Posts Tagged ‘Change Everything’

William Azaroff is Changing Everything

October 2, 2008

CU SymposiumLive blogging of William’s talk to the Partnership Symposium in Indianapolis.

[Brent Dixon recorded this session on video here.]

In Canada, we do things a little bit differently.

33% of Canadians view the environment and global warming as the most important issues affecting the world today.

Vancity members represent 5% of discretionary spending in BC.

Vancity has a role to play in the social economy, and has a chance to influence.

Approx. 30% of not-for profits in their region bank with Vancity CU. (We have opportunity to do more with this.)

Dark green consumer segment – 16% of their member base

Dark green is a psychographic segment. William feels there is opportunity that 30-40% dark green members make up Vancity.

Vancity used to do generic advertising and branding. Rebranded effort shows their personality/values, uses humor.

Billboard with solar panels – dark green consumers get it.

High interest savings account – part of it funds a scholarship that gives 200% to very low income people. Message to world – the account that helps fight poverty.

Magnet Marketing – put a stake in the ground with who they are. If you’re not comfortable with that, you are welcome to leave.

Change Everything – online community to engender change, personal and social, in Vancouver and BC

Has become a resource for people who want to live more sustainably.

Message: no reason why a car loan can’t change more than just your car

Snow storm hit Vancouver in Nov 2006: People organized to help the homeless through the Change Everything blog. Press loved it; big earned media. Heartfelt testimonials poured in.

Bike share program: Take it, ride it, pass it on. People kept honest via online community. Front page of Vancouver Sun (which you can not buy.) Huge PR event.

Results: 125 people per day; 1200 visits per day
Registrations: 162% increase
media value: $50k+ (which is half of the original cost of program)

bike share:
registrations: 7/day; 95 day
media value: $175k+
ROI: 300%
bikes returned (and donated) 28 out of 45

Vancity CU: 2nd most trusted business operating in Vancouver.

Number one trusted financial institution.

Q&A with Ron:
What are internal discussions like? marketing? senior management?
A: Willingness to try new things. There isn’t always time to try new things. How do we balance trying new things vs. doing what works.

At senior management, no one is questioning this brand positioning, have been through that. Crystalizing what they can do, and be strategic focused, biggest impact. Debates about where is the focus, how to focus. Prioritization, being disciplined.

Q: Top priorities for next 12-18 months?
A: 1.) Internal- intranet development. Get info to the employees when they need it. 2) Online banking development to catch up and also lead. 3.) Other opportunities in social media to help business; help members connect to staff and other members

Q: do you manage and create a social media strategy?
A: Board just had a retreat in rundown area (not fancy place)- went straight to heart of what ails Vancouver. They are coming out with: What is Vancity in 10 years? Line up social media strategy with organization goals. So that William’s group is not isolated.

Social media strategy comes from organizational strategy.

Q: Now values are coming into Vancity’s product. How does social media strategy fit?
A: Differentiation. Product starts with being competitive. How do we make it our own? But then social aspect fits in addition. Likelihood to try measure is very very high. Members get to say where the charitable part goes to.

Q: Measure customer engagement?
A: Need to get better here. Newly formed group from several different departments. Critical to work on this. We know how to measure traditional marketing. Need to work on definition to get on same page.

Q: from audience: attaching to existing social initiatives in community?
A: Vancity was already partners with them, but just didn’t know it. Couldn’t have done BikeShare if not partnered with 4 local orgs that dovetailed. Partner with lots of folks now.

Q: from Ginny: Vancity has a vision. If members don’t share it, too bad for them. What about employees and board members in regards to this? Hiring/recruiting process?
A: Board members: definitely. 22 people ran for 9 slots. Because org is really making change, people want to be a part of that. Members really want Vancity to do even more for environment and poverty. Employees: looking for those whose values resonate with Vancity. HR understands our values.

Q: (From Jeff Stephens) Did Ron really invent the term Magnet Marketing?
A: Yes, he was referring to refrigerator magnets.

Q: If you went to another CU? How/where would you start?
A: Won’t go anywhere else. He realizes that at Vancity, he has become a values snob. He would have a tough time working somewhere where values weren’t the driver of the organization. There must be commitment from the top, that William could help bring it to life, in a way that is measured in his performance plan. Has to come from the top down, starts with CEO and board, and be organization wide.

Congratulations Credit Unions, on a Century of Service

March 12, 2008

I have the great honor and pleasure of talking to credit union professionals all over the nation. The subject of the proud history of CUs, holds special meaning to me because I had worked with the movement for about ten years before I learned ANYTHING about its incredible history. I certainly had no idea that the movement started in my backyard, a hop skip and jump across the border, in Manchester, New Hampshire.

I gave a talk on social media and World 2.0 this morning to a group of about forty credit union marketing professionals from Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire at the CU League’s headquarters in Marlborough, Mass. I asked about the movement’s founding, and it was wonderful to get a detailed answer. In our presence was a representative of that very first CU, Andrea Pruna of St. Mary’s Bank. Not only did she know the date by heart (November 24, 1908), but she let us know about a wonderful section of their web site devoted to this, the Centennial Year of Credit Union service. I encourage everyone to check out Celebrating 100 Years for a terrific look at the amazing road we’ve traveled so far.

This is one of the reasons I’m especially excited that BarCampBank NewEngland will be held in America’s Credit Union Museum on April 5. The museum is the actual house where St. Mary’s Bank first began operations 100 years ago, out of the home of Attorney Joseph Boivin, who served as the CU’s President. If you listen very carefully, you may hear the whispers of the generations that have preceeded you when you stand in the parlor of the building.

Shout-outs to so many of the fabulous credit union marketers who came today. Thanks to Jon Reske and Anne Pinkerton from UMassFive College FCU, Mark Vautour from Telephone Workers CU, Deena Bernier from NMTW Community CU, and Debra Perrin from Southern Mass CU. I’m not good with names, so I haven’t remembered those who I met for the first time, but thank you also. It was fun that we had four one-billion-dollar CUs represented as well, Greylock FCU in the Berkshires, HarborOne CU in the South Boston area, DCU of the Worcester area, and Navigant CU in RI. Thank you to Rob Kimmett for organizing a great event and inviting me, and it was wonderful to catch up with CU whirlwind Bonnie Doolin.

My presentation today included demonstrating and explaining Twitter, Facebook, blogging, and showed examples from Shari Storm and the Verity CU team, William Azaroff of Vancity CU and Change Everything, Ginny Brady, board member of UFirst FCU with the Boardcast, and Tim McAlpine of Currency Marketing with Larissa Walkiw, spokesperson for Young and Free Alberta, and her infamous Credit Union Difference video part one, currently at 16,228 views. On the topic of Facebook, I have started writing a paper on the Facebook as Marketing Engine and plan on publishing excerpts to this blog. For those interested in checking out twitter, here’s the one-page PDF of Twitter Tips.

I also touched on Peer-to-Peer Lending (P2P Lending), Prosper’s amazing growth rate, and how CUs can participate by getting in touch with Doug True, SVP of Lending, at Forum CU. Doug has been instrumental in having P2P Lending company Zopa partner with CUs to offer NCUA-insured loans and investments.


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