The challenge Gil Kennedy, President and CEO of HARCO Credit Union, faced during the Covid-19 pandemic was to create his identity as the new leader of his institution. Credit Unions have long marketed themselves to their members based on their affinity connection that identifies membership and links them together. The pandemic set off a new reality – people could not meet in person nor could they visit people in local branches, both of which had traditionally been used to make their banking personal.

Understanding that communication methods are changing, Gil turned to Red Dog Agency. Having helped other clients, Red Dog knew that newer generations absorb their content by watching, not reading, and the older generations are learning new tricks like Zoom and Teams.

Red Dog’s solution was to design and implement a video strategy as the most effective way to communicate the most authentic version of Gil. But how do you use this technology to create the public identity and image to build relationships and grow membership? Red Dog utilized its six principles to developing a video-based brand awareness campaign, as follows:

Principle #1: Be yourself

Gil had unique attributes that gave him “an easy way to remember” – his name, signature bowties, colorful, animated socks and his attractive bald head. Video immediately tied these characteristics to his brand. By producing snippet videos, Red Dog was able to introduce him and let the community get to know him as a person. By showcasing his personality, Gil stands out from his competition. People choose to become members of your credit union not solely because of your products or services. They may make that choice you because they identify with and simply like YOU.

Principle #2: Think short, not long

Video, more than print, has enormous power to create a lasting impression. However, to be most effective today video must be presented in short segments or you run the risk of losing people’s attention. Red Dog edited segments of interviews between Gil and local businesspeople, health professionals, government leaders and non-profit service people as 2 – 3 minute “teasers.” This approach captures the viewer’s attention and encourages those interested in learning more to click through to the HARCO website. The teasers also provide excellent video posts for the credit union’s social marketing.

Principle #3: Your passion carries the day

Let your passion shine through every moment in front of the camera. The opportunity to share information about yourself and your business and share other people’s passion for their world creates energy. Viewers cannot help but be drawn to it. If your energy and enthusiasm about your credit union is strong, it becomes infectious. In the videos, Gil interviewed people with a genuine interest in learning more about them, what they did, and what was important to them. He embraced the opportunity to build relationships that will pay future dividends for HARCO.

Principle #4: Accept your limitations

Understand that not everyone is a “natural” in front of the camera. Perfection should not be your focus. In fact, when things are not perfect they feel more genuine and human. Embrace the imperfections! Look to create relaxed, conversational videos. Comfortable talk makes up for lack of extensive media training.

Principle #5: Pick your venues wisely

The venue where you produce your video can add to your identity. HARCO selected parks and outdoor locations in the community that worked well in the pandemic but also portrayed the “hometown credit union” identity it was seeking. It also allowed for a natural setting with lighting and sounds familiar to all involved. Some caution must be taken as to deal with background challenges such as grass-cutting equipment, traffic and even loud dogs barking competing with mics. The trade-off of a hometown, real atmosphere mitigated the challenges.

Principle #6: No need to spend a lot video

Find a resourceful, local video firm to help you produce your first couple shoots. Red Dog used its videographer and modest equipment to create professional video content for HARCO’s website and social marketing efforts. Red Dog shot the video and accompanying b-roll, edited to snippet teasers and social segments, and distributed to several outlets for less than $500 per shoot. This relatively small investment can produce results and brand identity that a large marketing firm might charge tens of thousands to accomplish.

Zig Zigler said, “If people like you they’ll listen to you, but if they trust you they’ll do business with you.”  Video can be the linchpin to building the identity that earns you the trust of your customers. By allowing the community to see and hear your commitments and values, your credit union can stand above others in your market – just like Gil Kennedy and HARCO Credit Union.