Marketing Strategy

Building an Affinity for your Credit Union

We're the ProCon Group, a leader in board governance, management team building and strategic planning. About five years ago, we noticed with the continued movement toward community charters, there were three questions that credit unions needed to answer in order to grow. Who are you for? What is it you really do? And how are you different? Once we started really, deeply dissecting these questions with credit unions, we noticed an increased ability and propensity for them to gain market share into the future.

For the past three years, we've been partnering with Scott Cooper (see resume in the About Us section) and KW2 Advertising to help our clients build differentiated brand platforms, create stronger growth, create test and learn marketing programs based on statistics versus hope, develop stronger marketing communications, web sites and social media programs. We have a proven process to uncover your story and develop a differentiating brand platform that sparks a new way of doing business across your organization - product development, web, call center, marketing, and operations. We'd love to talk to you, and discuss with you the three questions that may change the way you think about and grow your credit union.

"Great marketing companies across all categories think in terms of value added versus transactions, target market segments versus being all things to all people, and creating a strong differentiation versus simply being open for business. The problem is it's hard to get there. You have to engage and listen to members and non-members, build around a core competency and above all be mindful that successful brands pay attention to the of the art of limitation."

Scott Cooper

Affiliated Partner, The ProCon Group

"Credit unions have a huge advantage over banks - they can honestly say they have their members' best interest at their core of everything they do. What a powerful tool. The communication sweet spot lies at the intersection of what members really want and need, and what they can find only through their credit union."

Jennifer Savino

Vice President, KW2

Partnering with our impressive team of credit union experts, marketing visionaries and creative magicians is the first step in assessing your credit union's readiness for growth. Our experience, expertise and insight are available to you through several levels of consulting services, all developed to help your credit union grow and thrive.

1. The Comprehensive Plan

(Cost varies depending on your needs)

We start by talking with you about your credit union, so we can learn about your opportunities and areas of concern. After we get to know you better, we'll provide a comprehensive plan for improvement, and a roadmap to get there. This could result in deliverables in one or more of the following areas:

  1. Bullet Research - and analytic capability

  2. Bullet Brand platform and message strategy

  3. Bullet Marketing strategy and objectives

  4. Bullet Web and digital strategy and tactics

  5. Bullet Communication strategy and tactics

2. Marketing Audit

We'll perform a comprehensive review of your marketing department, looking at strategic direction and tactical execution. Working closely with your executive team, we provide analysis and directional recommendations in the following areas.

  1. BulletBrand position and message strategy

  2. BulletOverall marketing strategy and objectives

  3. BulletResearch, evaluation and analytic capability

  4. BulletExternal marketing research and internal data resources

  5. BulletWeb and digital strategy

  6. BulletAdvertising, PR, media effectiveness, promotion, CRM, events, in-branch point of sale

  7. BulletStaffing and organizational readiness

The ProCon Group

The ProCon Group is a member of Third Way Alliance, an international consortium of credit union advisors in the U.S., United Kingdom, Ireland, and Australia

For more information on The ProCon Group, LTD

606 Ondossagon Way

Madison, WI 53719

Phone 608-239-3449



Leadership Institute

The research philosophy of ProCon revolves around three beliefs and resulting methodologies:

1.Research should follow a continuum of insights and strategy. We believe strongly that the team doing the research should be part of the team creating the strategy - that too often the two are not connected by strategists who understand and help drive the research and researchers who understand and help drive the strategy the insights are intended to affect.

2.Research should overcome the limited budget. We've never worked with a client that has either unlimited time or budget. We believe strongly in focusing the research toward solutions based on a couple of plausible hypothesis supported by foundations around defined primary target markets and key strategy components. If this isn't done, the research findings are often too vague and broad dealing with aggregates and normalizing the findings.

3.Research should follow a consumer behavior model. Behavior is what brand platforms and marketing communication influence. We believe strongly that research should provide insights that drive a unified brand positioning based on understanding the drivers of behavior.

All three of these philosophies are present in the following KW2 research proposal.

Brand Platform Research

The following provides a summary chart of the four-step research process.

ProCon relies on a research model that is steeped in consumer behavior. The research is developed to compare and contrast target market segments (attitudinal, demographic, business size, new/existing customers, etc.) and the relationship between awareness, knowledge, attitudes & perceptions, initial trial and loyalty relative to key competitive offerings. We use the knowledge that comes from looking at the inter-relationship of these pieces to help drive the fundamental marketing decisions around:

  1. BulletWhich target market segments hold the best potential and why.

  2. BulletDetermining marketing objectives and communication objectives.

  3. BulletFinding strategies to best execute the two bullets above.

The chart below provides an overview of this process.

  1. Bullet Quantitative Projects: ProCon regularly teams with Scott and MEg and Hartwig Huemer on quantitative research projects. Hartwig is the principal of Decision Support Inc., ( )a predictive modeling firm working with large (Microsoft, GM, Kraft Foods) mid-sized (Rayovac, Trek, Good Humor-Breyers), along with various size companies in a diverse range of industries (service, school districts, commercial real estate, software, etc.). Hartwig has a masters in applied mathematics from the University of Graz—Austria, a MS degree in computer science as a Fulbright scholar and an MBA in finance from the University of Wisconsin. Scott and Hartwig have had a successful and productive partnership since the founding of MEg.

  2. BulletQuantitative capabilities include segmentation studies, tracking studies (awareness, attitude, perceptions, and behavior), market sizing, communication effectiveness, message strategy, and predicative analysis.

