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From Conservatorship to Community Champion: The Alabama ONE Story

Dantrel Robinson, Alabama ONE

Five years ago, Alabama ONE was not in a “fun place,” to say the least. The credit union had been placed into conservatorship, which can sometimes signal the beginning of a slow demise. But this particular story has a happy ending.

Marketing Manager Dantrel Robinson joins The Remarkable Credit Union podcast to talk about how Alabama ONE was able to not only survive, but flourish, rebuilding its brand and regaining community trust.

This month, we tackle the BIG question: What can we learn from a thriving credit union that was in conservatorship less than five years ago?

Key takeaways

  1. Alabama ONE’s old tagline, “The one to turn to,” was too me or we-centered on the credit union. As part of their rebrand, they they moved to, “One together” to emphasize their focus on the member.
  2. No one loves money for money’s sake. What matters are the freedoms that money offers and the quality of life that it provides.
  3. Storytelling is most effective when following the STAR format: situation, task, action, result.
  4. Some younger members have great jobs but lack the financial education from their upbringing to use that as a platform to prosperity. Alabama ONE is dedicated to helping set them on the right path.
  5. For Dantrel, his team is his North Star. He urges all of us to get out of silos and connect.

 

Read the full transcript:

Cameron:
Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Remarkable Credit Union Podcast. We created our podcast to help credit union leaders think outside of the box about marketing, technology and community impact. Each episode, we bring on expert guests for conversations about innovation. Our goal is to challenge your preconceptions about business as usual, and provide you with actionable takeaways that you can use to grow your membership, improve the financial health of your cooperative, and magnify the positive impact you have in your community. Today’s big question, what can we learn from a thriving credit union that is changing its community for the better that was in conservatorship less than five years ago?

Cameron:
All right. Today, I’m very excited to welcome Dantrel Robinson. Dantrel is the marketing manager at Alabama ONE. He’s got two big things he does there. First one, he’s focused on being the voice of the credit union, both metaphorically and literally. He’s often the spokesperson in their videos, produces their podcast. He’s the voice, apparently, on their phone system, writes a lot of the speeches for things like annual meetings. And then in addition, he’s the brand shepherd. They’ve got a really cool brand concept, which we’ll be talking about.

Cameron:
Another thing that is really cool is Dantrel is a professional musician. He was one of the early adopters of social media, and was part of the social media team for the Grammys back in 2009 and for a few years after that, so he’d actually fly out to L.A. And lead this. I was also a professional musician, but the difference between me and Dantrel is Dantrel is a voting member of the Grammys, and I can promise you, I was never asked to be a voting member of the Grammys, so that’s pretty amazing. And then lastly, Dantrel has four kids, and I think I’ve talked about it on the podcast, I can barely handle our 10-month-old baby. I don’t know how you do that. Much respect. Really excited to have you on here today, Dantrel.

Dantrel Robinson:
Absolute. Thank you for having me.

Cameron:
Thanks for joining us. One of the first things that stood out to me when we connected was just your authentic passion for Alabama ONE, your credit union. How would you describe your organizational strategy at Alabama ONE in one sentence?

Dantrel Robinson:
I would say that our organizational strategy is to put our members first. And it may sound a little cliché, but that statement really anchors into the word member, because as members externally, also as the teams, we are all members. We’re always putting the needs for our members first.

Cameron:
Is that this concept of whoever that member is, when they’re in front of you or engaging, they’re the one that you’re focused on, they’re the center of everything you do? Or is there another way you kind of… Tell us more about this brand shepherd role, I guess is where I’m going. I love this concept at a high level.

Dantrel Robinson:
Okay. Well, at a high level, definitely putting the member first means when I’m talking to someone in, say, the mortgage team or the accounting team, at that moment, one of our pillars at Alabama ONE is to give excellent member service. At that moment, that’s not just my teammate or my employee or colleague. Their presence at Alabama ONE helps secure the job and role that I have there, and I look at them as such. And we look at each other as such. We’re not just there. We don’t put on a different face for each other that we do for the member that comes in off the street. I think that’s what we do, and that is the brand. It’s not the color of the logo. That experience right there is our brand.

Cameron:
I always love that framing, that it’s flip sides of the coin, that brand and culture are inextricably linked. Yeah, great organizations, in my experience, understand that it’s not just a logo or a pretty new style guide. Let’s talk about marketing, perfect segue into marketing. You guys do a whole bunch. I was really impressed hearing the scope of everything you do. Maybe first off, how do you guys market yourself to your community, and where exactly in Alabama are you guys based?

