“New Face, New Place” for Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union
State Capitol Federal Credit Union (SCCU), Minnesota’s largest credit union with nearly $470 million in assets, and 80,000 members, found that its name was too limiting. Not only did the name imply that members had to work at the state capitol to join, but it belied the broad base of member services offered by the credit union. With an appropriate name, the credit union could more readily tap into the base of nearly 2 million Minnesotans eligible for membership. Months prior to its name change, SCCU brought in The Sage Group to create a public relations plan that would result in positive media exposure for the credit union and properly position it with the general public and prospective members.
• We started by targeting key business publications in Twin Cities publications to tell the story of the 70-year-old credit union, and its new leader, Kyle L. Markland, who joined a year earlier as president and CEO.
• We also created a media list which included all Twin Cities business media, daily newspapers in all credit union locations across Minnesota, and all national credit union publications.
• A media relations plan was created to announce the exciting new changes taking place at the credit union. We issued a releases on the new management team, the name change and new identity, and on a “New Face, New Place” grand opening event, which was developed by The Sage Group.
• The event, which celebrated the new name and the grand opening of the new Affinity Plus headquarters and branch in St. Paul, was intended to build both general awareness and membership. Two weeks prior to the event, local radio station, Cities 97, ran promotional spots announcing the appearance of the “Around-Town Van” at the grand opening. Immediately prior to the event, spots announcing the new name and benefits of membership developed by The Sage Group created additional excitement. These built up to additional ads on the day of the grand opening event inviting the public to participate in the festivities. Special rates on member services, prizes, food, and giveaways were featured. Entertainment was provided by the St. Paul Police Band. Mayor Norm Coleman’s office proclaimed the event day “Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union Day” in St. Paul, and local dignitaries participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
• Affinity Plus joined the ranks of large financial institutions in “Best Consumer Rates,” printed weekly in the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
• Kyle L. Markland, president and CEO of Affinity Plus, was featured in “Fresh Face,” a monthly column in Corporate Report, on executives who are standouts before the age of 40.
• Numerous dailies and weeklies included Affinity Plus in business news sections for the management changes, new name, and grand opening event.
• Credit Union Times included photos of the ribbon cutting ceremony and members at the grand opening event.
• Credit Union Magazine asked Affinity Plus’s vice president of corporate development and relations, to be a guest columnist for its monthly “Market Share” feature for credit union marketing executives. The Sage Group interviewed the vice president and wrote the column.
• The media campaign and grand opening were a resounding success, with nearly 2,000 people participating in the event itself, and record levels of new members taking advantage of the special rates and member service offerings since the beginning of the year.