Thank you, Doug True, Forum Solutions, and Trabian

Symposium 2008I had the privilege of speaking to credit union professionals last week at this year’s Partnership Symposium. This unique event was hosted by Forum Solutions and Trabian. I had heard last year’s event was quite the happening, via the CU blog/twittersphere, from such sources as Trabian’s Open Source CU. In fact, last year’s event was one of the first times I learned something valuable from someone (Brent) twittering at a conference (when Shari Storm was speaking) that I wasn’t attending in person.

My presentation was on strategies for successfully building community online. In the first part of my talk, I made the case for why online community building is a natural and important extension of a credit union’s offline community. I then presented seven strategies that I’ve found to work in creating EverythingCU.com’s online community of 6404 credit union professionals, and showed ways in which credit unions are applying those same strategies in their own online community building efforts.

I enjoyed immensely the Q&A portion of the event with moderator Ron Shevlin, and loved the questions that he asked me (as well as all of the other speakers). There is only one question that I would have answered differently had I anticipated it, and that is the question, “for which CUs is online community building NOT right for?” My off-the-cuff answer was that it’s not right for CUs who don’t care about community and run their shops just like a bank. But what I should have answered is that it all depends on their members and potential members, and what online communities currently exist for those people. If there already exists an online community for a CU’s core membership, then it makes no sense to re-invent the wheel. Instead, staff of the CU should join and participate in the existing community. But if there is currently no online community for the core membership, then there is a huge opportunity for the credit union to fill the void.

My only disappointment from the week is that the internet bandwidth was not sufficient during my presentation for it to be recorded. But I have posted the slides of it here. I am gratified that Andy LaFlamme of Maine State Credit Union live blogged my talk on the CU Loop.

StretchIt was an honor to be asked to present, and a joy to reconnect with so many CU colleagues, as well as meet so many participants in the CU blog/twittersphere in person for the first time. Extra special thanks to the gracious Forum Solutions team, including Doug, Jen, Leah, Kristi, Ashli, Cameron, and Andy for taking such good care of us during our stay, and making us all feel like rock stars. The stretch limo taking me and Tim McAlpine back to the airport was an extra nice touch. (I’m sure the limo was for keynoter Tim, and I just happened to be catching a ride at the same time.)
(Photo credit: Gene Blishen)

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6 Responses to “Thank you, Doug True, Forum Solutions, and Trabian”

  1. Andy LaFlamme Says:

    Forum Solutions and Trabian certainly know how to put together quite the shindig. Your talk was awesome Morriss. You’re doing some great, engaging things with EverythingCU’s community that I think CU’s can learn from.

    I loved the “Make them the rock stars” point. You can see the effect of truly implementing this in so many places. Everything CU, Facebook, and it rang especially true while we were playing Rock Band. I think Rock Band and Guitar Hero can attribute a huge amount of success to making the players the literal “rock stars”.

    If a Credit Union could find a way to create even a fraction of that “rock star” feeling it could go a long long way.

  2. Morriss Partee Says:

    Hey Andy, great seeing you in Indy as well.

    I do think there are lessons to be learned from Rock Band/Guitar Hero. Namely, find ways to make learning fun. Let’s talk to Robbie Wright about setting up a CUSO to develop a game that is as fun as Rock Band/Guitar Hero, that teaches sound financial management principles at the same time.

    There are many ways to make members the rock stars of the credit union. You can put their names in lights (with permission of course) by featuring them in the lobby, newsletter, web site, blog, etc. Any way that you reinforce that they are the reason for the CU’s existence, that they are the owners and have a say in how the joint is run, is a way that you are treating them like the royalty that they are. People will return to where they are treated well, and if they are consistently treated well, may develop loyalty. They will avoid going where they are not treated well. This is a potential point of differentiation between banks and credit unions.

  3. Ashli Moore Says:

    It is because of you that I am posting more in the blogsphere. I admire all of the attendees in their willingness to share their ideas (good and bad) in an effort to collaborate and make things better for the member. Thanks for the syrup and I look forward to our future blogsphere conversations.

  4. Doug True Says:

    You are welcome. We appreciate your time in making the symposium all it could be. We are pleased with the symposium and we learned a great deal about how to make it even better should we do again in ’09. Stay tuned.

  5. Morriss Partee Says:

    Ashli, it was great meeting you in Indy. Thank you for adding your voice to the conversation. We need everyone’s unique perspective; the more, the better.

  6. irrigassita Says:

    I am here at a forum newcomer. Until I read and deal with the forum.
    Let’s learn!

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