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Connexus : Issue 40
Switching the media message Being media savvy is a crucial part of creating brand attraction for mutuals. BY DANIEL MCDOUGALL W hat is the media and how do we use it to communicate our messages? You can mount a compelling case that media = public. If you want more customers, engaging with the media to get messages to the public is a sound way to help achieve growth. And the key to winning public support is crafting messages that appeal to people and tap into current consumer sentiment. In our industry, we know our institutions have been recording high customer satisfaction ratings, well above those of the major four banks. The challenge now is to embrace this and attract new customers. This point was central to a World Council of Credit Unions workshop held in the United States earlier this year, that looked at how to defne and build a brand so it remains an attractive proposition for future generations. The Building the Brand workshop, facilitated by research and strategy frm Attune, aimed to identify the messages that work, and those that don't, to fnd a better way of connecting with consumers. Particularly generation Y. Its preliminary fndings are useful to all mutuals. Phrases to avoid Account switching reforms are starting to take effect in Australia. In this context, Attune outlined the challenge in trying to change consumer behaviour, particularly when it required some effort to change fnancial institutions. Its advice for mutual marketers wanting to better connect with the community includes avoiding traditional terms such as ‘member’ and ‘not-for- proft’. These types of terms send messages relating to organisational structure, and they haven't tested well. People tend to have quite rusted-on views of them which are hard to break. Eighty per cent of consumers maintained their original view, even after they were provided with new information to challenge it. For example, many consumers struggled to make the connection between not-for-proft and banking. Instead, the focus should be on offering a direct, personal beneft and showing how it can be easily achieved. That's why advertisements with an emotional hook as well as a rational idea -- such as telling people how they can save money by changing fnancial providers -- often work well. What journalists want When it comes to preparing material for journalists, the media landscape may have changed, but journalists are still looking to answer the same important questions: who, what, when, where, why and how. Providing the answers in a media release, inter view, statement or other media or marketing communication will go a long way to getting a good run in the local media. To do this well, the material needs to be presented in small, understandable pieces. An organisation may have a wealth of knowledge on a topic, but it needs to be tailored and refned (as opposed to dumbed down) so the media and public can understand it. The media and community value trusted communicators who understand a particular medium, be it radio, television, print or online, and know how to use it effectively. Attune has been working with WOCCU on an overall brand strategy to be presented at the council's conference in July 2012. Daniel McDougall is senior adviser – media at Abacus. He was a delegate at the Building the Brand workshop along with WAW Credit Union chief executive Peter Challis. ...the focus should be on o ering a direct, personal bene t and showing how it can be easily achieved. 44 Connexus Marketing