WICHITA-The Kansas CU Association is preparing to embark on a lengthy branding campaign.

According to Susan Dyer, communications director, the KCUA's new campaign follows input from credit unions across the state that found they wanted a refocused message.

The previous branding campaign-known as "Money Smart, Value Strong"-did not focus on the "people helping people" theme, and many credit unions asked that the new campaign put the focus there. The new campaign is known as "The Power of One Can Make a Difference" and features real credit union members, rather than the stock photography used in previous campaigns.

KCUA has plans to run two weeks of paid advertising in newspapers and on radio beginning in November and then will likely repeat those runs in early 2013. Videos featuring Kansas credit union members have also been made for the association's YouTube channel, and all ads and videos direct consumers to a web address where they can learn more about credit unions and find one they can join via asmarterchoice.org. KCUA is also running web ads on the websites for various newspapers throughout the state.

Because branding campaigns are difficult to directly tie to membership growth, no specific loan or member goals have been set. However,  KCUA has created a website that will allow for tracking.
The campaign is also using the "Make A Difference Day" tactic already used by CUs in many other states. On specific days, credit unions in various parts of the state are visiting gas stations in their communities to give out $25 in free gas and give consumers information about credit unions.

Lesson From Focus Group

The campaign does not touch on issues of who can join-in part because of basic awareness thresholds that need to be passed first.

"In a focus group, one of the issues our credit unions said was that people still don't know what a credit union is," said Dyer. "So the event is designed so that (KCUA) members have a minute to talk about the value of credit unions, what a CU is, how they can join and where to go for more information."

While KCUA has run branding campaigns in the past, Dyer said the goal is to have the campaign run longer than the typical one-year shelf life of earlier efforts.

"The plan is to use this for a couple of years to kind of keep it out there and keep it top of mind in the minds of Kansas consumers," she said. "We like the message that it gives-people helping people, credit unions can make a difference."

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