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For the Long Run: Leveraging Reflexive Opportunities

Your credit union can build life-long member loyalty by creating opportunities for members to reflect on their relationship with the credit union. These “reflexive opportunities” tap into members’ self-identity, enhance defining moments, and support life-changing events that bind members more closely to your credit union brand.

Executive Summary

When Filene fellow Hope Schau was nearly twenty years old, several employees of her family’s credit union arrived at her home bearing casseroles and sat with Hope’s mom to help her complete the paperwork required when someone dies. This moment of empathy from credit union folks impressed Hope so much that she recounts this story often, and it has become a key moment of reflexivity that connected her identity and life journey to her credit union. This moment shaped her work as a leading scholar of marketing for credit unions.

In an effort to maintain engagement with customers, firms are paying closer attention to consumption journeys and how brands contribute not only to what people do, but also to who they are. The extent to which a consumer’s identity and sense of self in the world can come to overlap with a brand increases perceived value and connection with that brand.

What is the research about?

This research demonstrates the ways in which credit unions can engage with members that leads to increased value of the credit union in the context of the member’s full life. Although engagement with members is typically motivated by selling products, we know that consumer journeys continue after the initial purchase. Aiming to support members through their consumption journeys has the benefit of creating more value for members and credit unions. 

Part two of this research brief includes an exercise that will help your team change their view of the relationship with members across their lifespans and discover opportunities to reach members in times of need to champion their financial evolution over time. Once activated, this approach also provides opportunities for members to reflect on their own financial development within the context of their relationship with the credit union.

Rather than communicating simply to attract new members, the workshop will help you engage with members in a meaningful way over their lifespan to help them reflect on their financial lives and identity within the context of their relationship with your organization. The workshop will help you start building a strategy for initiating reflexive opportunities for your credit union by:

  • Narrowing your membership to focus on a specific segment(s) of your credit union’s member base
  • Mapping out and choosing moments for cultivating reflexive opportunities
  • Selecting touchpoints for engaging with targeted members

Filene thanks its members and Inner Circle sponsors for helping support this research from the Center for Consumer Decision Making.

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