Dantrel Robinson:
Okay. Good question. First, I’ll do the latter and then the former. We are located in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, which is about 40 miles southwest of Birmingham. It’s west Central Alabama. The field of membership of Alabama ONE covers actually now over 50 counties, so we’re pretty much a statewide franchise, but our home base is here in Tuscaloosa, which is also home to the University of Alabama football program university, and then the whole program with Nick Saban. “Where legends are made,” is the mantra of the city. That’s where we are.

Cameron:
And this is the football with the pointy ball, not the round one?

Dantrel Robinson:
Yes. Just to be clear.

Cameron:
Yeah, man. I don’t know. I like the round one better. No, I’m kidding. Yeah, your team’s pretty good. I think it seems like you won a title or two, I’ve heard.

Dantrel Robinson:
[crosstalk 00:04:17]. But a very, very passionate college town. Very, very robust membership, hard-working blue collar people. I’ll get more into that, but as far as how we market to them, that’s where we are. We market to them. We meet them where they are. I believe that we are very community partner. We’re not coming in to fix anything. We’re here to walk with you through your entire life cycle. Whether it’s helping you to get a home or helping to rebuild a baseball field after a tornado, it’s about being where our members are. And one thing about Alabama as a state is primarily rural areas. When it’s time to have transactions and do things as terms of your financial life, as a member there, you have to meet people in these rural areas, in these tight areas, and we have branches that meet those people in those areas. We just want to make sure we’re not there if something happens. We’re there when things happen, good or bad.

Cameron:
Love it. What’s been especially effective in this approach to marketing for you all?

Dantrel Robinson:
What has been very effective? And this is just a transparent moment that is not a big secret, but Alabama ONE has been around for about 70 years. And you should know, within that timeframe, there has been a set of setbacks and challenges. One thing that Alabama ONE has done is learn from that, has been very resilient, and we have grown from it. And I think what happened is, we started to create the brand where Alabama ONE is a community partner, where Alabama ONE is highly visible, but always focused on the member.

Dantrel Robinson:
Prior to another life at Alabama ONE, their slogan was, “The one to turn to,” and that means that we’re there to help, but I think that, a lot of times, that slogan made it seem like, “Look at us. We’re the ones to turn to.” And then now, our brand is, “One together,” one being that one goal, that one dream that this member has, and everything ties… No one loves money, but they love the accessibility and freedoms that it gives, the quality of life that it provides. What are the one things that impact those things?

Dantrel Robinson:
We want to come together. Instead of looking at us as the one to turn to, we make everything you-centric, very member-focused. What is your challenge? And your challenge is the one singular challenge that we’re focusing on in that moment. And I think that is indicative in how we talk in our branding, in our copy, and our photography. All those kinds of things speaks to our brand, and it creates a trust. At the end of the day, being consistent and being present and being transparent builds trust. And one thing about Alabama, they’re very passionate, and we are very big on trust, and once you break it, it’s super, super hard. I’m sure that’s like everywhere, but it’s a special kind of trust when it’s forged here, and it doesn’t erode easily. I believe our brand is really building momentum and gaining even greater trust in our community.

Cameron:
I love that. I’m a big believer in that notion that, as companies, we make big mistakes when we start to think of ourselves as the hero or the expert. We’re the guide or the Sherpa. We’re not the hero of the story. Sometimes, I’ll say, “We’re not Luke Skywalker. We’re Obi-Wan Kenobi.” But then I think, didn’t Obi-Wan die in the movies? Maybe Yoda is a better analogy. I don’t know. I’d love to hear… You alluded to this a little bit. You’ve got this really strong brand. I love this focus on you-centered language rather than us-centered language, centering on the member, not on yourselves. I think it is true everywhere, but I’ve heard that’s true in Alabama, that that depth of trust and commitment goes even deeper. Where have you guys had setbacks or failures? You alluded to this, but what were some of the specific failures, and what did you learn from them?

