Case Study
ORNL federal Credit union  


 ORNL Federal Credit Union (ORNL FCU) is the third largest credit union in the state of Tennessee. Dating back to 1948, this community pillar springs from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, which developed an atomic bomb that would end World War II. With innovation as the roots of its beginnings, ORNL FCU sought new ways to provide exceptional value to its credit union members. As part of this pursuit, ORNL FCU set out to develop a strategic plan that would help the credit union stand apart from other financial institutions in the area known as Innovation Valley. Ackermann was engaged to help chart this new course and provide executive marketing strategy that would impact every part of the organization, including, member service, community relations, branding, executive recruitment, and advertising.



In partnership with ORNL FCU, Ackermann helped craft a strategic marketing vision that would unfold in coordinated programs across three years. ORNL FCU would take a leadership role in the East Tennessee community in the area of financial literacy and credit union advocacy. The credit union would also implement a new brand. In addition, ORNL FCU would increase its legislative advocacy on behalf of all Tennessee credit unions to help reinforce the long-term sustainability of the credit union institution.

Ackermann was also a key leader in helping the credit union develop a community relations strategy to help communicate the organization’s efforts to support the local community. Other elements of the plan included employee communications, teambuilding programs, and a Cash Mob program targeted at local small businesses.



Over the next three years, ORNL FCU would unveil a new brand, develop innovative services products (e.g., mobile app, interactive teller machine, etc.), and communicate its community impact in a powerful way. After in-depth research with employees, members, and executive staff, Ackermann supported ORNL FCU in the development of a new bran position and helped shape the subsequent advertising campaign to bring the new brand to life. Employees became brand ambassadors at a brand launch celebration at Knoxville’s famous World’s Fair Park Amphitheater.


The credit union was also able to implement a community relations strategy based on four distinct community pillars: Financial Literacy, Innovation Advancement, Environmental Stewardship, and Community Improvement. The credit union’s commitment to community organizations aligned with these pillars and would be exemplified by over $100,000 in financial support and hundreds of hours of employee volunteerism. ORNL FCU also developed a local advertising campaign in collaboration with other area credit unions to promote the importance of credit unions to the East Tennessee community. ORNL FCU has since continued these efforts as part of its dream to be the best financial partner for its members by delivering unparalleled, enhanced member value.