Six Tips To Launch A Member Video Contest

When it comes to crafting messages that resonate, let your members do the talking.


American consumers are exposed to thousands of advertising messages every day, and companies spend billions of dollars annually to make their products as appealing as possible. In the cacophony of competing messages, how can credit unions shine?

One way is to take advantage of various channels. Another way is to put a new twist on a classic message. For its 2009 patronage dividend, Wright-Patt Credit Union did both when it asked members to submit a short video describing how the dividend impacted their lives and what it means belong to the credit union.

WPCU received 28 entries for the contest, and an online vote determined who would take home the $2,009 grand prize and $1,000 second-place prize.


The credit union's $4 million patronage dividend provided a timely reason to reach out to members and ask for their stories, but credit unions don't have to wait for a special event.

Here are six tips on how any credit union can launch a video campaign in its market.

1. Start With Intent

Wright-Patt wanted to create a platform for its members to tell their own credit union story. For the video contest, Wright-Patt had three goals:

  • Increase the fan base on its social sites.
  • Grow membership.
  • Create a viral campaign using new and social media.

2. Establish Parameters

The possibilities are nearly boundless, so help members submit focused, appropriate videos by setting some guidelines. To submit a video, Wright-Patt  members had to:

  • Be a member in good standing at least 18 years old.
  • Use branded wording or graphics (i.e., PD the Dollar Dude or the WPCU logo).
  • Limit the video length. (Wright-Patt set its threshold at two minutes; Mission Federal Credit Union limits its video campaigns to 30 seconds)
  • Upload the submission to YouTube.
  • Sign a publicity and ownership waiver (this goes for anyone appearing in the video).

3. Choose The Platform

YouTube,, Viddler, Vimeo ... which option is best for you? Wright-Patt hosted the videos on its website but did not stream them from its server. Instead, it used a third party to stream the videos from YouTube.

4. Get The Word Out

An effective campaign doesn’t have to cost a lot of money. The power of Wright-Patt’s patronage dividend contest rested in the words of the members. Likewise, the credit union took a grassroots marketing approach and relied heavily on resources such as its website, emails, newsletters, and flyers.

5. Let Others Judge

Members want in on the fun, even if they don’t submit a video. Review the submissions to ensure entrants followed the guidelines (see No. 2) and provided appropriate content, then let members vote for their favorites. Wright-Patt posted  the videos on its website for members to vote on during a two-week timeframe. It accepted one vote per day per email address and put a process in place to ensure it did not have fraudulent or duplicate voting with email bots, etc.

6. Build On The Excitement

Look for new ways to use all that great video content. Member validation is a powerful tool, use those videos as a testament to the impact the credit union is making in its market. Wright-Patt circulated its videos in several ways, including:

  • Running one as a television commercial (the credit union purchased this one from the member and removed the video from the contest).
  • Showing them at a board meeting to give the volunteers a connection to what the average members were saying about the credit union.
  • Streaming them on YouTube.
  • Broadcasting them in the branches so all members could view them;
  • Showing them at credit union functions such as the Ohio Credit Union League and Ohio Student Choice Initiative;
  • Showing them during the credit union’s yearly companywide employee meeting.

In March 2010, the Ohio Credit Union League awarded its Cutting Edge Marketing Brilliance Award to Wright-Patt Credit Union for the financial institution’s patronage dividend video contest.

In what ways will you promote your brand in the future?

This article originally ran on on July, 20, 2010.