I had the opportunity to speak about the importance of Digital StorySelling to over 500 financial marketers at the CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council Conference.

In just under seven minutes, I outlined a brief history of storytelling and how banks and credit unions can move past the traditional structure of the narratives they are currently telling.

If you are a frequent reader of CU Grow, this list should be familiar.

"We have great rates."

"We promise amazing service."

“We have a look-a-like list of product features.”

So what can banks and credit unions do?

Watch the video, or read the transcript, and find out.

Stop. Put down your phone. Put down your iPad because sometimes technology can get in the way of the world and the world is full of great stories. But this week I found that almost every single one of you in this room is telling the exact same story. There's a better way to tell your story. 

Let me explain. About 4,000 years ago, there was a man in the cave kneeling down who was hunched over a warm fire. He was cooking the meat from the biggest animal he had ever killed.  He was proud and he want to commemorate this day forever. So he took ash from his cold fire and begin to paint his story on the wall of his cave.

And it's true. We still communicate with our hands today, although paint had turned to pixels and technology has and will continue to change and evolve the way that we communicate. But the constant that must remain true are the stories we tell, the stories that bind humanity together.

But that's not always been the case. Broadcast marketing changed the way that we told and heard and listen to stories. Broadcast marketing allows storytelling to become uni-directional. Selfish because story became about the brand, the product, the features.

Humanity was lost. And this created a division between brands and consumers, and this division continues to grow as technology commoditized financial services.

We see this as almost every single bank and credit union promotes the same thing. We have great rates. We have amazing service. How can we differentiate ourselves?

I believe story is the answer, but the medium is the message. What I mean by that is the mediums like TV, radio, print, direct mail allow for a unidirectional story. But this kind of storytelling is no longer applicable using digital marketing technologies.

So how can we bridge this divide? Let's recall the words from Seth Godin, "Marketing is no longer about the things that we make, but the stories that we tell." And I believe every one of you here can use digital marketing to bring humanity back into the stories that you tell for your credit union.

You must first make a commitment today to stop the promotion of great rates and amazing service. By doing so, you can then focus a story on people, on your members, on their hopes, on their dreams, and how you have helped to guide them along the way to success.

The second thing you must do is to ask the right questions, sometimes hard questions how you are using digital marketing technology today. For example, is your website nothing more than a glorified online brochure?

What about social media? Has become a bulletin board for the posting of your latest promotions and events?

If you're struggling with some of these opportunities, don't worry. You're not alone. Almost every single credit union that we've spoken to over the past few years is having the same challenges. 

And what we found is needed is a plan to unify digital marketing technology to lead them into a much brighter future. We call this the digital marketing blueprint and you can use this plan. But notice how it's not just focused on technology.

Technology is nothing more than a means to an end. Technology can be used to bridge the divide between consumers and your products, but technology will only do so much. Technology is the medium, and you can use this medium to tell stories that sell.

We call this process story selling. And what it is in the most basic form is seven steps that you can use as soon as you get back to your credit union to change the way you tell stories forever.

And it's scientifically proven to work because when we talk about great rates, we're speaking into the left side of a consumers' brain. But consumers buy with their hearts. They buy with emotions, with the feelings, and then justify that with logic.

Seven steps that you can use when you get back to your credit union to tell a story that sells. A consumer has a specific problem who meets an empathetic guy that first builds trust, then offers a solution, calls that consumer to action and you the credit union guide them to success.

This is the same methodology that has been used to tell stories we remember and love. Like Star Wars. Luke. He wanted to get off of Tatooine. His aunt and uncle were killed. He was trained and guided by Obi-Wan Kenobi. Obi-Wan was killed by Darth Vader. Luke was called to action. He blew up the Death Star. He got a medal.

You can guide your members to success just like Obi-Wan. But you have to make a choice. When you get back to your credit union, will you continue to adopt digital marketing technologies without a unified plan or would you take a step back and determine how you can use these technologies to tell human-centric stories?

And if you take the second path, you will become Obi-Wan. You will become the guide in the stories that you tell. Because without a guide, there is no story. Without Obi-Wan, there is no Luke.

Without your credit union, who will guide your members into a brighter future? Take Anna, for example. She's a teacher. She's looking to buy her first home so that her mom can move in with her so she can take care of her.

She's never bought a house. She needs help. She sees a video of how you've helped someone just like her before purchase their first home.

The video does something different. It doesn't talk about great rates. It doesn't talk about amazing service. The focus is on people, her friends, their story, and how you helped guide them along the way to success.

I believe that when you get back to your credit union, you can use technology to tell story. But don't let technology get in the way of your story telling. Remember that technology will always continue to evolve. It will always continue to change.

Use technology to tell human-centric stories, stories that tell, stories that sell and you will grow your credit union.