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Inside Marketing: 10 Steps to a Great Grand Opening

June 2014 – Vol: 37 No. 6

Meridian Trust FCU made a big impact when it opened a new branch.

Meridian Trust FCU’s new branch in Scottsbluff, Neb.June 19, 2014

Credit Union Management’s online-only “Inside Marketing” column runs the third Thursday of the month.

When $289 million/22,200-member Meridian Trust Federal Credit Union, Cheyenne, Wyo.,  opened a new branch in Scottsbluff, Neb., in October 2013, the entire credit union worked to make it a success.

This is how we did it:

  1. We  contacted the local newspaper about doing a special news story on the opening. The result was a nice article.  
  2. We staged a Facebook campaign that had people “guess” where our new office was going to be, and providing hints over a series of several days. We gave away prizes, including a hammock for the top prize, to the winners.
  3. We sent direct mail to existing members near the new branch (based on their ZIP codes) to have a sneak peak and gave away special prizes just for them.  
  4. We also sent one direct mail piece to non-members announcing the opening and highlighting our checking account product, consumer loans at a lower rate, and specialty clubs. In addition, we sent invites to the grand opening event to the area’s businesses and organizations.
  5. Our grand opening day was open to the public with food, branded prizes, a dollar machine, bounce house and a ribbon cutting with the Chamber of Commerce.
  6. To keep the excitement of the new branch, we did “Fun Fridays” after the grand opening for five weeks. Activities included pizza or subs and a chance to win a fun prize pack each week. One week the fun prize pack had movie tickets, popcorn and soda.
  7. We designed specific in-branch marketing materials for potential members.
  8. We sent press releases on everything from how it was decided to locate the branch in Scottsbluff to announcing the grand opening and introducing the branch team.
  9. We developed talking points for staff about why we choose Scottsbluff as our newest location and what the heck is a credit union anyway.
  10. Our new branch was opened to serve an “underserved” area. We reached out to school, hospital, and city employees. We met with the dealerships to establish relationships.

Meridian Trust FCU’s branch grand opening included a money machine and mascot visit.

There is more to just opening the doors to a new facility. A grand opening means becoming a part of the community. Above all, we made sure that we planned our success so that we are there for the duration and not just for a few years. To-date, our small facility has grown to $6 million in loans in nine months.

CUES member Kimberley A. Withers is president/CEO of Meridian Trust Federal Credit Union, Cheyenne, Wyo.

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