PR Insight: Taking Your Relationships Public

PR Insight: Taking Your Relationships PublicFour key audiences that feel the impact of your announcements 

Achieving your primary goals of member retention, acquisition, security and everything else on your plate is not easily done without establishing relationships with service and technology providers. As one of the driving forces of an effective business strategy, these connections strengthen and support your ability to continue serving your members, while realizing year-over-year growth.

Taking your relationships public through press releases, media advisories and other forms of outreach strengthens your credit union’s reputation as a leader in the industry by projecting a variety of messages onto a few key audiences, including:

  • Prospective members: One very relevant example is Apple®, which recently expanded its ApplePay™partnerships to include an even larger group of credit unions. Relationships of this nature can strengthen organic growth by attracting a younger group of members who might not have considered a credit unions without this partnership. Alternatively, credit unions may begin working with third parties that offer a unique or new type of loan product and introducing their services to a new audience within the respective community.
  • Existing members: Earlier, we said that the types of partnerships you engage in will be determined by your credit union’s overall business goals. For instance, if member security is a top priority (and for many, the rise in security breaches has made this the case), then partnerships with cybersecurity organizations should be announced locally, on your website and in member communications to reinforce the value you place on safeguarding member information. Or perhaps you recently expanded the personalization options for payments cards or introduced a prepaid card program. By announcing such initiatives, you’re making it clear that your strategies are aligned with members’ preferences.
  • Industry peers: Promoting key relationships establishes your credibility among your industry peers. You’re saying, “We’re a strong organization to work with,” which opens the door for value-added promotion. There are plenty of awards that recognize credit unions for everything from being progressive, early adopters of revolutionary technology to having outstanding member growth rates. In addition, there are a wide range of speaking opportunities to submit for at events, conferences and summits that help position you and your credit union as a thought leader. By promoting newly established partnerships, you are increasing your professional network and opening the door to a wider range of opportunities.
  • New talent: Credit unions understand the importance of having top talent and can significantly increase their appeal by announcing new relationships. For instance, there may be a recently implemented solution or system that increases teller staff efficiency by addressing an issue within a specific operation. Or perhaps there is a new, dynamic tool that strengthens your targeted marketing initiatives and increases ROI for your sales teams. These announcements communicate the emphasis your credit union places on staff support, making you a very attractive destination for top talent, while simultaneously strengthening internal practices.

New relationships are resource intensive: Meetings are held, rounds of RFPs are completed, budgets are considered—and that’s before any of the real “work” begins. With the many steps involved in the process, it is leadership’s job to remind everyone of the strategic importance. Of course, when the leadership is managing multiple initiatives, this can become a challenge as well. In this situation, it is important to have external support from someone who understands your efforts and who knows how to best communicate specific messages to the proper audiences across various channels and outlets.

Michael Touchton is an account agent at William Mills Agency, the nation’s largest independent public relations firm focusing exclusively on the financial services and technology industries. The agency can be followed on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or its blog.

CUES’ Credit Union Management’s online-only “PR Insight” column runs the first Thursday of every month.

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