Welcome to the new currencymarketing.ca. A lot has changed since our last redesign, namely the popularity of mobile devices, like the iPhone and iPad.Read More
I knew my South by Southwest Interactive experience was going to offer more than "How to get more likes on your Facebook page" or "10 tips for better blog writing," but I didn't know how deeply the experience would make me think about the challenges that credit unions are facing and the opportunities that credit unions have in front of them.Read More
Kevin and I are attending SXSW Interactive in Austin, Texas for the first time this year. It's been on my conference bucket list for at least four years and I am glad to be able to check it off. Being on the other end of the #sxsw Twitter hashtag sucks and I wanted to see what all the fuss was about firsthand.Read More
Welcome to the brand new currencymarketing.ca!
It seems that about every three years I get the urge to redesign our website! Time has flown by since our last launch in December 2007. Here's a few of the highlights of the new site.
Who we are
This section will give you a sense of who we are and what makes us tick. Make sure to watch the new staff profile videos for some little-known facts.
What we do
Since we get multiple inquiries every week about our Young & Free Program, we've put together a comprehensive section to explain most of the details.
This page showcases information about what I speak about and how to invite me to speak. Over the past three years, I've spoken at about 30 events and have really come to enjoy public speaking (who knew!).
In this section you will find published articles and a collection of podcasts and live show archives.
I started blogging in 2006 and have since published 340 articles. Original titled the CU Brand Blog, I feel this title and focus no longer fits. There are much better blogs about financial branding and I really don't have much more to say on the subject since our focus has moved away from branding over the past couple of years (hence my infrequent posting on the subject). So, with a fresh website comes a fresh concept for the blog. Entitled, Credit Unions Matter, I will continue to explore and expand my thinking on why credit unions matter and what credit unions can do to matter more. This will also provide a clear division between this blog and our Why Gen Y blog.
Thanks for stopping by the new site. Take a look around and let me know what you think!
September is 30 things I would implement or consider implementing at my credit union if I was a credit union leader.
Thing 12: Replace our ten-year-old, super-nasty website
In hindsight, this should have been my number-one thing! If I were a credit union leader, I would make it priority one to develop a modern website that included:
- A beautiful, 980-pixel-wide layout with completely integrated online banking like Vancity's website
- Integrated blogs from a number of credit union employees like Vantage Credit Union's website
- Crisp writing and a clear personality like Coast Capital Savings' website
- Product ratings and reviews like San Francisco Fire Credit Union's website
- Online account opening and an integrated personal financial management tool like South Carolina Federal Credit Union's website
- A public-facing discussion forum like Addison Avenue Federal Credit Union's website
- Mobile texting capabilities like Mount Lehman Credit Union's website
You may balk and say that I have described a very expensive website. Maybe so, but at my credit union, before I opened another branch or upgraded the administration center, I would have a positively kick-ass website!
New website design
We originally designed the first Young & Free microsite in 2006. Needless to say the social web has progressed in the last three years and we have learned a tremendous amount from running three Young & Free programs. This experience has influenced a total redesign of the Young & Free sites. Here are some highlights:
- The new header prominently displays the regional hex logos, colors, textures and Young & Free Spokesters and better illustrates what the program is all about.
- During the Y&F Spokester's term, the blog is now the home page instead of a secondary page. This will ensure that visitors are greeted with daily fresh content. Visit the new Texas and Alberta home pages to see what I am talking about.
- We are using the new Disqus (pronounced Discuss) blog comment platform. Disqus enables visitors to login through their Twitter, Facebook, Seesmic or Open ID accounts. Participants can automatically tweet their comment, update their Facebook status with their comment and subscribe to further comments by e-mail. Disqus has the ability to accept video comments through Seesmic and will automatically add any tweets that link to a post.
- During the annual Y&F Spokester search or during a special promotion like the Young & Free SC Last Band Standing competition, the new site design features a promotional homepage. During these periods, the blog moves to the first secondary page.
- We have a new and improved right sidebar with:
- A permanent spot for our new Living Young & Free Show
- Greater visibility of our monthly prizes
- A real-time search widget to highlight activity on Twitter
- A latest blog comments widget to highlight active commenters, recent activity and popular posts
- The base of the site has a much larger product ad, more Flickr photos and readily accessible links to corporate pages and all of the other Young & Free sites.
