When it comes to account acquisition and retention, credit union marketers typically first look to direct-to-prospect and member outreach initiatives, like loyalty programs, opt-in incentives or special rates. Community outreach is not likely at the top of their list—and it should be.
You may be surprised to learn how hard community outreach works to strengthen your reputation, image and relationship with your marketing audience, which, in turn, has a significant, positive impact on your bottom line.
Outreach improves your brand perception.
Credit unions that visibly demonstrate their ethics and show their commitment to the communities they serve are more likely to have a stronger reputation and attract members who care deeply about what they stand for. Research has shown that consumers reward companies with outreach activities by being more loyal to them. In fact, community outreach was shown to have a stronger impact on loyalty than service quality.
Outreach strengthens your visibility.
The key is to strategically invest in local efforts that help your credit union forge meaningful connections with members—and prospects!—by developing or aligning with a cause that matters to them. An initiative as simple as supporting school readiness by hosting a reading program for preschoolers in your branches can resonate powerfully with members, inspiring loyalty and brand advocacy.
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Outreach galvanizes internal stakeholders.
Employees of companies that are highly engaged in the community are more likely to stay, perform well, and make a positive contribution to the satisfaction and loyalty of members. Community outreach acts as a powerful value creation platform, and the effect of such a platform does not go unnoticed by members who will certainly be drawn to credit unions with strong performance and engaged, happy employees.
Outreach strengthens and protects your image.
Community outreach minimizes vulnerability. It provides a measure of insurance against potential negative issues or member experiences affecting your brand reputation—while also amplifying positive messages and emotions involving your credit union’s ability to do good and right things.
Investing your credit union’s resources—money, time, and volunteer hours—into local community outreach is not an exclusively philanthropic gesture. It has been proven to generate greater visibility, boost member retention and drive your credit union’s ROI. How your credit union works and engages with the community will change how (and how much) that community does business with you.