Shifting Gears with Lori Welder
by Lori Welder
Director of Communications

“Do More of What Makes You Happy!”

The warm weather has finally arrived, biking season is in full swing, and that makes ME happy! Warmer weather also means it is time for the Credit Union Foundation of the Dakotas’ Annual Golf Scramble which takes place August 16 in Jamestown, ND. Registration is now open, and I encourage you to register early to reserve your spot. All proceeds raised from the tournament will go directly to the CUFD to be used for high school and college scholarships, grants for financial education, and given directly to Dakota charities. There are many sponsorship opportunities available for you to consider. Hope to see you there!

Last week, I attended the ASAE Marketing, Membership and Communications Conference (MMCC) in Washington, D.C. to learn the latest in engagement, technology, and current trends in practice and on the horizon for associations. I took part in several learning labs along with 1,000 other attendees from 45 states. It was a worthwhile experience and I brought back some tools and ideas to use here at our association. Today, I’ll share a few with you.

Artificial Intelligence, connectedness and big data are here to stay!

Trackable behavior can help members make better decisions. Creepy? Kinda. Beneficial? Yes. Jennifer Golbeck, PhD, Director of the Social Intelligence Lab at University of Maryland, College Park demonstrated how data is collected by algorithms in social media and major retailers.

Have you looked at how your credit union analyzes your own data to see what you know and can learn about your members? If you aren’t, add it to your list to tackle and learn how to recognize patterns and give your members what they want.

One of the presentations that really caught my attention was by Johnny Earle, the apparel designer and Founder of Johnny Cupcakes, who shared stories in his opening keynote about he created a loyal brand following. He outlined how associations could create similar methods for building brand loyalty within their membership through social media and non-traditional marketing. His unique style of branding is all about making his customers happy and giving back to the community. I was instantly intrigued since this aligns with the credit union philosophy. Keep in mind he wasn’t speaking to an entire credit union audience, but a packed room full of association professionals. We all have the power to transform society for the better and sometimes we need to revisit why we do what we do, why it’s worth it, and how it matters.

How can we leverage tactics like that when we are promoting our individual credit unions? Create a blueprint for building brand loyalty by:

  • Creating memorable experiences. Not only on social media, but face-to-face. Association leaders must create “brand obsessiveness” where team members believe and share your values and engage with the brand on the deepest level. This also creates loyal teams and loyal members.
  • Providing real value. This can be in the form of products and services or just being there as a reminder that you’re along on your member’s journey. This can translate into free advertising through word of mouth.

For the record, I purchased one his shirts which was sent home with me in a bakery-style box with their logo (shown right). The shirt is super cool and unique, and it sports one of my favorite quotes: “Do more of what makes you happy.” On my way back to the hotel that evening, I had several people inquire about the cupcakes I had purchased which led me to share the news that I wasn’t hauling sugary goodness. Very clever marketing, free advertising for Johnny Cupcakes, and a cute shirt for myself.

Running in conjunction with the ASAE conference was the American Association of Credit Union Leagues (AACUL) Communicator’s Conference. There, I was fortunate to join fellow league communicators as we examined a case study of best practice between Advocacy and Communication teams covering the approach to advocacy messages. It was exciting to hear “CU Difference” stories from other leagues nationwide.

With that in mind, I encourage you to visit (or re-visit) the CU Social Good website and look at the impact credit unions are making in their communities. Remember to share your stories about the social impact your credit union has made. If you haven’t already created a profile, get one set up today or contact Shawn Brummer if you need a log-in or password reset. Not only can you contribute stories, you can engage in discussion and comment on other credit unions making a difference via CU Social Good social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter.

This week and always, do more of what makes you happy… which might include making other people feel happy!

Lori Welder can be reached at or 701-250-3968.



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