Credit union marketers are notorious for R & D. Rip off and Duplicate. And I’m proud to say I have done just that in my new job.

Here are the events leading up to my crime. First, a dear friend of mine, one Miss Charlotte Nemec of Spokane Federal Credit Union shared her credit union calendar with me a few years back. I admired it for the entire year. Not knowing I was going to steal the idea someday.

Secondly – I was fortunate to land the most coveted position as VP Marketing for Del Norte CU in Santa Fe freaking New Mexico. Land of Enchantment. 300 days of sunshine a year.

Finally – Dexter. My little puppy, the joy in my life. My child. My boy. And the cutest damn dog on the planet came into my life. I know all pet parents think that – but seriously – have you seen my boy?

And so it happened. And I’m not going to lie to you – the idea came to me when one of my employees said “Members keep asking if we’re ever going to produce a calendar.” We have to do the same calendar that Spokane Fed put out. And I mean we duplicated it to the letter.

We have 110 FTEs. Why do we refer to people as Full Time Equivalents? We need to really re-think that label. I blame accounting. Anyway – I sent an email to all FTEs asking them to submit a photo of their pet. Within a few hours I had over 20 submissions. In two days we had 45 pictures! Each pet owner was then asked to answer the following:

Your pet likes:

Your pet dislikes:

Your pet’s person is: Insert FTE name and title.

We put it to a vote. The top twelve pets made the individual months – and because we wanted to make sure everyone felt like a winner – a collage of all the pets made the cover.

The first annual Del Norte Credit Union Employee Pet Calendar is a huge success. Members are snatching them up by the handful – local businesses want them – it was such a simple and fun idea.

Now here are the rules of R & D:

1. You may only rip off an idea that comes from a credit union that is not in your territory. Spokane and Santa Fe are 1346 miles apart.

2. You must fully acknowledge the creator of the piece you are stealing. Thank you Charlotte Nemec

3.  You must share your finished product with the original creator and remind them that “Imitation is the Sincerest Form of Flattery.”

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