How much do your members or customers love you? Enough to decorate their house with your logo?

Hidden Valley – a salad dressing company credited with making ranch dressing a household condiment – made headlines recently by introducing a super-sized bottle of its famous ranch dressing for the holidays. The “magnum” bottle is just shy of two liters and comes wrapped in brown paper and primed for holiday gift giving.

The company also released a line of holiday gifts ranging in price from $25 to $150. The line includes a Christmas tree topper that looks like a bottle of ranch dressing, holiday wrapping paper, a ranch dressing holiday sweater and a 6.5-foot inflatable ranch dressing bottle to complete the ranch lover’s outside holiday décor. The tree topper sold out in one day. Yes…one day. Hidden Valley clearly is feeling the love from consumers.

Ranch dressing and financial institutions have something important in common. They are both commodities. Head to any grocery store and you’ll find more ranch than the average person can eat in a lifetime. Drive down the main road of most cities and you’ll pass more than a handful of financial institutions – dozens in larger cities.

Yet, Hidden Valley has accomplished something many financial institutions have been struggling to do for years. It turned a commodity into a household favorite. The dressing giant has created a customer base so loyal, they’re not only willing to advertise Hidden Valley’s products on their clothing and in their yards, they’re actually paying to do it.

Here are some of their not-so-hidden secrets your credit union or bank can use in your marketing strategy to stand out from the competition.

They market where their competitors do not.

How many ranch dressing commercials have you seen on television? I don’t even watch much television, yet I can still see in my head the commercials of families gathering at the ranch to enjoy a meal that includes ranch dressing. When developing next year’s budget and strategic plan, make room for spending money on marketing in unique spaces where your competitors are not.

They engage consumers on their website.

Granted, recipes sell themselves, but if you look at the Hidden Valley website, it isn’t just recipes. It has a fun reward program which rewards consumers not only for using the product, but for watching videos and using the website to engage. The smallest section on its website is about its products. Don’t treat your website like a brochure. Make it dynamic. Tell stories of how consumers have benefitted by using your products.

They do one thing well – ranch dressing.

Strong businesses don’t try to do everything well. They have their niche. Hidden Valley does ranch. It diversifies its product by creating different flavors of ranch, but ranch is its core business. You can’t be all things to all people. As you build a lasting brand for your credit union or bank, find your niche customers or members and give them the products they need. Discontinue irrelevant products and services.

Hidden Valley has proven you can stand out in a saturated market. Now, it’s your turn.

Image Source: Hidden Valley