Live, breathe, and understand membership’s life experiences to give them the best return on their investment possible.
Siberia isn’t your typical vacation destination. So when author and consultant Martin Lindstrom visited the region, it’s no surprise he was all business, reports FastCompany. Granted, that business consisted mainly of partying and soaking up the nightlife with a group of young Russians.
Lindstrom’s visit was really a research gathering mission designed to help reconnect his client, a vodka company, with the priorities and preferences of younger generation.
“The corporate world has lost contact with their bosses — the nameless, faceless army of consumers,” Lindstom says. “Just spending time with a niece or an uncle is not enough. Wives, good friends, and children do not count. Neither does spending a couple of hours with a focus group.”
Businesses must get beyond data points and statistics and reconnect with the experiences of real people, Lindstrom says. The best company leaders remember (or learn) what it’s like to walk in consumers' shoes, live where they live and how they live, and most importantly ... talk to them, about anything and everything.
Some actors utilize a similar style. Konstantin Stanislavski's acting method requires performers to identify as closely with the characters they’re playing as possible ... physically, emotionally, and mentally. One modern example is Daniel Day-Lewis, who lived in an isolated desert tent during the filming of There Will Be Blood, and spent three nights in a frozen cell being taunted and doused with water during the shooting of another film.
"If he was doing a scene where he was being aggressive or having a fight, he would start getting really angry a few days beforehand, and would be glaring and snarling at people on the set,” a co-worker told The Daily Mail. In short, Day-Lewis was living out the experience and perspective of another person.
When you think about it, credit unions have been embodying the “method” approach to finance for a long time. When employees in Texoma Community Credit Union saw area families lose their homes to wildfires, they identified with their need and provided gift funds to put clothes on their backs.
GTE Federal Credit Union’s “One Touch Resolution” was constructed out of empathy for the difficulties consumers experience in other business interactions, being passed from person to person without resolution.
But there's always room for improvement.
When is the last time leadership physically sat down to talk to a member about what they’re brand means to them? Or heard the excitement of young couple who have just received a mortgage for their dream home? Or seen the frustration of a member rejected for a loan because of an inability to manage credit issues? If it’s been too long to remember, there could be institutional problems not addressed or opportunities for improvement missed.
As member-owned institutions, credit unions should continue to go full "method" with their membership! (Tents and icy jail cells not required).