For many years, our group led the design of all service line campaigns and corporate-level, branding and awareness campaigns for United Nations Federal Credit Union (UNFCU). We applied deep experience working for member organizations that was gained over dozens of initiatives since 1995, having delivered brands, print and digital communications to all types of 501(c) entities— professional organizations like the National Fire Protection Association and the Risk Management Society, or cause-based nonprofits like The Nature Conservancy, Adventure Cycling Association, or National Wildlife Federation. In some cases, we became creative partners for technical, trade publishers working in medical research or science-related media, like Cell Press or Electronic Design.
Whether it came down to a comprehensive enterprise-wide branding, or the design of one flagship communication, like the member website, I maintain that the foundation for success begins and ends with a robust phase of diligence to develop a thorough understanding of the member demographic, psychographic, media diet — in brief, their mindset, habits and needs.
We work to define and understand ALL audiences, ultimately. We also seek to know the client’s value propositions, the key messages that resonate, and most effective channels. We aim to immerse ourselves in existing research about usability and social media, certainly — but also to better understand and become fluent in the emerging trends of the industry or area of focus.
For UNFCU, we worked to realize the nuances, purchasing habits, and personal interests of a disparate group of nearly 100,000 members that were spread across the world, all professionals working at the United Nations, as well as their families. Service offerings were also broad, ranging from loan options like mortgages, debt consolidation, and credit cards, to investment services, to insurance products. The organization is member-owned, enabling us to create all type of campaign themes like “You Are the UNFCU” (or for millennials, “U-R the UNFCU”). We designed in-branch merchandising for bank locations in Nairobi, Vienna, Rome, Geneva, and New York. We created credit cards and developed award-winning online and print annual reports.
Through it all, the greatest value we were able to bring — special insights into copy and design, and even special features or functions online — were all the result of an exhaustive process to understand UNFCU’s value proposition, strategic plans, member benefits, and the unique regulations in various countries. Successful design is not achieved after one kick-off meeting and a few stakeholder interviews. Often, it takes months or even years to become so entrenched in our clients’ business that we are able to hold conversation on almost any area of their operations.
For more information on UNFCU, or work for other member-based organizations, please contact me for a guide of best practices for design, case studies, or references.
Tags: communities, design research, member campaigns, member organizations, membership organizations, nonprofit brands, onboarding kits, online communities
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