20 06, 2018

Making a New Product a Game-Changer Through Marketing

06/20/2018|Our Work - Campaigns, Our Work - Financial|

When credit unions offer appealing new products to their members, there’s a good chance the competition won’t be far behind with an offering of their own. As the first to offer a great new product, there’s a huge opportunity to create ownership of it, especially when the competition is surely close behind with their version. In the case of our client Credit Union of America, that product was a “Balance Boost” account; a money market account with unheard of interest yields up to 3% annually. The Positioning Problem Our marketing puzzle was not only to position Balance Boost as a game-changer, but also to make it unique enough to give Credit Union of America ownership locally. To pull this off, we knew we had to differentiate Balance Boost among CUA’s current offerings as well as the industry as a whole. Pushing Brand Boundaries When a company really wants to differentiate a product or service as a game-changer, they must to be willing to push the limits of the brand. It’s a fine line to balance, but when done effectively, it makes for great advertising. Campaigns that push a brand need the recognition and trust that comes with established brand equity [...]

1 06, 2018

65 Years in Indiana Never Looked So Good

06/01/2018|Our Work - Campaigns, Our Work - Financial|

TLCU Financial came to PLAY Creative looking for ways to engage and grow its membership on the cusp of the 65th anniversary of opening their doors. This Indiana Credit Union has plenty of history and many interesting member stories to tell, but needed our help to communicate those stories to their community in a creative way. After some brainstorming, the PLAY team focused on 1953—the credit union’s founding year—thanks to the wealth of historical and cultural happenings from that same year. To create a campaign though, our creative challenge was aligning those historical events with TLCU. It’s one thing to say that a business is 65 years old, but it’s another to truly make members and prospective members aware of just how long 65 years in business truly is.  To give proper good context for how long TLCU has been serving its community, shared a few other significant things that happened in 1953. Swanson unveiled the first TV dinner Elvis recorded his first-ever record as a professional musician Minimum wage was a staggering $0.75 per hour(!) Paints a pretty good picture of how long ago 1953 was, doesn’t it? With a theme for the campaign, we got to work choosing [...]

7 05, 2018

Crafting a VISA Credit Card Direct Mail Drip Campaign

05/07/2018|Our Work - Campaigns, Our Work - Digital, Our Work - Dynamic Print, Our Work - Financial|

  With the rash of credit card offers that come through your mailbox and inbox every week, promoting VISA products for our clients is a unique challenge. Competing for attention in a flooded market like credit cards is a different breed of advertising, and your priorities need to change a bit when it comes to marketing. It isn’t as simple as creating clear messaging and appealing graphics, and a thoughtful campaign strategy becomes crucial. Years of experience in this space have helped us refine our framework for credit card advertising. The key aspects we aim to hit are: Consistent communication Multi-channel marketing Targeted messaging Simplified, focused messaging Segmentation of audiences In other words, credit card campaigns are tailor-made for a mixture of print and digital advertising. With the digital side of things handled, we then got to focus on making a great print drip campaign. On the print side, we devised a direct mail drip campaign that would target two different groups. Mailing lists were provided by our client to help with segmentation, which allowed us to target their current members in addition to prospective members. The campaign consisted of six total mailers; three for the current members and three [...]

26 02, 2018

How We Make Cash and Apples Fall From the Sky

02/26/2018|Our Work - Financial|

Credit Union of America offers its members an interesting option for savings accounts called a “Save to Win” certificate of deposit that also gives holders a chance to win cash prize drawings throughout the year. CUA is also rooted in serving educators, so they wanted to send a special offer to their members in the teaching community. We wanted to create a fun graphic for the email we’d send that reinforced how good the odds are at winning a cash prize with the Save to Win certificate that also resonated with educators. The uptick in response rate we’ve seen with ads containing animated gifs made this the perfect opportunity to use one to reinforce the product’s selling points. After some brainstorming, sketching, and a handful of wild ideas, we decided to create an animated gif that we thought teachers would really get a kick out of. Animated gifs are some of our favorite graphic design applications not just because of how fun they are to conceptualize and create, but also because of how much engagement they can generate from digital ads. View more credit union related work here.

22 12, 2017

An Illustration Fit For Credit Union Kids

12/22/2017|Our Work - Financial|

Family Focus Federal Credit Union came to the PLAY Creative team in need of a name and face for a kids’ money program they planned to launch for members. Since the program would revolve around teaching kids good habits with their money, Family Focus wanted both a name for the program and a pair of characters to represent it with a design style that would appeal to a young audience. With the audience in mind, the PLAY team suggested hand-painted style illustrations for the program art. After some brainstorming, we decided to aim for a children’s book illustration look and feel. When Family Focus decided that the characters would be named “Bella the Butterfly” and “Cody the Caterpillar,” our team got to work planning and sketching initial ideas the characters. We also began brainstorming a name for the program that would fit both the Family Focus brand and the design aesthetic we wanted to achieve.    Extensive research by the creative team went into the first iteration of sketches, including analysis of character art on children's shows, movies and books. Then, after a first round of ideas and sketches, we thoroughly reviewed the early work with our initial design goals [...]

