Because everyone’s allergic to fat cats these days.

01 09

Branding and Advertising

In late 2011, the Philadelphia Federal Credit Union (PFCU) reengaged Brownstein Group (BG) to help build on its “Better Than My Bank” brand campaign, which ran successfully for 10 years. PFCU aimed to determine whether this message still resonated with people against the current economic backdrop, as many consumers may have had residual anger toward large financial institutions over the industry’s role in the financial crisis and exploitative banking practices.

BG’s branding process revealed that the fundamentals of the brand were still strong and remained relevant. Better yet, the credit union’s core values—accountability, honesty, accessibility and investing locally—were deeply desired by consumers. PFCU’s brand was largely defined by its status as a “not-for-profit” and “member-owned” financial institution that exists entirely to see its members in the local community become profitable. PFCU could talk about banking in a way that no other financial institutions were at the time, so BG created a refreshed identity featuring the new tagline, “Not here for our profit. Here for yours.” Since 2012, BG has helped PFCU bring its brand to life through a grassroots approach and as a result, has increased overall awareness and membership. We haven’t looked back since.


The new campaign launched in early 2012, with advertising appearing on SEPTA buses, bus shelters, billboards and the radio, as well as in local papers. The brand elements were adapted throughout the credit union’s branches, conveying a simple message: Philadelphia, its communities and its constituents move upward with PFCU. Advertising expressed three reoccurring themes: what PFCU is; the concept of being a not-for-profit; and, lastly, PFCU’s values. Post-launch surveys revealed that 98% of employees felt the brand accurately represented PFCU, while 95% felt they could explain the messaging. In 2014, the creative underwent a refresh, and the community aspects and personal attention benefits were highlighted further through print, digital, outdoor,
radio, television and social media.
02 09

Public Relations

With a refreshed brand identity and BG as its agency of record, PFCU began a concerted effort to increase its top-of-mind awareness for personal and business banking services among existing and potential members in the neighborhoods it serves. BG developed a public relations strategy that encompasses media relations, community relations, content marketing and social media.

On average, over 40 editorial features are secured each year. The public relations program focuses on the financial education component of the brand message, reinforcing the organization’s commitment to this effort. BG secures regular media coverage for PFCU’s financial educator in the local Philadelphia media, including, the Northeast Times and the Spirit of the Riverwards. This further establishes the credit union’s position as a thought leader and resource available to help members attain their financial goals.

03 09

Project Snapshot:
Financial Literacy Survey

BG conducted a survey of Philadelphians’ financial attitudes and behaviors and tied the announcement of the survey’s findings to National Financial Literacy Month. BG trained a PFCU financial educator as a media spokesperson and, in just three months, secured nearly 20 placements in local print/online newspapers, broadcasts and trade publications, including CBS’s “Talk Philly,” PHL 17’s “Eye Opener Philly,” the Credit Union Business magazine, the Credit Union Times, The Philadelphia Public Record, The Philadelphia Tribune and the Burlington County Times.

04 09

Community Relations

PFCU remains deeply committed to supporting its local community. Through both its own programming, as well as charitable giving to several nonprofit partners, we know that PFCU’s audiences value this commitment. PFCU regularly holds events and activities to offer added value and bring people in to its branches, such as shredding days and pop-up barbecues.

05 09

Project Snapshot:
Student Art Competitions

Working mothers are one of PFCU’s core audiences, and there’s no better way to reach moms than through their children. We partnered with local schools to sponsor an art competition open to all third- to fifth-grade students. Launched in 2012, the annual contest aims to teach children the importance of starting to save money at a young age and awards students and their classrooms with prizes. We promote the contest through a letter campaign and signage at local Philadelphia public and private schools, in branches, on the credit union’s website and social media pages and through local media coverage. This campaign has consistently grown over its four-year history. To date, it has reached 30 schools, thousands of students and countless friends and family who support students’ entries by casting their vote for their favorite work of art on social media. The contest also drives media coverage and is regularly covered by 6abc, The Philadelphia Tribune, the Northeast Times, the Credit Union Times and others.

06 09

Project Snapshot:
Small Business Program

In addition to personal banking customers, PFCU’s public relations efforts aim to reach the small business community in order to generate leads for the commercial lending department. BG developed a small business outreach program that created partnerships with local business associations for networking events and financial education programming. To date, we have executed partnerships with the Fishtown Area Business Association (FABA) and the New Kensington Community Development Corporation (NKCDC), as well as the Business Association of Mt. Airy. Each program begins with a survey of the business community in each association to identify the specific needs and concerns of businesses in that community. The subsequent event and presentation are then customized to address each community’s unique requirements. To date, this program has engaged over 200 businesses through survey participation and event attendance and is further promoted by media coverage including WHYY’s “NewsWorks,” The Northwest Independent and The Philadelphia Sun Times. PFCU is then provided with a list of qualified leads for future engagement.

07 09

Project Snapshot: Public Mural

In 2013, PFCU opened a new branch location in Fishtown and immediately became ingrained in the neighborhood that is home to many artists. It signed on to become a title sponsor of the largest annual event in the neighborhood—the Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby & Arts Festival—for three consecutive years. In an effort to leverage the sponsorship and make a lasting, positive impact on the neighborhood, BG presented the idea of the credit union teaming up with the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program to commission a public mural near its Fishtown/Kensington branch.

The two-year initiative was announced to the public at the event in 2015. PFCU invited local artists to submit applications to design the mural. The three selected artist teams each created an original design concept. Ultimately, the public selected a design that depicts members of the community who will make Fishtown/East Kensington a better place for future generations. There will be many opportunities for the community to get involved in the initiative, and the completed mural will be celebrated at a dedication ceremony at the Philadelphia Federal Credit Union Kensington Kinetic Sculpture Derby & Arts Festival in May 2016. To date, the initiative has engaged hundreds of community members and has garnered press coverage in local media outlets including The Philadelphia Inquirer, PhillyVoice, The Star and more.

08 09

Project Snapshot: Pop-Up BBQs

We created a summer event series known as the “PFCU Pop-up BBQs,” where we surprise members and neighbors in the community with BBQ fare and chances for existing members to earn cash for referring members and nonmembers to get access to special promotions. We hold these events during the summer months on the branches’ busiest days of the week. During these events, a street team interacts with hundreds of members and nonmembers at each event. On average, 25 nonmembers complete a member application on the spot, with many more taking information home with them and nearly every existing member leaving with member referral coupons.

09 09

Social Media

PFCU hosts several charity-oriented social media promotions each year. Social media posts about PFCU’s community involvement consistently outperform all other content, receiving on average 35% more engagement than all other posts. Our “Neighborhood Hero” contest, which asked fans to nominate a special community contributor to be featured in our advertising campaign, resulted in an 11% increase in Facebook likes and over 2,000 unique site visits and shares. In 2013, BG and PFCU partnered with Philabundance for a Virtual Food Drive on Facebook and Twitter, which raised over $3,000 toward meals for the homeless during the holiday season. For the past three years, our “Community Ties” promotion, a fan favorite, puts the power in our social media following to decide how much money PFCU will donate to nonprofits in the Philadelphia community.