Dantrel Robinson:
Okay. I will say this. I want to make the story in what I call the STAR format, the situation, task, action, result. Way prior to whenever I came along and a lot of my team members came along, Alabama ONE, as an organization, went through some challenges. Not to get into a lot of specifics, because I wouldn’t be able to speak on them intelligently. But they got in conservatorship, and anyone in the credit union world knows that’s not a fun place to be. Being under conservatorship and being under that level of scrutiny, and more importantly, breaking that trust in the minds of some people, or not, as far as how they were impacted. But nevertheless, conservatorship is not a place any financial institution, particularly a credit union, wants to be when they’re trying to be a trusted partner.

Dantrel Robinson:
What I love about this story is that Alabama ONE had that negative connotation. And true honesty, when I was looking and being recruited for this role, people in Alabama, because I’m a transient, was like, “Hey, that place has been through some troubles.” They didn’t know the whole story. And over time, in a very short amount of time, the very person that was assigned to regulate and monitor the conservatorship has now become the CEO, and he has this vision of helping the people in Alabama and creating systems and building a team and having a different strategic vision to help rebuild that trust. I came on as that vision was already put forth, and I was blessed enough to be added to this team. But to have a CEO and a leadership team and a board that have now come together to turn the ship, which is a slow turn when you’re talking about a big ship, and to even see us begin as a $600 million credit union in these types of trials.

Dantrel Robinson:
And now, because of the branding, because of the team, because of the organizational structure, because of the strategy to build a lot of community equity, if you will, and professional equity in the business community. In what would normally be a seven to 10-year plan, to see it come full circle in about three to five years, to go from conservatorship to now you’re merging credit unions, you’re buying institutions. Through a pandemic, you’re stable, you’re strong, there’s no dips, productivity increased, you’re breaking 70-plus year records in mortgage and lending. It’s just a tremendous story to see them go, not to just survive conservatorship, but actually thrive and regain that trust with people. Now, there’re some that are still going to have their quirks and issues, but overall, as a brand and as a team of almost 200 individuals, we now turned that ship, if you will, in a better direction for our members, and we’re now starting to build momentum in the right direction.

Cameron:
What a great story. I love seeing and hearing about leadership in action. It sounds like a key piece of your success has really been, as you talked about, building and rebuilding trust in the community. I’d love to talk about positive social impact on the whole. I know you guys do a lot of work on financial wellness, you really care a lot about your community. But maybe, before we get to what you guys do, what are the biggest problems in the community you serve, and how do you guys choose which ones to focus on?

Dantrel Robinson:
Okay. I think that we, as an organization, of course, we’re very community-driven, and there are three areas that we really focus on. One is definitely in our nonprofit and civic sector. We partner, of course, with United Way, and that opens the doors to a slew of other different agencies that service us, everything from autism to disaster recovery relief, things like that. We put our dollars and our talents through volunteer hours to support a lot of those initiatives, not just during the holidays or when disaster strikes, but it is an ongoing initiative. From Adopt a School and Junior Achievement, there’s always a calendar. Even during the pandemic, there were virtual calendars where we addressed those needs as a partner with nonprofits.

Dantrel Robinson:
I think the second place that we focus on with our products and services, we are extremely competitive with our rates, as most credit unions are, but we definitely stay with our members throughout the life cycle. When we look at our members all the way from being a Berenstain Bears kid to club member, to being a normal adult with a checking and savings, and maybe CDs. We even have an insurance agency, which a lot of credit units may not have, but we have an insurance agency, we have Wealth Advisory. We have a lot of other components to stay with you throughout the entire life cycle, not just through a life event. I think one thing we do well is focus on the life cycle of our members. Our members are very unique.

Dantrel Robinson:
I will say this, Cameron, to paint a picture for you. In Tuscaloosa, Alabama, you can turn 18, graduate from high school, hopefully go to University of Alabama or one of the local community colleges, and go through your life and be prepared. You can also be an 18-year-old that goes to Mercedes plant. There’s a Mercedes plant a few miles outside of town. There’s a couple other… Amazon is building a hub. There’s also a Carvana plant being built around here. Alabama is home to a lot of big tech area and factories. An 18-year-old can go there or go to junior college for a year, get trained in the skill, and make up to 60 to $70,000 a year.

Dantrel Robinson:
And now, because of maybe the education system or being in a rural area, here’s this 18-year-old with all this money and all this opportunity. And the gap in this area, Cameron, is that a lot of them are not getting the financial wellness education, and they don’t have it generationally to understand the opportunity they have to catapult their family in a totally different direction, one that is not from scarcity and living check-to-check, and we fill that gap.

