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 September '18August '18
# of CUs5,6535,686
Total Assets
($ billions)
Total Savings
($ billions)
Net Cap.
Loans to Savings85.5%84.5%
Loan Delinq.0.7%0.7%

         Credit Union Indicators

Be in the Business of Happiness

Have fun and embrace strangeness, says branding guru.

Branding guru/innovator Johnny "Cupcakes" Earle has had a multitude of jobs over the years, from selling whoopee cushions to performing magic shows to peddling soda on the beach.

Ultimately, he learned an important lesson. "I realized I could make money doing something that made me happy and others happy, too," says Earle, who spoke at the CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council Conference.

Earle's latest venture is an exclusive T-shirt brand, Johnny Cupcakes, that started as a joke but grew into a multimillion dollar operation. He uses innovative marketing techniques and social media to get hundreds of people to camp outside his mock bakeries, which sell cutting-edge T-shirts instead of cupcakes.

"We did this just for fun," he says. "But word-of-mouth spread like peanut butter and all of a sudden people started asking to buy the T-shirts."

Earle offers several lessons credit union marketers can embrace:

• Strange is good, and it's important. "Strange" sets you apart from the rest.

• Invest in your brand to attract new customers and to engage current customers.

• Meet new people to learn about their failures and successes. Talk about how to do things better.

• Have fun every day. "Work with fun people," he says.

• Stay positive—and avoid those who aren't.

• Create brand ambassadors who'll tell your story and provide positive word-of-mouth.

• Embrace collaboration. Two parties sharing resources is usually better than one.

• Realize that one idea is never enough.

• Surprise your customers with giveaways and events.

• Thank your customers, particularly with hand-written notes.

• Realize success isn't about money. It's about doing what you love and being happy.

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