The “M” in DREAM is for Motivate!

For the last several weeks we have been having some fun dissecting the best credit union book out there CU 2.0: A Guide for Credit Unions Competing in the Digital Age by Ongoing Operations CEO Kirk Drake. This book is available on (how cool is that) and currently has 22  five star reviews. That’s a better rating than the complete collection of Harry Potter (yes, there are some Harry Potter haters….I know, who would hate Harry?) but I digress.

Kirk breaks the book down in an easily digestible and memorable format. We have posted a blog on each letter. In case you missed the first four here are the links:

D – Differentiate

R – Recreate and Reinforce

E – Educate and Excite

A – Automate

M – Motivate

In this final section of his book Kirk talks about using a motivating structure to help demonstrate to the member the value of their credit union ownership, Clearly motivating the member and demonstrating the value of their membership, along with the rest of the DREAM approach, will help your credit union differentiate itself from a crowded field and allow it to compete with FinTech startups. I hope this story “Motivates” you to read this helpful book.

The first time I ever saw a Cirque du Soleil it blew my mind. If you’ve never been it’s hard to describe. It’s a “human circus” with acrobatic numbers that seem impossible. It’s all set to music, with incredible costumes, sets, props, and again, really hard to describe. But I remember distinctly this one scene where a four story building appeared on stage. Looked more like a burned out warehouse, no glass in the windows, dark and dingy. Suddenly these acrobats came running onto the stage and “bouncing” off the ground, diving head first into the windows. That one scene gave me this incredible thought. First of all, “How do they not die?” and secondly “How many times did they have to rehearse that to get it right?”

The following week I was working with a credit union helping them create a strong brand by differentiating themselves from their competition. Part of the project was the launch of a very unique branch idea. This credit union was known for their used car auto loan program. Specifically they had partnered with a local auto broker to find the best possible fleet of used cars. They would not “endorse” the cars unless they were still under warranty, had passed an additional 18 point inspection and were highly rated. The joke for a while was “What color Toyota Camry would you like to buy?”

Anyway, the CEO asked “What if we added a showroom to the lobby of this new branch and used part of the parking area as a used car lot?”  To the best of my knowledge I had never heard of a credit union attempting this. And it brought me back to the scene from Cirque du Soleil. The only way we could really pull this off would be to “choreograph the experience and rehearse it.” And that’s exactly what we did.

We sat down and through a great brain storming idea we identified “death threats.” Specifically the reputation of a used car salesman. About as slimy as it gets. How do we put on a performance that is the complete opposite of what people expect? We identified the things people hate about used car lots.

  • Salesmen lurking over your shoulder
  • The inaccurate or misleading data about the car
  • The outrageous up-charge
  • Dickering on the sticker price
  • The high pressure sell

To address each item we chose to do the polar opposite

  • There would never be a salesman on the lot
  • The information about the car would be clearly posted including what the broker paid for the car, what the blue book value is and what the price was
  • There was no outrageous up-charge
  • There was no dickering on the sticker price – the cars were priced fairly
  • It was not a requirement to finance the car at the credit union, they were welcome to finance it elsewhere

Once we had this script in place we got the branch staff together and we rehearsed the scene over and over again identifying situations that might come up that would cause us to “fall down,” Opening night was a hit.

In Kirk’s book CU 2.0 he states, “Gone are the days of members expecting MSRs to “sell” services to them. What they are seeking instead is a better overall experience with transactions that flow through their life stages in ways that are best suited for them.

“Branch technology has two facets: how the technology affects the design and the physical appearance of the branch, and how it is used in the branch. It is important to note that the branch environment should be designed to differentiate and personalize based on data, educate excite, validate, and automate. If the credit union fails to stay true to these principles. it will violate its digital branch promise and all this e-commerce work will be discounted in the member’s eyes as a major failure, leading to an erosion of trust.”

“Without trust, you can’t help the member.”

Thank you Kirk for writing this book. If your credit union has big DREAMS, we’d love to hear about them. Send us your story and you could win an autographed copy of CU 2.0 and receive $200 off the 2018 NACUSO Network Conference at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim on April 16th – 19th.