Dantrel Robinson:
I think one of the best things we do, our superpower as a credit union outside of our products and services, is being able to fill that gap with a lot of millennials and young adults and even older adults. There’s opportunity. People think of Alabama sometimes as being super rural and a lot of poverty, but there’s actually a lot of prosperity that just needs to be channeled in a better direction for the betterment of the person that’s out there working hard for that money. And I think that’s the other area that we focus on very well. Financial wellness is not just a buzzword. It’s not just a software saying financial literacy. It is literally helping people see that they don’t have to be starving while sitting on a ham sandwich, is what I like to say.

Cameron:
I like that. You don’t have to be starving while sitting on a ham sandwich. I like that. What if you don’t like ham?

Dantrel Robinson:
We have to change that. We’ll just say while sitting-

Cameron:
We got to change it.

Dantrel Robinson:
… on a falafel or something. That’s one of my favorites.

Cameron:
All right. That sounds pretty messy. One of the things I’m really passionate about is the importance of measuring impact. I think it’s really easy to have it just be lip service and say, “Oh yeah, we got an impact report, or we do some PR work.” But I think if we can’t measure something, we can’t improve it, we can’t hold ourselves accountable. How do you guys measure success in this impact work?

Dantrel Robinson:
A few ways. We have the traditional Google Analytics when we do things. A lot things, we do online, so we’re monitoring metrics and hits of different programs and landing pages that we do. Another place is we’re very robust with email marketing. Thankfully, I say we have 60% of our members, we have emails on, so we send out emails to 35,000 people when we do, if it’s something mass. Seeing the impact of that, doing A/B testing on subjects and concepts, and seeing that, and segmenting our membership so we can tailor things.

Dantrel Robinson:
Another measurement we do in our mobile app and online banking, we have ads that are targeted based on the relationship we have with that member. Right now, we just launched a mortgage campaign, so now, we want to target the people that have our app, our members that have car loans and maybe a credit card, but don’t have a mortgage. We want to make sure we serve that ad to them in the app. Now, we just start seeing, is there a move on the needle of share from that?

Dantrel Robinson:
Another thing we look at is transactions. We see, how are we doing on wallet share on number of transactions? Things like that are very technical and grassroots in that respect, but from a community impact, we look at how we’re pushing those things in the community, particularly on how we do it online, and then measuring from there. Again, going back to more transparency, we just got a new director, and we’ve been talking a lot about how to build out that strategy even further, and drill down and have more segmented, targeted, purposeful, intentional marketing. It’s something that we recognize. And again, we’re just in that momentum-building phase in a lot of areas, and that’s one of them.

Cameron:
I’d love to hear a little bit about, because you and I briefly talked about this when we first connected several months ago, just the culture of credit unions in the South and how that compares to other parts of the country. I’m just a big lover of diversity, and I’m always amazed at how different America is region-to-region, within regions. Just tell us a little bit about what credit unions in the South are like and what we can learn from that.

Dantrel Robinson:
Well, I’ll say this, Cameron. I grew up in the Midwest, and I started off as a credit union member in Indiana. And I’ve lived in the South. I’ve lived here in Birmingham, Atlanta, Houston, Montgomery. Did a stint in Calgary, Canada. I’ve seen credit unions in all those different areas. And honestly, Cameron, as I sit here now as a resident of the South, the culture here, not just with us, within our league of credit unions, is pretty much what I’ve seen the same. It’s community-focused, it’s putting our members first, it’s recognizing a member as an owner, it’s being visible in the community and finding a niche, which, in our case, is financial wellness. And another place, it may be more about home-buying another. Another one may be just more literacy. I think that the culture in the South is pretty much indicative of the general credit union culture.

Dantrel Robinson:
One place I haven’t been as far as seeing the credit union culture is out West, which I know is more your neck of the woods. I’d like to know more, because a lot of the credit unions that I follow on social media are out West, because it’s so different. But it’s more so underlying, if you will. I don’t think there’s a difference, but I’m curious as to what the West has in that space. But it’s more of, you’ll get the same passion in the same areas no matter where you go. In Southern Alabama, you may get a little more Southern drawl. We may talk about it over biscuits and gravy or something. I don’t know. But from what I’ve seen in the several states I’ve lived in, it’s the same passion. But uniquely, I’m not very familiar with how the West does it. Cameron, I’m curious as to how it is there for you.

