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‘The Arrival Guide’ for Gen-Y (The Good, Bad & Ugly)

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tony-manor-andermahrI always get excited when financial institutions venture out and try something new — to shrug off the hot and itchy grey flannel suit and put on some shorts, flops and sunglasses, and relax a little. This is the environment that marketers can really make their mark and prove their differentiation. That’s why I was so excited to review EDS Credit Union’s project, “The Arrival Guide.”

I have never heard of EDS Credit Union before, so my breakdown and analysis will be entirely based on my 12 years of experience in user-interface design and internet marketing, plus 10 years’ experience in credit union marketing.

So here it is: “The Good,” “The Bad” and “The Ugly.”

The Good

Any time a credit union tries to speak to the youth category, it is a good thing. You can’t go wrong trying to open lines of communication, so the prominent display of both their Twitter and Facebook accounts is a nice touch.

The design should appeal to the target Gen-Y demographic, but will also be visually pleasing to anyone else who may visit. It’s not overwhelmed by content, so the message stands out with great impact.

The video is kind of cute, but fairly typical fare from credit unions these day. Not bad, not great. However, the use of “swagger” kind of had me rolling my eyes, but it was a solid attempt and proper use of slang.

The “Tweetbox” on the home page is also nice, assuming you have good stuff to share. Which it seems they do. They have tweets directed to specific people (members or not). EDS corporate isn’t proof-reading every tweet, and references to local concerts and other such chatter consistent with the target is what Twitter is all about. Their Twitter account is followed by over 200 people, while EDS follows over 400 tweeters. It’s a good ratio, something that is difficult for some people to manage.

The linked Facebook fan page is doing well with almost 400 fans. That, my friends, is quite the coup for a financial institution. I don’t know if it is the content that gets updated consistently, a viral marketing effect, or the incredibly attractive young ladies in the photo stream. Whatever it is, it’s working.

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FACEBOOK PAGE FOR ‘THE ARRIVAL GUIDE’

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The Bad

The website doesn’t really create the sale. There are no links to “become a member” or anything. I can’t understand that.

All the momentum created on the first page comes to a screaming halt on the internal pages. The copy is kind of boring, as are the internal pages. No more videos, no more pictures — just scrolling boxes o’ text. The “Old School” scrolling text box defeats any “street cred” earned on the home page.

Once in the site, I am a little lost as to what I am supposed to do. Why am I here again? Oh, because I have “Arrived.”

The Twitter profile page caries the same design as the website. The content is solid, although it can be a little salesy at times. The big faux pas here is that it was designed for a huge screen. There are links on the bottom left that many screens (including mine) will cut off, and my screen is pretty big with the resolution set pretty high. Joe Twitter will probably never see those links.

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TWITTER PAGE FOR ‘THE ARRIVAL GUIDE’

And regarding the title for the promo, has the typical member of Gen-Y ever heard the expression, “You’ve arrived?”

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The Ugly

After you watch the commercial on the home page, you get the typical YouTube slide shows of other videos that are similar to the content that you’ve viewed. This is incredibly dangerous and something that I recommend financial institutions do not do.

Don’t get me wrong, “remote hosting” of video content on YouTube — like what EDS is doing here — is great. It does good things for search engine optimization and helps spread the word. But streaming it from your official, branded website? Not so good…

Here’s why. One of the links that came up for me was a Sam Kinison comedy bit. Now I think Sam is funny, and I was kind of happy to get to listen to it while on the clock. But then Sam started talking about an Asian shopkeeper, using an exaggerated accent and obscenities that was pretty much, well, racist. Not cool to be watching that while still on a credit union’s official website.

If you cannot stream the video from your own server, select a content host that limits how far a user can get from your original content. This will help keep the craziness from diluting your message, and possibly save you from a major embarrassment.

Summary

Okay, I shot some arrows at this thing, some of which may seem a little harsh. But all-in-all it was a great effort by the folks at EDS, and the primary microsite is solid.

Factor Grade Comments
Site Design B+ Good, but not great
Site Content C- Information is there, but it isn’t compelling.
Social Media A- YouTube, FlickR, Twitter, Facebook and even an Ning Forum.
Nice job. Not much wrong here.
PR/Marketing B+ Nice t-shirts, parties, and events.
Overall Grade B A great effort!

eds-arrival-guide-eventI’m guessing there’s a lot more to The Arrival Guide campaign than what we can see on the web. I get the feeling from some photos on their Flickr page that there is some serious marketing out in the real world — as there should be. (What is that in the photo? Is that a postcard? Or a real, printed guide? And are those Dum Dum pops in the background?) This is where you are going to really create buzz. A website is just a part of that real world effort.

These types of promotional microsites and various social media tools aren’t “silver bullets,” or “golden keys,” or whatever you want to call them. They should be just a part of a larger marketing campaign. Online social media is just a tool, and if you are going to build an entire house, you need more than just a hammer. You need a variety of tools that all do something specific to achieve the desired results. And it helps to know how- and when to use each tool.

