This is why I love the blog-o-sphere. It gets my heart pumping in the morning so I don’t have to drink as much coffee. Thank you Jeffry Pilcher and Sarah Cooke. Seems they both followed Ron Shevlin’s advice on How to Generate Blog Comments – PPO (piss people off!)

The discussion is around whether or not the moniker “credit union” hurts us or helps us. It’s a great discussion to be sure.

So, what’s in a name? According to Alyce Cornyn Selby, author of the book that asks that question, pretty damn much everything. When you name a child – it’s probably one of the most important moments of your life. Luckily you have 9 months to think about it. So, let’s say the child disappoints you – change their name! To Buster. That’ll show him.

I’ve been pretty outspoken around the subject of name changes. Especially when a credit union takes a venerable class of professionals like teachers or healthcare and turns them into Generico CU.

But now it’s gone too far. The debate that is currently raging on attacks the “credit union” brand. I’ll admit it – I’ve never liked those two words. Credit. Union. But hey, it wasn’t my baby to name and now that he’s turned 100 years old, I say we show him some respect.

Our category. Our legal entity. Our history, heritage, reputation, and dare I say DIFFERENTIATOR is the fact that we are a member owned financial cooperative that is called a credit union.

If anyone should be clamoring to change their category name it should be banks. Banks are synonymous with failure, greed, taxpayer bailouts, corruption – pretty much bringing our economy to its knees!

I just think we need to nip this conversation in the bud, as it were.

Years ago I had the pleasure of working with Financial Resources Federal Credit Union. Their original sponsor (and still primary SEG) is Johnson & Johnson. They were never allowed to use the J&J brand, so they chose a rather benign name. In fact, very few members even used the name in conversation. Instead they referred to it as “their credit union” or, and this was my favorite “J&J’s credit union.”  There was great love for their club. And so these members marketed FOR the credit union. They would tell their family members they had to join their credit union.

Two key words in there – “join” and “their.” You don’t join a bank.

The argument on the CU Times and Financial Brand blogs is centered around public confusion. My favorite comment (and I mean this felt like a mainlined double espresso when I read it): “I agree with banishing the term “join a credit union” – it is misleading to the public.” Yikes. Just typing that made my hands shake again.

In his groundbreaking new book “Flip the Funnel” Joseph Jaffe asks this question: “What if we got it all wrong? On average 80%-90% of most marketing budgets are aimed at attracting a complete stranger. Offering iPods, cash, and better rates than they will give their loyal existing members

If you think about it, shouldn’t we be spending more money against qualified prospective buyers versus shots in the dark at bagging a random stranger? Of course we should. It’s a complete no-brainer.”

Fight the real enemy people. Give your field of membership a reason to care. And if you want to be a bank – go covert.