Cameron:
It’s always fun when someone turns the podcast back around on me. I’m like, “I thought I was the one who asked the questions here.” But I’m also thinking about biscuits and gravy right now. That sounds delicious.

Cameron:
I think one of the things I’ve really been impressed with is, in the Northwest, there’s just a super engaged association, and they’re just very forward-thinking. And they’re really both driven towards growth, but they’ve also done, collectively, some really robust measurements of their social impact. I think, just from the little bits I’ve seen, it’s an area that really seems to be, I would say, empowered and energized. And I think, depending upon where I’ve been in my own experiences, work can be hard, and dealing with the regulators can be hard, and I think some areas seem to be a little more battered, shall we say. And I generally find, in the Northwest, there’s a real energy and passion and a lot of connection to the heart and soul of the credit union movement, which I think is really great.

Cameron:
But as you said, I love this quip that I think I learned in the DE training through the National Credit Union Foundation. As credit unions, we’re on an ever-changing journey towards a never-changing purpose, and I think that captures really well with what you said, Dantrel. There’s going to be some regional differences, but the heart and soul and movement are the same wherever you go.

Dantrel Robinson:
Well, I will say this about it. As you talked, one thing came to mind. Our league of credit unions down here is awesome. When we talked about that story of going from conservatorship to just thriving and overachieving, our league, the other credit use in the Southeast really embraced it. I think, when I first got started here, we were named credit union of the year. Like I said, literally going from conservatorship to credit union of the year. We’re voted every year for best of the best in our region. We were just picked up by Forbes last year as being one of the best credit unions in the state. It’s a tremendous story.

Dantrel Robinson:
I will say that, as the South right now, this is my analogy. This is where I want you to get ready for it. Every superhero movie has that moment when a superhero discovers he has that power, or she has that power. That is where we are right now in our journey. Not just that Alabama ONE. I think, as a credit union community, we are discovering these powers, and instead of it just being one superhero, every member can be a superhero. It’s like we’re just finding out, “Hey, we can fly,” or, “Hey, we can shoot webs.” That’s where we are. “Hey, we have these tools that can actually change the trajectory of our lives, and we just have to harness it.” That’s where we are.

Cameron:
I think that sounds spot-on to me. I just finished a great book called Everything for Everyone, which is this history of cooperatives. Really fascinating book, and it goes really broad-ranging. It looks at technology platforms, it looks at things that I never would’ve thought of being cooperatives, and just the cooperative movement across all these different sectors. And one of the things that they said… We converted PixelSpoke to be a worker-owned cooperative 15 months ago, and we’re really passionate about the cooperative movement. Not just consumer co-ops like credit unions, but also worker-owned co-ops, and there’s there’s other flavors out there.

Cameron:
And in any case, what this book said that really made sense to me was that, throughout history, when we have big economic setbacks is when cooperative movements always get this… They accelerate, they grow, they scale. And I think we’re in one of those moments right now, where the societal need is so great. Yeah, there’s a lot of stimulus money floating around out there, right? There’s been a lot of government programs. But at the end of the day, there are a lot of people hurting. And in general, the social inequalities have been exacerbated on the whole over the last year. And I think, into that space, credit unions are one of the superheroes that we need to step, and it’s great to hear what you all are doing in Alabama ONE along those lines.

Dantrel Robinson:
It’s an honor, to be honest. Again, look at the lives changed, and now we’re at a place where we can see it, see how it’s making that impact. That’s what it’s all about.

Cameron:
I have a question, Dantrel. We didn’t talk about this a whole lot. I’m just really curious.

Dantrel Robinson:
That’s cool.

Cameron:
I’m going to put you on the spot. We’ll see what your thoughts are. All your work around the brand and being the voice of Alabama ONE, and you had talked about this when we first connected a couple months ago like, “Boy, there’s been a lot of conversations around racial justice, racial strife.” It’s just been a stretch where the country has been tearing itself apart, and I feel like I see this everywhere I go. And there’s so much passion, and organizations are being asked to speak about things in a way that they never have before. I’m just curious. How has that played out at Alabama ONE? Whether you think about it in terms of diversity, equity, and inclusion, or you have some other label, how are you guys addressing, for your members, a lot of the questions that really were ignited with the murder of George Floyd back in 2020?

