The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) recently hosted their annual Marketing and Business Development (MBD) Council Conference at Sea World in Orlando, Florida.
The MBD provides an opportunity for credit union professionals to connect with their peers, explore exciting new industry trends and best practices, and recognize their colleagues with the Diamond Awards, the world’s most prestigious annual credit union marketing competition.
Two of our most passionate finserv specialists, Laurie Flanders and Jessie Baderschneider, were among the attendees at this year’s MBD conference, which ran from March 26 to the 29th. In addition to spotlighting our advanced credit union member experience management platform, Laurie and Jessie were also able to connect with other credit union experts, soak up valuable insights at various breakout sessions, and cheer on some of our friends who were honored at the Diamond Awards.
As you might imagine, there was a lot to take in over the course of four action-packed days. However, certain moments, presentations, and key insights really made an impression.
Here are some of the big takeaways and memorable moments we were lucky enough to experience at the 2023 CUNA MBD in Orlando:
Embracing the power of imagination with Meow Wolf
The conference’s opening general session was titled, “How The Imagination Reaches Outside the Box.” It featured speaker Vince Kadlubek, the co-founder of Meow Wolf, an arts and entertainment company based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, that creates immersive and interactive experiences for audiences of all ages.
Though Kadlubek is not a credit union expert, he does have insight into a segment that every credit union covets: young people.
In the internet age, as younger consumers engage with brands in entirely new ways, traditional ways of doing business are constantly being questioned. Kadlubek advocated using imagination to unlock out-of-the-box solutions — including fresh ideas that speak to Millennials and Zoomers.
“It’s in the imagination that the future exists,” Kadlubek said, encouraging creative thinking as a way of transforming the credit union space.
“We scroll through social media looking for something new,” Kadlubek added, reflecting on the current reality. “We have trained ourselves in a Pavlovian level to search for something new. Then we go into the real world and everything is the same and boring. We don’t need to get on to our kids about being on their phones – we need to make the world more interesting.”
This was an interesting session for us, in part because we’ve also written about ways that credit unions can attract younger members.
Using storytelling to connect with members
On a slightly similar note, one of our favorite breakout sessions this year was “Stop Selling, Start Storytelling,” which focused on the power of storytelling to create meaningful connections with current and prospective credit union members.
Speakers Nick Chiamardas and Samantha Strickland (both of The Pod Advertising) shared some real credit union case studies, including one credit union that successfully made DEI the central element of their brand.
Samantha argued that brand storytelling should be strategic, tactical, and inspirational. According to her, all brand stories should answer three questions:
- Where have you been?
- Where are you now?
- Where are you heading?
Can you tell a story about your credit union that can answer all of those questions—and do it in the time it takes to make an elevator pitch? That’s the challenge for credit unions looking to attract new members (and retain existing ones).
Nick shared five storytelling tips to add some guidance:
- Be authentic
- Know your audience
- Communicate a problem you can solve
- Build your brand value
- Connect with your market
In order to tell stories that resonate with prospective and existing credit union members, you first need to understand that audience, which means listening to a lot of feedback.
This was an interesting session for us, since we recently wrapped up a lengthy series on member retention strategies, which also included an article on member acquisition.
Recognizing incredible credit union professionals with the Diamond Awards
Perhaps the swankiest night of the conference came on Tuesday evening, when the Diamond Awards were presented to outstanding credit union professionals.
There were over 300 awards given out during the ceremony, but only six were awarded to individuals. Among that very select group of winners was our friend Rachel Bond of Greater Texas Federal Credit Union, who was named the Community Outreach Professional of the Year!
“When I joined the credit union 16 years ago, I wasn’t sure I was going to stay,” Rachel said when accepting her award. “But once you are here, the movement just gets into your blood, and I am so thankful I stayed.”
Laurie and Jessie had the pleasure of congratulating Rachel in-person – not to mention posing alongside her to form a trio of “credit union cover girls.”
Of course, these are just a few of the highlights from a fun and exciting CUNA MBD conference. If you missed out on this event, we’d still love to chat! Just request a demo to get some time on the calendar to learn how Sogolytics can help you enhance the member experience.