An intermission, an update on Young & Free and an exciting announcement

I am half way through my blog series on challenge marketing for credit unions. Not only are the articles twice as long as I expected, but it is taking me longer than I thought. My goal with putting this series together was to give our readers tips and insights into running their own challenge marketing programs. Hopefully you are enjoying these (very) long blog posts and are learning something along the way!

But rather than delay a really exciting announcement, I am going to call this the intermission and let you know what we have been working on. Then I will get back to work completing the series, incorporating thoughts from the comments and turning it all into a white paper.

An update on Young & Free

Since going public with our plan to exclusively offer Young & Free to one credit union in each US state and Canadian province, approximately 150 credit unions and groups of credit unions have expressed interest in taking on the program. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. In addition to Young & Free Alberta for Servus Credit Union and Young & Free Texas for TDECU, we have two more US states licensed and our next launch is scheduled for the beginning of February 2009.

I am delighted with our two 2009 spokespeople, Myles in Alberta and DeAndre' in Texas, and I am really excited about two new things in the Young & Free universe.

  • Collaboration: we are starting to see the benefits of the master brand approach. Myles and DeAndre' are collaborating and we are featuring our different Y&F Zones on each site. It has been very refreshing to see credit unions in different areas embracing each other and requesting links back and forth on the sites we are building.
  • Living Young & Free Video Series: I think the greatest opportunity we have with Young & Free is to help young people understand the credit union advantage and to also gain a better understanding of financial topics in general. We got a taste of the power of simple, entertaining and educational videos with Larissa's Difference Between Banks and Credit Unions series directed at young people living in Alberta. But other under 25-year-old crowds have the same questions and concerns about their financial lives.
     
    That's why we've given our new Young & Free Spokesters a mission: during their term, reach out to the young people in their regions and research a number of financial literacy topics. Turn that research into creative, entertaining, educational and memorable videos. These videos make up our Living Young & Free Video Series, and are available on the Young & Free sites and on YouTube. Credit unions throughout the world are able to post these videos on their sites as well, turning Young & Free into a truly worldwide movement.

But not every credit union can afford Young & Free

The common refrain that we hear is that credit unions love Young & Free, but with the current economic uncertainty, most are unwilling to commit to a 52-week annual challenge marketing program on the scope and scale of Young & Free. This is very understandable.

We have had dozens of requests for something smaller.

Personally, I bristled at the thought of offering a Young & Free Lite, but the more we thought about it and deconstructed the Young & Free Program, the more we realized that credit unions could likely offer a 12-week annual challenge with all the intensity and excitement of Young & Free. And the challenges could be very different—the last thing I want to do is diminish the importance of Young & Free to our credit union partners and to our company. We will continue to persevere to bring our Young & Free vision to every corner of the continent.

Without further ado, I am pleased to announce our new challenge marketing section. We have six different programs to start and will be releasing more programs in the coming months. I encourage you to take a look around.

I will also release a series of blog posts today that showcase each concept one by one.

Thanks for your continued support and interest.

Tim