Dantrel Robinson:
Well, it’s funny you bring that up, because it all goes back to your podcast. You had a guest, and I apologize. I do not recall her name. It wasn’t the one that was your mentor. It was another young lady that spoke prior to George Floyd. This was actually right at the cusp of the pandemic. I just raised it up to our HR director and our CEO just about how this is important. And I believe that we do it. We do it intrinsically there, which I love. We are a very, very diverse credit union in terms of team. We reflect our members, not just in race, but in every other facet. Socioeconomic, work, everything. We lifted it up based off your podcast, and we had conversations about it, and we understood the importance that maybe we need to start putting some things more concrete in place. And then George Floyd happened, and then people on social media acting crazy, even internally.

Dantrel Robinson:
What I loved, again, going back to our CEO and our leadership team, we actually sat down as a team and had a round table discussion where members… A lot of people don’t understand a lot of our frontline workers and a lot of our support staff are African-American. And to see those images and to experience those things and to still go to work every day, still serve our members regardless of race, color, creed, what so have you, there was a tension that I felt as an African-American man that I saw in my other counterparts. We felt it, but it was very unspoken. But it was felt, and our leadership team took the time to say, “Okay, let’s stop. Let’s come together. Let’s have a talk, because there are things that a person that’s not African-American or not a woman or not Hispanic or not [inaudible 00:24:22], there’re some things we don’t understand because we’re not looking at it from your vantage point, and we want to hear it.” And I’m talking about to the point, Cameron, where tears were shed.

Dantrel Robinson:
I made an analogy of how our CLO and I are the same age. We have pretty much a very similar upbringing. We’re very, very much alike in lifestyle and life journey, but there’s a difference when those blue lights flash behind your car. It changes. I’m not saying to experience it. I definitely don’t want someone else to feel it. But for a leadership and for an organization to say, “Okay,” and they hear it and embrace it, and no one’s ever asked for an apology, but just to say, “Hey, I heard you. I cannot empathize, but I sympathize, and we’re going to make sure we don’t let this be an underlying current in our organization. And if anyone even hints at inequality or has some type of non-supportive cooperative rhetoric, that will not be tolerated.” And the fact that it did not have to come to a critical mass for that conversation to happen, I think it was outstanding.

Cameron:
I think that speaks to leadership, once again, like you said. That’s a really great story, and I commend you and your whole organization. It feels a little sad to me, actually, because I love a lot of things about the internet, but it does feel like the seeming outcomes of social media and digital media in general has been a reduction in the number of safe spaces to really connect with and care for each other.

Cameron:
I’m a big believer in… Who is that? It’s Thomas Friedman’s quote that it’s easy to break things, but it’s harder to make things, and I think that creating that safe space for understanding is what allows us to listen to each other, allows us to come together and build things. And I’ve always believed that, as humans, we ultimately pretty much all want the same things, but it’s these tribal things that end up dividing us and making it hard to listen. That just sounds like an amazing experience. I can tell you, in my company, we have an amazing set of people, and we have some really great facilitators for some of these sorts of conversations, but to do it in an organization of 200 people that have that much heart and safety is really amazing.

Dantrel Robinson:
Thanks.

Cameron:
Yeah. Thank you for sharing. I was thinking about all of your particular role and other things you’ve done elsewhere in your career, and I just thought it’d be great to hear from you on this topic. I would like to completely change paths and go to some rapid-fire questions, a little more lighthearted.

Dantrel Robinson:
Okay, good.

Cameron:
You’re a musician, man. It sounds like you’ve done all kinds of cool stuff. What is the song you’re most embarrassed to admit you like?

Dantrel Robinson:
The song I’m most embarrassed? Groove Is in the Heart by Deee-Lite.

Cameron:
Groove Is in the Heart by Deee-Lite. All right. I got to look that one up.

Dantrel Robinson:
It has a cameo by Q-Tip from A Tribe Called Quest before they were big. It came out in 1991.

Cameron:
All right. Well, I love Q-Tip. I’ll check that out. What’s your life slogan?

Dantrel Robinson:
Wake up and dream. I think dreams that are just in the confines of your subconscious is not a dream. When we talk about dreams, we talk about things that we actually want in reality. If you want that, you have to be awake.

Cameron:
What’s in the trunk of your car right now? Don’t tell me. No bodies. None of that. What do we got?

Dantrel Robinson:
Funny thing. I was just in my trunk from before I came in here. Inside the trunk of my car, there is a wooden treasure chest, a backdrop, and a 24-inch television, all in a sedan trunk.

