Alternatives Federal Credit Union
B2C , Financial
Alternatives Federal Credit Union (AFCU) is, you guessed it, an alternative to the corporate banks we know so well. Although AFCU had a higher focus on helping its community, it still
had a low number of members and consumer engagement. So, they hired us to lift their local awareness.
If you’ve ever been to Ithaca, New York, we’re sure you’ve been amazed not only by the natural beauty of the Finger Lakes region, but also by the hardworking, peaceful and progressive people who call it home. Alternatives Federal Credit Union is a representation of those people—essentially founded by freethinkers in 1979 to reach underserved communities.
But why are we telling you this? Can’t we just get to the story? Well, it’s important for you to understand Alternatives Federal Credit Union is much more than a bank. It educates Ithaca elementary and high school students on saving, provides the underserved with no-cost financing resources and allows lower-income individuals to secure affordable financing on loans to build assets—something conventional lenders don’t offer. It even pops up at the weekly farmer’s market and has its own garden landscape for the public to enjoy—talk about growing where you’re planted. Is that metaphor too corny? Moving on.
So, with community gardens, kid-savers and economic freedom throughout Ithaca, why would anyone want to bank elsewhere? We knew that Alternatives’ mission, products and services had significant appeal—not just at lower-income levels, but among all people of Ithaca. That’s why we set Alternatives up with a custom Success Plan and shifted messaging to create the campaign, “Make a Statement.”
“Make a Statement” urged people concerned about economic inequality to take action and make a difference—right here in their hometown. Through highly targeted programmatic, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Google search ads, we ditched the stock imagery and showcased actual Alternatives members and well-known Ithaca locations—embracing the local love. Campaign landing pages featured videos—telling the Alternatives heartfelt brand story, while highlighting the important competitive rates and terms.
During our reporting period, the digital marketing drove a 12% increase in new users on Alternatives’ website. Our digital ads drove more than 13,000 site visits and 2.8 million total impressions. According to a quick search, Ithaca’s population is around 30,000. So, yeah. We’d say that’s pretty impressive.
Within the first 10 weeks, the credit union had experienced its best month for new memberships in a decade. But overall, we created a campaign promoting economic justice with powerful calls to action that we wouldn’t throw around unless we believed every word was true.
By using real local members of Alternatives Federal Credit Union and amplifying the resources the organization was providing for the community of Ithaca, New York, we developed greater awareness and loyalty to the brand than the credit union had experienced in decades. Moreover, Mower created the mindset that consumers aren’t just choosing a place to do their banking, they’re voting for economic freedom.
Key Brand as Friend® drivers:
Hey! Our name is pronounced Mōw-rrr, like this thing I’m pushing.