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I bought some tampons last week. I know. TMI, right? But wait. I have a point. Instead of buying my usual brand, I picked up this black box of U by Kotex tampons. Each item was wrapped in a different color paper. They were, dare I say, cute. Someone at Kotex has a sense of humor. Someone decided to have some fun. I just googled this brand and the top hit took me to this ad on YouTube. A mere 437,912 people have viewed it so far.

This is a super old brand appealing to the next generation. My poor mother had to wear the belt. Yes, a belt that held a pillow sized pad in place. Yikes. Then my generation thankfully added the adhesive tape – and the “wings.” The tampon hasn’t changed much since the Toxic Shock Syndrome scare. But the packaging can. Nice job Kotex.

Coke is a crazy old brand that is “new” again. Coke zero was added to eliminate the word “diet.” There is a slight change in the flavor because it contains half the aspartame of Diet Coke and more acesulfame potassium.  Oh, it’s true, and the youngsters love it! It’s THEIR brand. Not yours.

How about the Cube? That’s Gen Y’s Pacer. Ugly is hip – again.

Now the challenge is how to take the old tired brand of Credit Union and make it new again – one that will appeal to the next generation member. I think Young & Free has done just that. The brilliance of taking an old product – a checking account – wrapped in a package of social media tools and new ownership is unparalleled. But beyond that – what else is working?

Where’s our colored tampon wrapper? Our new recipe for sugar free soda? Our ugly car?

I’ll try to use it in a sentence.

There is a dearth of options for true professional development in the credit union industry.

We have tons of training sessions on “stuff” like how to lend, comply, collect, review, document, comply, calculate, project, dissect, analyze, comply…..but how to be a good person to work with – you know – a real team player that will eventually make a great leader? Not so much.

Why is that?

Am I missing something?

WARNING: This post is kind of sappy but it comes from the heart.

Last week-end I went home. To Portland, Oregon. My mentor and my dear friend, invited me to her house to listen to Michael Allen Harrison perform live on the Steinway she bought from Frank Cady. How often do you get to sit with Mr. Drucker and enjoy one of the finest pianists in Oregon in someone’s living room!

Michael surprised us by bringing along his 18 year old stepson Tanner Johnson on violin. He’s been playing since he was 4 years old, looked every bit of 12 and when he began to play – it was like butter – an amazing experience. One of those “perfect moments.” Before you read any more, seriously click on this link to CD Baby and listen to track number two. I’ll wait.

Maybe it’s the title, “Journey Home” but it got me a little verklempt.

It’s no secret, I love credit unions. They are my family. Last week I celebrated my 30th anniversary with them. For those of you that don’t know how old I am, well, you’ll just have to know I’m older than 30.

Sarah, the host of the party, was my boss years ago. Were it not for her constant pushing, coaching and declaring that if I would just ACT like the expert, I will become one, I could not have possibly landed the job of VP Association Services for the New Mexico Association.

And so the next day I made the journey home to Cochiti Lake. I plan to retire there with my sweetie Mark.

As Tanner and Michael played that last note together I gave thanks for all I’ve been given and pledged to use the rest of my days to give as much back.

This one snuck up on me. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t speak lawyer. So when I read through the Durbin Amendment and CUNA’s response, I’m still left scratching my head. And I suspect I’m not alone.

Last week a blogger and a rock band helped me to understand it – but on Monday, June 14th, my new friend Juan Fernandez, VP Governmental Affairs for the CU Association of New Mexico will join me on the Liquid Lunch as we explore the strange world of debit interchange income. Juan just returned from hiking the hill to protest this amendment.

Please join us for the Interchange Interchange.

Tiger Woods could still beat you with a piece of bacon.”

I didn’t just say that – Brent Dixon did last week at our Annual Meeting. And you can imagine how many golfers we had in the audience – lots. There were some chuckles of recognition, some raised eyebrows and of course a few stoic reactions.

The point he was making? Just because your credit union is on Twitter or you have a Facebook page does not mean you are going to be successful in the social media space. To be good at social media, you must first be good at being social. Man that makes sense, doesn’t it?

It also explains why so many people fear social media. They don’t know what to say or area afraid to join in the conversation. You know what? That’s okay. You probably shouldn’t be the one spearheading your credit union’s efforts. So who should?

Marketing seems to be a natural because, well, we better be good at promoting, right?

Not necessarily. I’ve met a ton of marketers that are good at producing static material (think direct mail pieces, brochures, newspaper ads) that aren’t social at all. They are the advertising equivalent of a wall flower.  A pretty one, but not one that wants to dance or make eye contact. Awkward.

Here are the tests a social media candidate would have to pass, in my opinion:

1. Put them in the elevator with a stranger. They must try to bond with this person – over the weather, the Muzac, something before arriving at their floor.

2. Look at their cell phone. If they have not customized the picture on the front – gong. Next please.

3. Must have one or more of the following:

a. tattoo.

b. piercing (not necessarily still in use, but they did it)

c. facial hair (for men – LOL) or colored hair (man or woman)

4. Tried out for dance team, student government, cheerleading, sports, etc. in school. Preferably didn’t make it.

5. Make them go to a nice restaurant for dinner – alone. Will they sit at the bar and engage, or bring a book and get a table for one?

What am I missing?

I love that question, and have used it many times in the afternoon of strategic planning sessions. It’s after lunch, you can see the finish line. But before we leave we actually have to set goals. Commit to some action. Dare to dream.

In my new position at the CU Association of New Mexico I find myself in the position of having to practice what I preach. I’ll admit, it’s a bit daunting.

It’s easier to just do what’s always been done. Keep things going. Don’t rock the boat as it were. That way the chances you’ll make a mistake – or get noticed – are really slim.

But life’s too short, and since I’ve committed my life to the cause that is the credit union, I’m gonna go for it.

Next week I begin a road trip. The goal – to visit every credit union in New Mexico. I have a map, a mission and a mantra….oh, and some social media tools I’m going to sharpen.

Stay tuned.

I’m back at the trade association and yesterday was the kick-off of our Annual Meeting at the Buffalo Thunder Resort in Santa Fe. Last night  vendor dinner. And you know what that means – tcotchkes and door prizes.  I have CUANM booth duty this morning, we’re giving out these gorgeous beach bags to carry the loot.

Some things never change and for that I’m grateful.

I’ve always felt that vendors were there more as a thank-you to their clients than to “close the deal.” I mean, who’s going to review a contract with a wine glass in one hand, your cool pen in the other and the band playing The Girl From Ipanema in the background. Vendor duty is keeping the love alive – like in any relationship, whether you’re in the early wooing stages or you’ve been together a long time, they need to know you still care.

So if that means buying them the “office in a box” and slapping your logo on it – it’s all good.

CUSN wins, in my opinion for best giveaway. It is literally an office in a box – tiny stapler, hole punch, tape dispenser, staple remover, and highlighter. Elves had to have made this thing and I love it!

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June 2010