The Walt Disney Company is a multinational conglomerate with business stakes in a variety of fields, including media networks, parks and resorts, interactive media, and production and distribution studios. This can present a challenge to Partners Federal Credit Union ($1.5B, Burbank, CA), a SEG-based credit union that’s sole sponsor is the Mouse.
“We serve all the various subsidiaries of the Walt Disney Company and their family members,” says Mike Terzian, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Partners. “And if you think about that, it’s hundreds and hundreds of companies.”
The credit union’s primary markets include southern California cities such as Burbank, Los Angeles, and Anaheim, as well as central Florida markets such as Orlando, Cape Canaveral, and Tampa.
Marketing to these disparate areas may seem a challenge, which is why approximately three-and-a-half years ago the credit union grew and redeveloped its integrated marketing campaigns.
The credit union would run these campaigns — which tie together a credit union product with an asset of the Walt Disney Company, such as intellectual property or parks and resorts — at most once or twice a year, with varying degrees of success.
Today, however, “not a week goes by where we are not supporting the Walt Disney Company in some way, shape, or form,” says the credit union’s assistant vice president of marketing, Royce Ngiam. “We work closely together to find out what is important to them, so that we can offer corporate support and spread the message.”
These promotions can take different forms, depending on what Partners’ sponsor group wants to promote, and the credit union typically runs between six and eight each year. Currently, the credit union is running a promotion involving an ugly holiday sweater. In partnership with Freeform (formerly ABC Family), each person who opens a new membership, refers a new member, or completes a loan application will receive an ugly holiday sweater.
Other join, refer, or apply promotions have included giveaways of a “Shadowhunters” branded hat, as well as dinosaur slippers inspired by the release of “The Good Dinosaur.” In addition, the credit union has tied in different products. Recently, members who used their credit card were entered for a chance to win a stay at the Disney resort, Aulani; and in November of 2015, soon after the EMV liability shift, Partners entered those who used their Partners EMV chip cards for a chance to win a Playmation Marvel’s Avengers Starter Pack.
In addition to the aforementioned promotions, Partners has also run campaigns for the movie "Moana," as well as the ABC show "Designated Survivor."
Tie-ins for integrated campaigns are primarily property driven, says Ngiam, though its current promotion is seasonal as well. As for how the credit union determines the ultimate prize is a little more creative and collaborative.
Partners has historically supported Freeform’s 25 Days of Christmas promotion, though not always with an ugly sweater giveaway. That’s new.
'Tis the season for ugly sweaters.
“We came up with it over lunch,” Ngiam says. “We were talking about ugly sweaters with the Freeform team, and realized why don’t we just give those away?”
For each of these campaigns, the credit union measures its own success in terms of production, member engagement, and corporate support to the Walt Disney Companies.
Production is defined by new memberships, referrals, or loan applications filled out as a result of these campaigns. For chief marketing officer Terzian, he would be disappointed if the credit union failed to bring in more than 1,500 members with each promotion. For example, during the Aulani promotion, the credit union saw a 45% increase in credit card applications.
In terms of engagement, the credit union has done a better job in tracking how much exposure each campaign brings to the credit union by tracking impressions across all channels, including its Facebook and YouTube pages. According to Terzian, the credit union tries to hit a minimum of one million impressions on each campaign.
With each campaign, Partners has used digital media as another channel to get its word out. To coincide with each campaign, the credit union produces short, tongue-in-cheek videos for its YouTube and Facebook pages.
“Like Disney, we are in the business of storytelling,” Terzian says. “We try to tell a story through our campaigns.”
Each video requires somewhere between 10-14 hours of production — 99% of which is done in house — though some may require even more time. For example, in support of the new Star Wars movie, “Rogue One,” Partners created a two-part video using Legos.
“There’s laser blasters and fire so it took longer,” Ngiam says. “It’s funny: our president came by to see us at 10 o’clock on a Tuesday and said, ‘Why is everybody building Legos?’”
Of course, other credit unions don’t have the Walt Disney Company as a sponsor group. But, says Ngiam, that fact doesn’t make Partners is any more creative or technically proficient than any other credit union looking to jumpstart similar campaigns.
Rather, Partners succeeds by showing support of its members’ values.
“Our members are working on 25 Days of Christmas and “Moana,” he says. “That’s the secret to our success. We ask them what’s important to them and then we just go out there and help support and spread that message.”