Best of Credit Union 2011 Diamond Award Winners

Here is a selection of 14 favorites picked by The Financial Brand from CUNA’s Diamond Awards 2011, one of the US credit union industry’s most important annual marketing events. You can see hundreds of winners in all asset classes for dozens of different categories here at CUNA’s website.

Financial institutions celebrated for their marketing excellence are most often the same ones that enjoy exceptional growth. Of the 14 credit unions whose projects are showcased below, they have collectively averaged 22.8% asset growth and a 15.2% increase in membership since 2007. One credit union, Dupaco, has seen it assets shoot up 94.3% in four years while adding 21.4% to its membership. That’s a credit union that not only get marketing, they clearly grasp member profitability as well.

Mountain America – Word Magnets

This brilliantly simple table-top display for investment services uses magnetic poetry to engage the credit union members in a fun way. If it included a call-to-action or takeaway, it would be perfect. This marketing savvy credit union has added over 91,000 new members in four years, or 35%.

Velocity Credit Union –

This microsite has an edgy URL and funny videos. It’s a good example of bank-bashing done right. The microsite includes a link to Velocity’s online switch kit. (Diamond Award)

Western Sun FCU – $100 Bills

This small credit union in Oklahoma may be walking a legal tightrope with the US Treasury, but since they aren’t reproducing entire $100 bills, then maybe they are in the clear? It really doesn’t matter what they printed on the insides of these nifty little marketing tricks. People probably read the whole message no matter what. (Merit Award)

Bethpage – Freestanding Floor Display for Auto Loans”

When was the last time you produced branch merchandising like this? If more financial institutions thought like retailers, we’d see more life-size displays like this one for Bethpage. The credit union has its two spokeswomen — “Beth” and “Paige” — popping out of a sunroof to promote auto refinancing. Note the Bethpage logo chromed in the car’s grill. Nice touch. (Merit Award)

Arizona State Credit Union – The Great Getaway Giveaway

This direct mail piece is cleverly disguised as a piece of luggage. It opens with a flap-fold to reveal the offer and sweepstakes details. (Merit Award)

Linn Area Credit Union – We Are Family

Real members like Candy Mitchell tell their story, drawing correlations between the importance of family and the credit union’s small, hometown atmosphere. People like Mrs. Mitchell make ideal spokespeople; they are authentic and believable — two things financial institutions typically struggle with. The credit union’s TV series won the CUNA competition’s top award in 2011. This scrappy little credit union has grown from $150 million in assets in 2007 to almost $250 million today.

A member testimonial that feels both genuine and credible.

BECU – “Move It or Lose It”

This multi-billion dollar credit union won a Merit Award for its spot on switching. They’ve used their toe-tapping rock music and signature visual style since at least 2009. BECU also won a Diamond Award for “Dream,” and another Merit Award for “Lower It.” Since 2007, BECU has grown by more than 150,000 new members.

( Editorial Note: This video is no longer available on YouTube. )

Orange County’s Credit Union – Mobile Banking Merchandising

To catch consumers’ attention these days, retail merchandising needs to be exciting and multi-dimensional. This table-top display from Orange County’s Credit Union proves that it takes more creativity than budget to make an engaging, on-message display.

Community First – Owner’s Manual

To augment its on-boarding process, this credit union created an attractive welcome kit with unusual print pieces and bright colors. (Diamond Award)

FivePoint Credit Union – Little Yellow T-Shirt

Direct mail isn’t dead. You just need to use a little creativity. Here’s a tip: Do anything you can to avoid sending plain 9×6 postcards or standard 8.5×11 letters. Always try to add a little pizzazz, a touch of flair to your direct mail pieces. The translucent envelope, tangy yellow color and odd shaped enclosure in this example undoubtedly increased response rates. (Merit Award)

Arizona State Credit Union – “Freebut”

A print ad mocks banks who pretend they offer “free” checking. It won a Merit Award for this $1.2 billion credit union.

STCU – My Life. My Money.

An attractive, well-designed kit of parts for this $1.5 billion dollar credit union’s youth marketing program. STCU has seen aggressive growth in the last four years, with assets up almost 60% and new members up by 32%.

Dupaco – Internal Marketing Campaign

Dupaco Community Credit Union wraps its internal marketing to staff around the mantra “Know. Show. Grow.” This kit outlines the training cycle new employees can anticipate in their first 90 days. Since 2007, this credit union’s assets nearly doubled to just shy of $1 billion and membership has grown 21.4%.

Teachers Credit Union – School Year Planner

Many credit unions seem to have forgotten how to market to their SEGs. But this credit union went out of their way to produce elaborate planning kits for its members — mostly teachers. They even created a sheet of stickers teachers could use with students: “Nice work,” “Great job,” “A+,” etc.

Grow Financial – Bugg Club

The kit of materials for this $1.7 billion credit union’s youth program was honored with a Merit Award. It’s got a cute theme and a cute title.

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