Leaders Credit Union brought its video production in-house less than four years ago and now produces cost-effective marketing that reaches a wide audience.
Videos posted in the virtual world have helped the credit union raise money for causes in the real one, including more than $10,000 for an organization that supports women in becoming financially strong, emotionally balanced, and self-efficient.
CU QUICK FACTS
Leaders Credit Union
HQ: Jackson, TN
Data as of 06.30.19
12-MO SHARE GROWTH: 15.9%
12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 14.7%
When Leigh Anne Bentley joined the marketing team at Leaders Credit Union ($435.7, Jackson, TN) three years ago, she joined a department that was quickly strengthening its agency credentials.
Before joining Leaders, Bentley and Leaders marketing specialist Janet Wylie had each logged time at local ad agencies bringing their talent and resources with them. Wylie brought with her proficiency in graphic design, photography, and video production. The duo used their experience and expertise to bring creative production — including all video production — in-house at the Volunteer State cooperative.
Today, the credit union’s own marketing department shoots, edits, and otherwise produces all commercials, branding videos, and product tutorials. This internal control has allowed Leaders to better manage its branding standards as well as generate thousands of impressions, comments, and shares in a more economical fashion than outsourcing permits.
In this Q&A, Bentley, the credit union’s chief marketing officer, discusses where video fits into Leaders’ overall marketing plan, the cost and resources required to run in-house production, speed to market, best practices, and more.
Why did Leaders decide to move video production in-house?
Leigh Anne Bentley, Chief Marketing Officer, Leaders Credit Union
Leigh Anne Bentley: We had the talent in the credit union and the capability to do it. Janet [Wylie] and I have an ad agency background, so our department runs like an in-house agency. We do all our graphic design, photography, video production, media buys, strategic planning, and more. There are so many tools available today to help with video production that we were able to easily, and cheaply, bring those in-house and produce things faster.
It’s great that we’re able to control our production and publishing, plus we know our brand and know how to communicate following our standards.
What is the full scope of your video production?
LAB: We produce television commercials, community- and brand-focused videos for social media, tutorials, videos for our SEG partners, and Facebook Live posts. We use a mix of our own video, stock video, and software simulations through Adobe Captivate, which we use for creating eLearning content; incorporating our brand elements when possible.
We also run contests for members to submit videos and post those as well. That’s been great for social media engagement.
Is video more effective than other forms of social media postings?
LAB: With the amount of data we have now, we can really see how different social media posts perform.
We’ve seen that text without graphics performs a certain way. If you add a graphic, performance is better. Add a moving graphic, and performance is even better than that. Adding video takes it even further.
We’ve found that video is the most effective, and cost effective, way to use our social media. Video helps us broaden our organic reach, increase our member engagement, and enhance our brand recognition.
What specifically do you produce for social media that performs well?
LAB: We have several different video types that we rotate through on social media. They’re not the traditional 30-second spot and can be longer than what you’d see in a traditional format. You can find most of them on our YouTube channel or on Facebook.
We create videos around holidays — such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Mother’s and Father’s Day. We create videos showcasing our brand and company culture. We have also used video in conjunction with local non-profits to tell their story and film some of their community work. This past Mother’s Day, we surprised the founder of the Dream Center of Jackson, a home for women who need a second chance in life, with Mother’s Day cards written by many of the women who’d spent time there. Unlike a simple post, video allowed us to capture her essence and what she meant to other people.
On Mother’s Day 2019, Leaders posted a video honoring the founder of the Dream Center of Jackson. In addition to reaching more than 15,000 people with its video, Leaders asked viewers to donate to the center and helped raise more than $10,000.
Is video production cost effective?
LAB: We spend time on video production, but we don’t spend as much money on video as we do on traditional marketing.
The Tools Of The Trade
Anyone can use an iPhone to shoot video, but Leaders also owns video production equipment. Here’s how the credit union makes its movie magic:
Camera: Canon 5D Mark III
Lenses: Canon & Sigma prime lenses
Microphone: Sennheiser Lapel Mic
Editing Software: Final Cut Pro
Other: Tripod, Crane Stabilizer
When we’re talking about commercial production, we use stock video and add music and voiceovers. We can do those quickly, and we’re proud of the quality. We’ve invested in equipment and software, for sure, but video capture and editing is more accessible than ever before. Everybody has an iPhone that can shoot video; you don’t need a huge, expensive, high-definition camera with a boom mic or storyboards like you did before. In my agency days, we planned for months in advance before starting on actual production. Now, if we have a concept, then we can roll with it the same week if needed. It’s all about creativity, capability, and capacity.
For us, we spend the most time in pre-production. For example, we had to coordinate the cards and the surprise for the Mother’s Day video. We filmed it one afternoon using two cameras and spent the next day editing the whole thing into a four-minute video. It was ready to publish on day three.
Do you have a video production calendar? What is your production process?
LAB: Our marketing department consists of marketers and business development staff who meet weekly to talk content or priorities. For videos we know ahead of time that we’re making, like Mother’s Day or Christmas, we’ll brainstorm new ideas for those holidays. With our non-profits, we come up with an idea to get their message out to a wide audience and then co-brand with that.
That said, not all video needs to be produced. We take advantage of Facebook Live at events. It’s the easiest way to take video.
How do you use video to give back to the community?
LAB: In the past, we focused on fun, heart-filled videos tied to certain holidays. For this year’s Mother’s Day video, that I referenced earlier, we encouraged the community to donate in honor of the woman who runs the Dream Center, and matched the first $5,000. We raised more than $5,000 in the first few days, which meant the Dream Center received more than $10,000 in donations.
We have also worked with local non-profits to create videos to show at their events. This includes our Red Sofa Selfie tour for the American Heart Association. We followed a red sofa around the community for two months and took footage of various stories, including some from our staff. The video with our co-branding was shown in front of a huge crowd at the Go Red for Women event. We have also partnered with The Jackson Symphony on community-based videos for use on social media. Lastly, we have created videos to show our appreciation to various groups, such as teachers.
Watch the credit union’s video for the American Heart Association.
How do you define success?
LAB: We see success in the positive response from community partners, the engagement we achieve on social media, and the reach we achieve for our brand. We have shown our videos on TV, at local stadiums and gyms on jumbotrons, at local non-profit events, on social media — both our own and our partners — and in email blasts to a target audience. Having the capability to create professional videos in-house with the right talent and resources gives us the flexibility to produce what we need and have a much greater impact on our marketing.
What are some best practices for a credit union looking to investment in video?
LAB: Don’t stress over it too much. Video doesn’t need “high production value” to work. Shooting on an iPhone works; using the editing software that comes free on your computer works.
Watch tutorials on Lynda.com or YouTube. There’s helpful content out there for someone just getting started.
Then, just start. Make it a priority to integrate more video into your marketing efforts. It can be high cost, sure, but it doesn’t have to be. Based on the tools available, a credit union just needs the capacity and willingness to invest in products, programs, and time.