We can’t believe it’s already been 22+ years since we first opened our doors. And 22+ years of creating strong, savvy marketing and growth strategies for credit unions. Time flies, it surely does.
We incorporated in December of 1995 and were fortunate enough to land our first credit union account in early 1996—AEA Credit Union (now KeyPoint Credit Union), headquartered in Silicon Valley. Then a SEG-based credit union, AEACU focused primarily on large, high-tech companies like Apple, Google, etc. That experience made us realize how much we loved working with credit unions. Because lots of businesses say they care about their customers—credit unions actually mean it.
Then in 1997, as Raoust+Partners was really starting to take off, we were hired by Affinity Federal Credit Union, based in New Jersey (the state’s largest credit union). This was another critical relationship in the development of our firm.
And while our overall client base expanded to include a variety of B2B and B2C businesses in many diverse (and some pretty arcane) industries, we came to realize that our preference was to work with credit unions. In 2001 we came to the decision to focus pretty much all of our attention and energies on credit unions. And, so it has been ever since. From our first two credit unions, we’ve built a national reputation in the movement and a client portfolio of work that spans the country and incudes 45+ credit unions.
Throughout the years, we’ve adopted a Full Contact mentality. Where typical marketing groups narrowly focus on a campaign or an initiative, we take a no-holds-barred, holistic approach. Nothing gets looked over. Nothing gets missed. Nothing is too insignificant. We know that the truest expression of branding looks at every possible facet of the credit union—the history, the culture, the community, the membership, the staff, products, services—and then addresses each one. Every possible facet is seamlessly integrated with ONE consistent brand voice.
Raoust+Partners ultimately picked Hampton to call home because we realized that if we were going to invest in a business, we wanted to invest in the community as well. In 1999, we purchased what was literally a “crack” house in downtown Hampton—a true Prairie Four Square built in 1907—with phenomenal bones and brilliant architectural details. But sadly, at that time it was also a complete wreck. We spent two full years in a studs-out renovation of the existing house and then built an architecturally true addition of equal size onto the back. We made sure to retain as many of the original details of the house as we could. So, if you ever come for a visit, you’ll see beautiful leaded windows and interior moulding to die for. In some areas, we were even able to preserve the original wood floors. Now, she’s the gem of the block, and that makes us very proud.
Much like credit unions believe in investing in their communities, we do, too. At the end of the day, we’re the fabric of this community, and we want our own community to grow and thrive.
We don’t have account people—we have creative people. When you deal with us, you deal with every one of us, which cuts out the middleman (who too often throws a monkey wrench into the mix). This also means that we don’t have tons upon tons of projects going on. Instead, we have clients—long-term relationships that give us (and them, we believe) the incredible satisfaction of watching these credit unions grow and their brands continue to evolve.
Some would say this philosophy has limited our growth. We don’t necessarily agree, but we don’t mind, either. We aim to provide the best credit union marketing and growth strategies and services to our clients, and this is how we do it.