When Darden Employees Federal Credit Union ($28.8M, Orlando, FL) officially opened for business, its marketing team faced the challenge of appealing to a mass audience that had never heard of the credit union.
“We were new, so we were asking ‘How do we reach them? How do we get the message to them in a strategic way?’” says Brooke Rodriguez, the credit union’s marketing manager.
Much of the department’s original focus was on building a marketing plan from the ground up and determining the best communication channels to reach its targeted audience. For the initial launch, the credit union conducted a six-month phased campaign across Darden Restaurants’ internal communication touch points. It distributed marketing materials at the restaurants during the general managers’ kickoff meetings with floor staff. For its part, the restaurant incorporated an explanatory video into quarterly all-staff shift meetings as well as new hire orientations. It also embeds information on the credit union in new hire packets and annual open enrollment packets.
In this Q&A with Brooke Rodriguez, AVP of Marketing at Darden Employees Federal Credit Union ($28.8M, Orlando, FL), Rodriguez shares the strategy behind a successful video used to onboard new members.
Melissa Forsyth, CreditUnions.com: Did your team test the video? If so, what feedback did you get after an initial screening?
Brooke Rodriguez: Prior to launch and rollout, we held focus groups with real Darden employees with the help of Darden’s Consumer Insights (Marketing Research) team. A cross-section of employees were strategically chosen based on time on job, position, and checking vs. non-checking account users.
The sessions focused on general banking habits, product usage, importance of various service channels, awareness and perceptions of credit unions, and factors taken into consideration when choosing financial institutions.
Some of the key messages from those sessions included:
Employees have a lot of trust in Darden and pride in their employer
Employees are active bankers, most often having savings and checking and often using more than one FI
Employees are heavy users of online banking and online bill pay so these are critical services
Convenient physical branch locations are a must for cash deposits (majority of employees are tip-based)
ATM convenience is critical and employees will actively try to avoid fees
Phone support is also seen as critical, though not used often
Most employees were familiar with credit unions, but had limited understanding regarding who can join, how they are different than banks, and what would happen if they left Darden employment
Auto loans were the most desired loan product
Most appealing elements of DEFCU were access, better rates and lower fees
Primarily selected FIs based on word-of-mouth and referrals from friends and family as well as convenience
Team members often turn to managers for advice
MF: How did your team pick the items that resonate for use in the video?
BR: To help shape the focus and message of the video, we used findings from the focus groups, input from Darden leadership, generational and lifecycle research, and inherent key messages important to overcome any hesitations regarding our virtual model.
We crafted out five key messages we wanted to get across within a short overview, introductory video:
Why a credit union? Affiliation with Darden, employee benefit, another reason why “Darden is a special place to be”. This statement is part of Darden’s internal brand.
The credit union difference: Not-for-profit, serving members is top priority, lower fees, better rates on loans and savings
Once a member, always a member: We want to make sure they know membership is not conditional upon their continued employment with Darden Restaurants. We also wanted to try to reduce attrition associated with changing jobs.
Access and convenience: Surcharge-free ATMs and shared branch locations all across US, online and mobile banking, online applications and account opening. These are important points as we serve employees nationwide without physical branch locations.
Full service institution with products and services tailored specifically to Darden employee needs: Over 3,400 locations to deposit your cash tips, 24/7 bilingual phone service, employees work non-traditional hours and many are Spanish speaking.
MF: Who wrote the script for the video?
BR: Gen Y and Gen X research tells us they often rely on parents for advice regarding banking services, and Darden tells us that employees often look to their general managers for that role of providing advice and guidance. We wanted our talent to portray that role of their manager, to provide guidance and leave employees feeling empowered to take control of their financial well-being.
We worked with Darden’s multimedia team to create the script for the video. They helped coordinate selection of the director, graphic designer, filming location and editors. We went through several rounds of revisions to land on a final script, concerted with the director, drafted storyboard and held auditions for the talent.
Darden was an integral part of making the video a success. As the video would be launched nationally and be incorporated into ongoing new hire and new restaurant orientations, it was important that it was professionally produced and in-line with Darden’s internal brand and communication expectations.
MF: What reaction have you received from members and from Darden?
BR: We shared the video with our Board and executive team from Darden before finalizing production. Feedback was very positive. They felt the message was conveyed in a manner that would resonate with employees, important considerations were highlighted and that it did a great job of quickly summarizing who we are, why we are here, and how we can help team members. It also tied in with Darden’s benefits messaging and employee brand.
The ability to integrate the credit union into new hire orientation has been a key to our success. When a new member opens an account, we ask how they heard about us. Over a third of the time the answer is new employee orientation.
Watch the entire Anatomy series:
Part 1: How To Gain A New SEG Sponsor
Part 2: Onboarding Your SEG
Part 3: An Onboarding Video Strategy
Part 4: How To Pull Off A Core Conversion
Read more about Darden in the 3Q2012 edition of CUSP.