Meridian challenges big banks with big questions

A new campaign moves away from product-focused marketing and towards presenting the credit union as a holistic financial partner.
Meridian Credit Union-Meridian launches brand campaign to help C

Meridian, Ontario’s largest credit union, is looking to set itself apart from its big bank competition by delivering a more personal message about financial resiliency in a new campaign.

The campaign hinges on the “What If” financial questions that many Canadians are facing, particularly because of the pandemic, but what begins as uncertainty transitions into wondering if some good could come from taking a different perspective on their money and, ultimately, being ready to handle whatever comes next.

Through TV and online video spots, as well as OOH display, the campaign directs viewers to a website that clearly lays out Meridian’s value proposition while also offering visitors tools to assess their financial resilience and plan for various life goals.

The goal of the campaign is not just to introduce would-be clients to the tools the credit union offers, but to the institution itself.

“In the past, our advertising efforts have been more about products: a specific mortgage, or a savings account with a great rate, to drive consideration,” David Moore, Meridian’s chief marketing officer, explains. “This time, we’re talking about it from an overall brand and value proposition perspective.”

The goal is to build both awareness and consideration of Meridian among Canadians, a large number of whom are presently seeking additional support in terms of financial health and overall resilience, Moore says.

Meridian is not the only credit union that has previously been product-focused in its advertising, an effort to show Canadians that it has financial products and tools comparable to what they are used to getting from the Big Five banks. But with the concerns in the ad being top of mind for many, Meridian is instead focusing on how the credit union’s co-operative, member-focused business model leads to the kind of perspective and holistic financial offering that they can feel confident with.

“Our belief is the big financial institutions right now are, for the most part, trying to help with financial health and resilience, but we think we can do a better job,” he says. “We think we are more focused on helping people with that.”

Moore points to Meridian’s own member survey to support his claim. The credit union asked more than 2,300 of its members whether the organization was making a difference in their overall financial wellness and helping them achieve a better life, and in both cases, more than 92% responded positively.

That member satisfaction – as well as the importance of building financial resilience – comprises the “compelling message” that Moore believes will appeal to an audience he says is dissatisfied with what the big banks are selling.

“It sounds different than what they’ve heard. When I look at the value propositions of the big banks, they all sound pretty much the same,” he says. “This is different. It’s all about the person and the difference we can make in their life, and we believe that it’s going to break through.”

The campaign is part of a multi-year effort for Meridian on both the advertising and messaging front, according to Moore. “What If” was created in collaboration with SOS Design and Twenty6Two.