The Why and What of CUNA's CU Awareness Initiative

Posted by Laurie Okawa-Moore
on "July 02, 2018 8:36 am"

Funding for the 100 million dollar initiative will ensure sustainability.

Awareness initiative will ‘hammer home’ membership eligibility

CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle introduced the “why” of the Creating Awareness Initiative Friday at the CUNA America’s Credit Union Conference. During Saturday’s general session, attendees learned the “what.”

The initiative is a different, modern, and new way to present credit unions to consumers, says Douglas Kiker, CUNA chief strategic communications officer. The ultimate goal is spontaneous recall of credit unions when people make major financial decisions, he says.

Research will inform the project so the credit union message gets “to the right people at the right time with the right message on the right device.”
“We need to hammer home over and over again—eligibility—that people are able to join a credit union,” Kiker says. “This is the table stakes; the one that really matters.”

The second myth the initiative aims to eliminate is that “consumers still view us as parochial, mom-and-pop, and lacking in scale, breadth, and scope to provide full-fledged financial services,” he says.
What makes the initiative different is that it’s:

  • Digital: Cost-effective, flexible, and can break through the clutter.
  • Highly targeted: Sophisticated knowledge about consumers.
  • Measurable: Know what’s working and what’s not in real time.

Consumers will see the message wherever they are: first thing in the morning, during their commute, weekday afternoon at work, and evening leisure.

In a later breakout session, Just Media’s Brian Kelleher compared the initiative’s hyper-targeted approach against that of banks’ “spray and pray” marketing with big dollars and brand equity. The feedback loop of execution, evaluation, and optimization will capture what resonates with consumers, from A/B message testing to graphics and visual elements. Additionally, more research is in the field to reveal which audiences are most receptive to the messaging on credit unions and how best to reach them.

To learn more about the “Open Your Eyes” campaign go to and use the password “openyoureyes” to access the messaging guide.