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So You Launched a New Product—Now What?

July 2017: Vol 40 No 7
Mallory Wilkerson
Three key PR strategies to implement so you don't get lost in the shuffle

Blue banner with the word “Testimonials” and speech bubbles representing consumer reviewsFrom omnichannel digital banking and multifactor authentication to voice-enabled technology and machine learning, innovation is now inevitable. The new generation of credit union members demand better and more advanced products than ever before, but introducing new products and services can be costly and time-consuming. So how do you get the most out of your new offering? How do you highlight it in a way that doesn’t get lost in the shuffle?

Successfully introducing a new product or feature to your members requires strategic planning as well as a solid public relations program—with an emphasis on outgoing news, thought leadership and promoting member testimonials.

Distributing News

One essential way to promote your credit union and tell current and prospective members about new products is through simply sharing the news through news releases. New releases must not only explain what the new offering is, but also include a compelling reason for why members would want to use it. What is the value? What problem does it solve for them? How does it make their lives easier? The news should be distributed directly to members, either through direct email, newsletters, the homepage of your credit union’s website, social media, etc. Following the official product launch, it is important to keep your members up to date on enhancements made to the product or new features added.

Thought Leadership Articles and Blogs

It is crucial that credit unions position themselves as thought leaders within their local community as well as in the industry as a whole. Consumers today are more likely than ever to switch financial institutions, and they typically do so for better and more convenient products and services. As such, it is critical that they are aware of your credit union. By publishing informative and educational articles in both local publications as well as a company blog, you can attract and engage more members. Do not overlook the importance of being viewed as an inventive expert. If your new offering is a rewards-based checking account, be seen commenting on the adverse effects of fee-based banking. If you are offering a new mortgage program, be the first to bring your members news on the housing market. Publish articles and blogs that cover relevant and timely issues related to your new product. And don’t forget social media to further extend your reach: Re-posting articles can help ensure greater visibility.

Member Testimonials

Finally, to strengthen your image with both prospective and current members, credit unions must promote member reviews of the new product—something consumers trust more than advertisements. Consumers rely heavily on reviews for everything from restaurants to credit cards; therefore, positioning your product with genuine reviews will lead to more engagement. Newsletters, blogs and social media are great places to share these testimonials. Additionally, credit unions should identify unique member stories that may be of interest to a local reporter. Sharing how a member used your credit union’s new offering to improve their finances, for example, can go a long way.

With a solid PR strategy that includes regularly distributing news releases, blogging and sharing success stories from members, credit unions can better position new product offerings to get the highest visibility and engagement possible. These efforts should not replace more traditional methods of marketing and advertising, but instead, augment them to create a comprehensive campaign. Also consider leveraging additional tactics, such as hosting webinars, creating videos and short clips to demonstrate to members how new products function, or sending personalized messages to members through an automated content marketing platform. This approach can keep your credit union from getting lost in the shuffle.

Mallory Wilkerson is an account coordinator 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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