contacting several companies, it was clear Strickler offered the best bang for the buck.
“Being able to change the message on the Watchfire sign in-house and not having to outsource it was very important,” she added.
The immediate challenge was Dallastown is home to just 4,000 people. Swanner said Dallastown is surrounded by a semi-metro area, so while the town is small, the area to be served by the credit union is much larger.
The CU already had four other locations in York and Adams counties at the time of the move to Dallastown. To maximize the impact in the new location, Swanner used the digital sign’s capabilities as a “community bulletin board.” It rotates marketing pitches for loans and the CU’s financial products with messages supporting students at the middle school and high school down the street, reminders of community events, and even road closure alerts.
The result: Swanner says the return on investment for the LED sign is “improving daily” and she is delighted that a number of students, parents and teachers from the two schools have become members of the credit union.
Several accounts have been opened on behalf of school clubs and organizations, she noted.
“We know the ROI is constantly improving because we have members and non-members come into the branch and say ‘we saw the sign and are interested in the special’ that the sign was promoting,” she explained. “Promotion results have been fantastic. We hear responses and we see the influx of loan applications and membership applications from people coming in off the street as a result of messaging center. The Dallastown branch has been up and running for two-plus years. We are building momentum and constantly improving viewership of the Watchfire digital sign and we continue to get improving personal feedback from people.”
More than 6.5 million exposures per year
The credit union estimates its sign draws 6.57 million exposures per year. Swanner rotates approximately eight phrases at a time, with marketing promotions and information changed out each month. In between, she is able to upload individual community messages in less than five minutes.
When the board was new, Swanner said, “we were ginger with our messaging,” but as time has gone on the CU has become “more bold.”
“We changed our strategy and now include a call to action. It is working,” she asserted.
White Rose Credit Union is considering relocating some of its branches contingent on changes in the local economy, Swanner continued. She said there is a large hospital being built and the management team is considering establish a branch near the location.
“We have discussed it and we hope when we reach that next stage we will bring in digital signs for those branches, as well,” she said.