Cameron:
That’s good. I keep waiting for someone to tell me it’s something super inappropriate. That’s just a good… What are you doing with all that stuff? Why is it in your car?

Dantrel Robinson:
Well, the treasure chest, I thought would be something cool for… I have three girls at home, so I thought it’d be something cool to put their little barrettes and candy, and you actually call it like a treasure chest. I thought it’d be something cool, because my daughters are 13, seven and one, so they’ll like something like that. The television is actually something I’m going to use as a monitor at home. I got an arm I want to put it on, and it was cheaper to get a TV than a monitor, so there’s that. That’s my main purpose.

Cameron:
I love it. You got it all in there. All right. You have to wear a shirt with one word on it for the next 365 days. What is that one word?

Dantrel Robinson:
Dope. Dope.

Cameron:
Dope. All right. I like it. And lastly, I’m going to get real personal. Boxers or briefs?

Dantrel Robinson:
Briefs.

Cameron:
All right. I think that was an interview with Bill Clinton or someone. As a kid, I was like, “I want to ask that sometime.” I guess I got a podcast, so I get to do that.

Cameron:
Dantrel, thank you for joining. I really just am amazed with everything you guys are doing. I love your authentic passion and obviously all that you bring to your community and your job. Before we close, is there anything you didn’t get to that you’d want to share, or anything you want to reiterate for our audience?

Dantrel Robinson:
Yes. I know a lot of us that share this podcast. Like I said, I was always a listener prior to even connecting with you. I’ve been blessed to do a lot of great things with a lot of great organizations, with a lot of great people. But I think changing from consumer goods, like working at Coca-Cola and Hewlett-Packard and oil and gas and energy, to make this change later in my career into the credit union world, I thought it was going to be another place where it was going to be I was the lone wolf that just sat back and was creative, but I really got to see the team effort. All the success that Alabama ONE has experienced has nothing to do with Dantrel and everything to do with this team of almost 200 people working together to serve our members, and that is something I think that, as credit union marketers, we should always let be our North Star with the things that we do for our credit union. Let us know that it is a team effort. We’re only as good as the bond of our team. Sometimes we get caught in these silos, sometimes people paddle out on us as individuals, but understanding that, even if you’re by yourself, you are a part of a collective that is making a positive impact. And I think that’s been my North Star on frustrating days.

Cameron:
Beautifully said. Well, you guys sound like you have an amazing team from what you’ve said, as well. Thank you for taking the time and sharing your wisdom, and just hope you have a ton of continued success with all that you guys are doing.

Dantrel Robinson:
Same to you.

Cameron:
All right, folks. Another really enjoyable podcast. Definitely the first time I’ve ever had someone who was a voting member of the Grammys on the podcast. Dantrel is such an interesting guy. I love what he’s up to.

Cameron:
A few of my key takeaways. I really loved how he talked about their old tagline. “Turn to us,” was too me or we-centered on the credit union, so they moved to, “One together.” Reminds me of something we used to do over a decade ago at my company. It was a user experience messaging principle, and we’d basically print out someone’s homepage, and we’d just circle in red every time that they talked about us, me, we, and we’d circle in green every time they said you, and it was this really powerful way to show how customer-centric the language was on a website. Just as a default, we tend to spend a lot of time talking about ourselves, and I think the shift that they’ve gone through shows how powerful that can be.

Cameron:
I love the reminder that no one loves money. It’s what you do with it that we love. Although maybe some of us do love money a little bit, but I think that’s just really helpful to center in money as a tool for facilitating meaning, rather than in and of itself. I always love little useful tidbits, and I loved Dantrel’s storytelling framework of STAR, situation, task, action, result. And I thought it was really interesting, with all the good work they’re doing in their community, the care for their members, just highlighting how, for them, despite what some of the perceptions might be, that they’re really focused on taking care of this group of younger members who have really great jobs. 18, 19 years old, and have a great job at one of these companies, but they lack the financial education from their upbringing or schooling to use that as a platform towards prosperity, and how important it is for them to focus on that and supporting those members.

Cameron:
And then lastly, I just loved Dantrel’s focus that the team is his North Star, and focused on getting out of silos, getting out of whatever his space is in marketing, and connecting with the entire organization, so that he can be their biggest champion and cheerleader.

Cameron:
All right. Thank you for joining us today for another great episode. Until the next time, I wish you the best of luck in making your credit union remarkable.

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