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tony-manor-andermahrTony Mannor is CEO of Andermahr & Company — The Credit Union Marketing Agency. Tony is the chief blogger at CUHype.com and a regular writer and speaker on topics of technology, Internet marketing and credit union marketing. Andermahr & Company has been providing award winning marketing and design to credit unions for over 27 years.

All content © 2017 by The Financial Brand and may not be reproduced by any means without permission.

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Comments

  1. Tim McAlpine says:

    Great review Tony.

    A YouTube tip I would recommend: When generating the embed code, click off “include related videos” and you will never have the problem of unwanted video content making its way onto your site. The pros of hosting with YouTube definitely outweigh the cons.

  2. 12 years of user interface/web design and you haven’t ever used the embed function on Youtube? Hmm. Noob!

  3. Tony Mannor says:

    Ooops, I did forget to suggest to uncheck “Include related videos”. Sorry about that. However, my overall position is unchanged. That is because, in this case, not only was there a “Related” Kinison video but there was also a link to a video called “Suck a bag of d***s” which could have all been avoided if the “Include Related Videos” box would have been unselected OR the video was streamed from the CUs or hosting company’s server or alternate video hosting service instead of YouTube. The fact is, the web company or credit union failed to do this. Don’t shoot the messenger, just stating the facts.

    The reason why I am still hesitant to stream videos from YouTube is that even when you remove related videos the embedded video still links back to youtube which brings up the related content (albeit not within the corporate site frame so less of a big deal). What is a big deal is that this can take people away from the site you want them to stay on and browse. This also causes you to lose the ability to accurately track user activity on the site. This is important to me, and should be important to the credit union. Not everyone will click on it, but it is there to be clicked.

    Ultimately, and I think the review shows it, I think the site is good. I think, after a few minor changes, it could be great.

  4. Tim McAlpine says:

    @Editor I could not agree more with your last comment. Social media does not work without the ability to share content.

  5. Videos should be shareable. Privately hosting them on your own servers makes it very difficult to share a video. From this editor’s perspective, I’ll tell you that if your video isn’t on a major hosting service like YouTube, Vimeo or MySpace, I can’t share it in an article. I have been forced to abandon articles I wanted to write because of this.

    Now, understandably, not everyone wants their videos shared. But I’d expect that to be the rare exception for a marketer.

  6. About the YouTube/Kinison/D**ks debacle.

    Your target audience is Gen Y – they know how YouTube works and will not hold you responsible for “videos like this” In fact some may think you’re pretty cool.

    Their dad – aka your current member? – not so much…so their kid will have to explain it to them – once again, making you cool.

    I think EDS did a great job because they are pioneers in this arena………most credit unions are afraid to get into the social media sandbox for fear of making a mistake.

  7. Yikes, feels like I am dodging arrows now.

    Sharing video, YES. Social element, YES (Do I even need to qualify that?). Caution and doing it properly to maintain message and brand integrity? Holy cow yes!

    That’s all I meant. Plus to be honest, the videos weren’t really the viral type anyway so the likelihood of them being shared in any sort of social media way, in my opinion, is zero. Therefor they really didnt need to be on YouTube. They were commercials and pretty tame commercials at that. I think they were on YouTube for convenience and bandwidth more than the social component.

    Now if they did a UGC Video contest where people could upload their own “Arrived” videos.. Definitely on YouTube. If they did a series of “crazy” commercials, music video spoofs by employees or members or something like that – that could be viral and you would totally want to do that on YouTube. Look at what it did for the US Navy. There have been so many crewman, seamen and officers making spoof music videos that the rumor is that the Navy is trying to leverage the popularity into a recruitment campaign. That’s the kind of stuff that goes viral. That is how you use social media. Compelling content.

    Please don’t get caught up on the whole YouTube vs Self-Serve debate. This was more about the integrity of the marketing message where it mattered – the home page of the site. Not a technological issue of the best way to stream video to your CU marketing site. Having alternative media on your home page is bad occluding your message is bad, no matter who the viewer is. It is like having your member’s cooler friend come up and interrupt your sales pitch and pull your member away from you costing you the sale. The difference is, you have the opportunity to close the door and keep that friend out.

    Now the awesome thing is that the folks at EDS are paying attention, they fixed their video to no longer show related videos.

    Thanks to everyone who has put me to task for my statements. I hope I cleared up any confusion on what I said an what my position is on the subject.

  8. I don’t think it’s anything to worry about Tony. (I’d certainly not take the comments of an anonymous name-caller too seriously.) The YouTube component was only a small part of the promotion, and an appropriate and equally small segment of your overall review. I hope everyone views the comments as a learning experience. I certainly do. Before Tim’s comment, I didn’t even know you could turn off related videos, much less how.

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