4 12, 2017

Where Brand Building Meets Customer Appreciation

12/04/2017|Our Work - Financial|

Credit Union of America understands the importance of a strong brand. They know that their brand’s impact goes beyond products and marketing materials. In the fall, they came to the PLAY Creative team looking for ideas for a greeting card they could send to members to thank them for their membership on their respective anniversaries with Credit Union of America. Like any organization with a strong brand identity in place and a keen sense of the importance of brand consistency, they wanted a card that was simply a gesture of good will rather than a promotion. The PLAY team wanted to create a card that let CUA express its gratitude to their members and fit their brand, but didn’t quite look like the other promotional materials they produce. The teams decided on a theme that both celebrated the relationship between Credit Union of America and its members and also aimed to get them excited about the future. The PLAY team created a greeting card that thanked Credit Union of America’s members for their relationship within the company’s well-refined brand. It’s important to focus on your brand holistically, not just in ways that directly affect your bottom line. PLAY Creative doesn’t [...]

30 11, 2017

Family Focus FCU AIMs For a Stronger Brand

11/30/2017|Our Work - Financial|

Family Focus Federal Credit Union approached PLAY Creative in need of a brand overhaul. The credit union wanted a brand that reflects its mission of leading members away from debt and empowering them to reach financial prosperity, no matter their starting point. The Family Focus AIM Program, brand and logo were born from this concept. The AIM brand concept was rooted in the fact that ‘taking aim’ only requires two things: a starting point and a goal. The PLAY team wanted to kick off the new brand by engaging Family Focus members in the process of taking AIM at financial freedom. Each member’s goal is unique, but “aiming” shares a common meaning of claiming power in one’s situation, envisioning their future, and starting to work toward it. A survey was crafted to place members in one of three financial phases rather than groups. Having ‘phases’ meant members would have a more clearly defined destination to work toward with their money. As with all branding projects, the PLAY team constantly looked for ways for the brand to reflect Family Focus and its goals. The AIM concept was the result of research and brainstorming for an overall look and feel that communicated [...]

20 11, 2017

PLAY Recognized for Low-Budget Dynamic Print Project

11/20/2017|Our Work - Financial|

When a marketing agency says it specializes in building unique handcrafted print campaigns, they better back it up. We at PLAY Creative happen to make that claim, and our friends at Foldfactory recently helped us back it up. Foldfactory is one of the world’s leading resources when it comes to creative folded print materials and campaigns, and features some of the best dynamic print projects out there. At PLAY Creative, we’re proud to have recently been featured by this print design juggernaut. We're honored to have a project we produced for Credit Union of American featured in Foldfactory’s 60-second Super-Cool Fold of the Week video series, and you can check out our featured project here. When dealing with dynamic print campaigns, it’s not enough to simply produce an idea. Even engineering a solution with dimension that’s eye-catching, creative and engaging is only a small part of a successful print project. There's also cost to consider, and of course, results. (Foldfactory also deemed this project a “low-budget wonder” and “fabulously frugal.”) We also owe our friends at Regal Printing a tip of the cap for helping keep the project on time and on budget. Whether it’s for a credit union, university, [...]

8 11, 2017

Columbus United Federal Credit Union Gets Personal With Auto Loans

11/08/2017|Our Work - Financial|

(Shown above: Postcard sent to customers within 18 months of paying off their current auto loan.) With summer winding down, Columbus United Federal Credit Union came to PLAY Creative for a new solution to bring awareness to their direct auto loans. Promoting auto loans is nothing new for the PLAY team, but Columbus United FCU wanted to reach a specific group of potential auto loan customers already working with them. Past research and projects revealed 36 months to be the average lifespan of an auto loan, and Columbus United Federal Credit Union wanted to reach out to borrowers who were within 18 months of paying off their current auto loan. This proved to be an optimal time to get customers thinking about getting into a new car with a loan from Columbus United FCU, rather than through a dealership. The PLAY Creative team wanted to highlight some key themes in the auto loan process from Columbus United Federal Credit Union that would compel customers to think about buying a new car after finishing out their current auto loan. (Shown above: Campaign Billboard) The goal became highlighting the highly personalized service of Columbus United FCU in a creative way and developing [...]

25 01, 2017

Putting Your Marketing Plan In Action

01/25/2017|Our Process, Our Work - Financial|

If you’re like me, there are days it’s hard enough to give much thought to what’s happening in an hour much less six months from now. But as a marketing professional, looking ahead is imperative to your company’s success. With your time in mind, here are a few key points to ponder as you jump into the next cycle of your marketing plan. Execution Question: As you wrote your 12-month plan, did you consider who’s actually going to execute these brilliant ideas? While creating the actual 12-month plan could be considered a remarkable feat in and of itself, the real power comes in the execution of its contents. You may have a team to support your plan, but take a moment to step back and think about how you can enhance the outcome of your plan by putting the right partners in place. PLAY is founded on the idea of working as an extension of our client’s team. We can help implement select campaigns, free your team to work on other tasks like design or content development, and provide insight that can elevate the impact of your marketing efforts. Focus on core strengths Question: Is your marketing team functioning at [...]

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