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Credit Unions, Forge                        

Personas: the essential first step toward remarkable member experiences

4.7 min read

In a post-2020 world, there’s a 100% chance that your credit union highly values your members and wants to tailor every channel to your members’ needs. After all, you’re a credit union — your members are a part of the fabric of who you are. But how do you ensure that the shiny new Forge implementation you’re considering will provide the unique and memorable member experiences you want to create for your new and existing members?

The answer, of course, is with personas. You’ve heard of them for various implementations and marketing projects, for sure. But, in the past, you may not have taken them seriously. They are sometimes seen as just a check-the-box exercise. The thing about personas, however, is that if you take them seriously and invest the time into crafting them carefully, you will be rewarded with the flexibility to deliver a personalized Forge experience that pays off huge dividends in unique value that caters to your current and future members at their core. 


Getting personas right is the difference between a bland member experience and a remarkable one.

But, how do we identify the ideal personas that we need to create? Well, it’s really a mixture of your credit union’s desired members and the members you already have. The key here is brand strategy and analytics. You need to know who is currently using your digital properties and what they are using them for. Once you know this, you can create personas for those members and understand their use cases. You can also create personas for that membership group that currently isn’t engaging in your digital properties and design an experience that will engage them and, ultimately, make them new members.

Some examples of personas you may want to create might be – the young family, small business, and elite prospects. These, however, are actually categories of personas — you’ll want to give your personas names, like, Jeff and Nancy, and backstories to fill in motivations. Maybe they are expecting a new baby and they’re a little nervous that the two-bedroom apartment they rent won’t work for them anymore. It feels too unsettled. They need to start considering a mortgage for a new home.

You don’t have to go crazy (but you can if you want, it might be fun) but it’s important that you understand credible motivations and influences for each of your personas. The key to harnessing the power of personas is basing them on real people. Although you create your personas and they are fictional (sorry Jeff and Nancy), they should be amalgams of real people who fit that demographic. You can even take a step ahead and provide more personalized experiences with Forge custom widgets


You need to really humanize the members you are looking to attract and retain.

This will help you to create a Forge experience that refers back to the people, the real people, that you were hoping to speak to in the first place. For example, does my mortgage content block belong higher, or lower on the page? Or is my community story more important? The answers to these kinds of questions can often be found in your personas. 

At each stage in the design of your Forge implementation, check with your fictional personas to make sure you’re making decisions that align with them. You can also verify those decisions with usability test groups that are made up of real people who fit your persona demographics. That way you can be confident at each step of the process that the real Jeff and Nancy are attracted and engaged by the digital experience your credit union is investing in. 


Interested in learning more about how important personas are for your Forge implementation? Check out our Forge Personas guide here.

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