  3. BulletWe use a combination of consumer and B2B panels, trade show opportunities, telephone interviews, Internet surveys, mall and store intercepts, mail surveys to collect information in quantitative surveys.

  4. BulletAll coding, programming, cleaning of data, analytics and the final reports are done by exclusively by MEg and Decision Support Inc.

  5. Bullet Qualitative Research -- One-On-One Interviews, focus groups, and ethnographies: MEg and KW2 use multiple techniques including focus groups, ethnographies and Small Talk Interviews. The goal of all three is an in-depth interview process using a variety of techniques to discover attitudes, perceptions, decision drivers, behaviors, fears, hopes, needs and wants of customers and prospects. Used both as a stand alone and in conjunction with follow-up quantitative research, the qualitative research is driven by discussion that evokes story-telling from the respondents with the goal of layering, the uncovering of successive feelings, emotions and truths one topic at a time. The stated objective is to uncover a rich depth of information that uncovers strategic implications directly affecting the client's marketing objectives - be it new customer acquisition, lapsed customer acquisition, increased use from existing customers or retention strategies.

  6. Bullet Our staff conduct all interviews.

  7. Bullet Video Reports: A unique process of brining the research back to the client involves filming or recording all interviews. The body of work is then edited into a 30-minute summary of the key findings and insights that lead to strategies. The benefit of this process is the ability of the client and staff to actually hear the customers speaking versus simply reading a report. We've found this process to be significantly more effective in forming a common language within companies and for making a lasting impact on both management and staff.

  8. Bullet All final reports (including the video reports mentioned above) are written and authored by ProCon.


A one-size-fits-all marketing plan? Never.


You need a distinctive approach that's tailored to fit your market, size, charter and existing member base. We've worked with numerous credit unions to create strategies that help win market share in their unique geographic areas. Starting with an understanding of who they are, and what challenges they face, we've implemented brand messaging, research strategies and differentiating factors, all without undermining the strength of their existing brand. A few credit unions we've worked with:

Honda Federal Credit Union

  1. Bullet Honda Federal Credit Union

  2. Bullet Goal: Use research to determine the viability of growing a secondary target market and also how best to position Honda Federal Credit Union (HFCU) for this market from a product, distribution, operations and communications messaging standpoint.

  3. Bullet Quantitative Survey: Segmentation and brand positioning tracking study against a secondary target - family members of Honda employees. The research answered the questions of existing size, total potential, propensity to use the credit union, differences in needs from employees, differences in perceptions, and specifics around whether this target needed additional branches, knowledge of existing products and services and how best to reach and communicate with the target.

  4. Bullet One-On-Ones: Message Strategy research. A continuation of the above.

  5. Bullet Quantitative Tracking Study: awareness, attitude and behavior. A continuation of the above.

  6. Bullet The work, for the first time, provided an in-depth analysis of who family members were, their current worth to the organization, their potential worth to the organization and the similarities and differences in terms of this target's banking needs (branch locations, service levels, awareness and knowledge of services, use of services, and communication strategies).

  7. Bullet Goal: Determine who uses, perceptions towards and satisfaction around the HFCU Call Center.

  8. Bullet Quantitative Survey: Call Center satisfaction survey. Once the positioning was established for the credit union, a satisfaction study was conducted to determine if the Call Center lined up with the positioning, how it was perceived against the critical drivers of the brand positioning and the areas of strengths and weaknesses.

  9. Bullet A key learning was the fact that the Call Center, a cost, was actually a core competency of the credit union - with a much higher perception of Honda Federal Credit Union from members who used the call center versus those who did not. Additionally, the strong link between strong users of Honda’s Internet banking and users of the Call Center provided a number of strategies linking the two departments.

Tactics from the research work: HFCU realized that they needed to compete on making things easy but win on their connection as the Honda Family. The new advertising campaign highlighted both these through the use of the well-known Honda Patch worn by all Honda associates in the plant. But to really pay off the easy, HFCU knew from the branding research we did for them that the web site and the internet banking capability had to have a complete rework. KW2 redesigned the HFCU web site providing members a hassle-free online experience that matched their strong positive connection to the credit union with easier access to accounts, more innovative technology, helpful service, and easy-to-understand products.

Velocity Credit Union

  1. BulletVelocity Credit Union

  2. Bullet Goal: Gain insights and develop a strategy to significantly increase traffic and sales for the credit union in their existing marketplace.

  3. Bullet Quantitative Survey: Awareness/knowledge of products, attitudes and behavior across various segments.

  4. Bullet One-On-One interviews with members and non-members.

  5. Bullet Both the one-on-ones and the quantitative research provided the basis for a new brand platform and service orientation that included defining primary target markets based on unique attitudinal descriptors with several lifestyle/demographic segments. In addition, a strong product strategy was developed to correlate with the brand positioning and lead the new customer acquisition program. Unique products tied to a financial educational service provided uniquely different Velocity products (example: Car loans tied to assistance in getting the best price, a free checking account with help balancing when needed, a program to get new home owners into a position where they can affordably take out a home loan, etc.).

  6. Bullet PRIZM: Data base development for a new CRM program. The database is being used to determine new branch locations and for a CRM relationship marketing program aimed at increasing affinity and loyalty to the credit union.


ProCon worked with GECU on both qualitative and quantitative research developing a uniquely GECU brand platform that formed the basis for work done in their lending, product, operations and marketing communications. Working with the ProCon's research, KW2 knew that for generations, GECU's philosophy of "people helping people" resulted in a closer, more caring relationship with members. KW2 created a brand video that illustrates GECU's deeply-rooted connections with the people, community and culture of El Paso.