Interview with Justin Lynch
Creative Director @ Avlier

Justin has seen first hand how difficult it can be to build a powerful brand, and how easy it is to ruin it. When he worked at First Service Credit Union it became obvious there are agencies that don't take the time to understand your credit union, your members, and your challenges. Instead, they take a templated design, slap your logo on it, and charge you $1,000s. If you've ever worked with an agency like that, you've seen the damage it can cause. At best it results in lackluster results, and at worst it leads to inconsistent branding, which eventually leads to the deterioration of your brand. This is why he made sure at Avlier they take the time to understand you and your credit union. Every design they create is in service of building your brand. When you have a powerful, modern brand you're able to reduce your marketing costs, build up member engagement, and increase share-of-wallet.
Hi Justin, what specific challenges do Credit Unions run into with branding and marketing campaigns?
It's one of the biggest challenges I've seen with a lot of branding and marketing campaigns is making sure that the message is correct and that it's actually resonating with the members. It's what you want to do is you want to make sure that you're talking to your members and selling essentially the transformation that your services offer not the rate itself, right. So it doesn't matter if you can get an auto loan for 1.99% because half the people probably qualify for that rate but what you can say essentially is hey you can have a new car and you have more and mobility. So example right. Say you have young kids and right now you just have a sedan and you need to get your family around places well maybe they need an SUV so you can really kind of help them understand that by getting this auto loan and getting this SUV you can transform your life. That makes things a lot easier for you. And you know you don't have to always feel like you're crammed inside your little sedan car. It's really like I said the biggest challenge I've seen is making sure the messaging is connecting with the members.
You have a unique background in both Fintech and Design, how did you end up doing this work you are doing?
So I started my career in video game development. I worked at a small indie studio in Orlando, Florida. We made a bunch of mobile games. I was originally hired as a project manager and our team was always really small so project management was never really a full time job. And so when we pretty much created our very first game we need a graphics to promote the game. The app store images, some posters and flyers and at that time I had a very limited knowledge of Photoshop and decided to say, "Hey! you know I can help create all those images" and that's really what started me down the road into more of the design phase and then the technology side came from the training at the video game studio and just my love for tech in general.
What important elements should Financial institutions communicate in their branding?
The biggest element the Credit Union's need to focus on when it comes to their branding is making sure that they're talking about the members' journey and the experiences they get while using the services. So a lot of people kind of get scared of money right, Money has a very emotional response and a lot of people. And so what credit unions need to be doing is making sure to let people know that hey by using those services we can help you use your money effectively and allow you to have it transform your life. So whether that's a new car through you're not alone whether that's getting a house or even building a house through a mortgage or a construction loan all those things are important and that's really what the member wants is the end result right. They just want to know how can I utilize my money effectively to give me what I really want. And so that's what credit unions need to be tapping into when it comes to their brand. It's not about the rate. It's about making sure that you're transforming the lives of your members.
Take us through a recent design or marketing project that you completed for a client. Explain how you took the Credit Union's brand to the next level.
When I first started working with SAFE Federal Credit Union two and a half years ago we really focused on making sure that the imagery and the copy resonated with the members. So every campaign that I've done for them, we focus on making sure that we're talking about the transformation of the member, you know the rates sometimes are highlighted by a lot of times it's about a certain experience and you're giving someone and the imagery always matches that. So this past fall we did an auto loan campaign and it was about adventuring more, spending less. Right? So it was an auto loan campaign but it was about making sure that you can get a vehicle that allows you to go and have these adventures with your friends and family. It was less about getting a great rate because you know people want a great rate but what they really want is what that car provides them. So that's what we focused on. Like I said over the last two and a half years I've helped them with a lot of their different campaigns. I think we've now done four auto loan campaigns and have generated over two hundred million dollars in auto loans within the last two and a half years through those campaigns. So it's obviously had a lot of success. And you know really like I said I think a lot of that comes down to resonating with the members. On a personal level and making sure to emphasize the lifestyle change they get by using SAFE's services.
What are you working on right now? What projects or challenges are coming up for you in 2019?
Currently we're working on refining our messaging and reaching out to other credit unions. We know our process works and it's really effective but a lot of people don't know about us so that's one of our big challenges for the year to get it in front of as many credit unions as possible. Whether that's speaking engagements doing more social media marketing or more direct marketing you know it's kind of really what we're working on right now is brainstorming through a lot of those different ideas.