- The top navigation bar has been reorganized to better highlight videos, financial information, events and a new forum.
Young & Free in the near future
Since going public in June 2008 with our plan to offer one courageous credit union in each state and province an exclusive license to run a Young & Free program, we have had tremendous interest. In fact, more than 150 credit unions and leagues have filled out our form requesting further information.
Although interest is extremely high from US credit unions, the economy and especially the NCUA Corporate Stabilization Program have had a tremendous impact on most credit unions' ability to move forward with an aggressive 52-week program like Young & Free. Having said that, we are extremely excited to announce that our fourth Y&F region will be live in one month and number five and six are launching at the end of January 2010 and June 2010 respectively.
Thanks for everyone's continued interest and support in Young & Free. Please let me know what you think of the new websites!
I saw this tweet yesterday. It pretty much sums it up. It's ironic that credit unions continue to pour money into new physical branches and sadly neglect their online presence. Attractive and inviting branches are important, but so is having an easy-to-use and feature-rich website.
Meet Julie, Coast Capital Savings' award-winning online greeter. Julie is from Canada and has been helping website visitors since 2006.
Meet Lisa, Community First Credit Union's online greeter. Lisa is from Australia and has been helping web visitors since I am not sure when. UPDATE: since 2007 (from the comments).
I learned about Lisa in the comments today on the Financial Brand. I have no idea whether Community First has licensed the idea or was given permission to clone Julie.
All's fair in the world of cooperative credit unions or just another example of credit union R&D (rip-off and duplicate). What do you think?
I discovered a neat thing today when I checked out my sad little balance at the TD. For those of you who've forgotten, I opened accounts at Canada's 5 major banks to do mystery shopping for this blog.
Anywho, I logged in and found this:
Here's my critique:
- Too much copy.
- Haven't we gotten beyond the ALL CAPS full name thing in (de-) personalizing our offers??
- Use it sparingly, not every time I log in.
- It's brilliant.
Now, I already know that you're thinking two things.
First, you're worried that my boss, Tim, will tear me a new one for spending 3/7 of my time (check out the tabs) on non-work-related internet surfing. Thanks for the concern, but he actually encourages us to use social media, as it will play a big role in the future of marketing.
The second thing you're thinking is, "How can she have 75% of her criticism be negative and yet say it's brilliant? Is she taking Will Ferrell's crazy pills?"
Here's why it's brilliant:
- I took the time to read it.
Do you know how hard it is to get people to read your marketing messages? Very hard. I will clarify, though - the IDEA is brilliant. The execution sucks.
Are you "helpfully interrupting" your members
Here's a shout out to three credit unions that are innovating online.
Southern California's First Entertainment Credit Union is about to launch a new microsite on June 23, 2008. From the looks of the teaser intro, this is not your basic amateur web video production. It features beautifully produced video with an intriguing storyline brought to life by terrific actors. I can't wait to follow this site after the official launch.
I am big fan of First Entertainment's marketing initiatives. This is one credit union that really knows its field of membership! Considering that these members are from the entertainment business including movie studios, ad agencies and creative firms involved in radio, film, Internet and television, its no surprise that the marketing output of this credit union is wildly entertaining!
Addison Avenue's new youth-centered Addison Cafe microsite
Next up is a fresh new microsite from Northern California's Addison Avenue Credit Union. As one of the founding Zopa US partners, Addison Avenue is no stranger to innovation. This is how Addison Avenue describes its new online venture, "Designed with young adults in mind. The site has products relevant to the needs of that age group and even has a blog that discusses finances in a relevant, real-life way."
America First adds product ratings and reviews to its website
Michigan's (whoops!) Utah's America First Credit Union is the first financial institution that I have run across that has added product ratings and reviews to its website. This is brilliant! Obviously, America First has taken a page out of the playbook of successful online retailers such as Amazon and Apple. This is a brave direct feedback loop that other credit unions are unlikely to follow right away. I can hear the collective credit union masses gasping as they think to themselves, "What if we get a low rating or a bad review on one of our products?"
I bet the folks at America First are thinking, "If we get a bad review, we'll just have to improve our products and services."
Doug True from FORUM Solutions had an excellent guest post on Open Source CU yesterday calling out risk-adverse credit unions. I agree with Doug, but I am also encouraged by these fresh examples and others that I stumble upon daily.