what we do

We discover potential, build bridges, develop solutions, and most importantly create chemistry with consumers.

If you are reading this, you're probably wondering what we can offer your credit union or maybe you are family (Hi Mom!). We help our clients with brand strategy, product launches, campaign development, website design, guerilla marketing, viral videos, infographics, and all kinds of other cool things. Lists are great, but here's what we think is important:

WE DISCOVER what's truly important to the people you serve. We find ways to make your brand more memorable, more relevant and unique to make your communication most effective.

WE LISTEN to our clients' big dreams. In turn they often become friends. Then, we make it our mission to help those big dreams come true. We put our all into making our clients successful. Afterall, there is no greater joy than see people you care about succeed.

WE DEVELOP solutions. Bring us your scariest nightmare, and we can help you solve it. In fact, our favorite work has been when the odds were stacked against us.

WE BUILD bridges. We believe collaboration is the only way to get the best result. Often birthing a mutual baby inspires even the staunchest critic.

WE CREATE chemistry with consumers. We believe that honoring your members, keying into the right emotion and making it all unique is what creates results.

It's fun to do the impossible - Walt Disney

why we do it

We believe our clients are so much greater than they know. It's an honor to help them discover this about themselves.

Everyone is called to do something. We all want to make earning a paycheck into something grander than ourselves. We help others discover this potential.

As former credit union marketers, we get it. We feel the pressure when it comes to growing loans, gaining members, sitting in ALCO meetings (yawn), and becoming the designated front-line cheerleaders. We understand the battle with lending, the arm wrestling match with compliance, the joy of birthing new ideas - and we get amped by all of it. It's a strange love affair, but we adore the art and challenge of credit union marketing. For this reason, we left the comfort and safety of our former credit unions and set out on a journey to help others shine.

We aren't lifesavers or know-it-alls. To be completely honest, we even dislike wearing suits and sitting in meetings. We simply happen to be good at what we were called to do - helping credit unions stand taller by creating chemistry with consumers. We do it through highly creative and focused ideas, tested strategies, and understanding and honoring people.

This is why we are gira{ph}.

The door to success is always labeled PUSH. - Edward Filene

who we are

Kelley Parks

Creative {Catalyst}

For 9 years, Kelley served as the Vice President of Marketing & Business Development for Call Federal Credit Union in Richmond, VA. Her love for the credit union movement runs deep as she has been an active volunteer on a local and national level. She is an innovator and has been a member of the Filene Research Institute's i3 (Ideas, Innovation and Implementation) Team.

She's a blogger, a national speaker, and a catalyst for creative marketing. She's has received numerous awards, including the CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council's Marketer of the Year.

And if you ask her nicely she'll sing the alphabet backwards for you.

Zach Garster

Design {Maestro}

Though he has always had a passion for art and design, he has a degree in vocal music education, and has worked in a number of unique and diverse fields and environments. Zach is a curator of interesting hobbies and experiences (including playing the accordion at an extremely amateur level), making him a valuable designer and creative mind. He truly believes everything happens for a reason, and that his experiences have prepared him to approach new situations from a unique perspective. Zach couldn't be more excited to bring some of those perspectives to gira{ph} as Creative Director. He is a lover of reggae music, sweaters, craft beer, and good coffee. When he's not behind a screen creating beautiful things, he can be found singing show tunes, spending time with his wife, his dog and two cats, or noshing on some delicious Turkish cuisine.

Brianna Kelly

Desktop {Composer}

Bria's professional career has included a broad exposure to fine art, graphic art, music, and being deeply involved in the entertainment industry on an international scale through her involvement on two nationally televised shows (The Voice & America's Got Talent). It was during this time on these shows that she started to brand herself and her band for social media. Designing banners and flyers quickly developed into a love and passion for graphic design that ultimately led her to study it full-time at Virginia Commonwealth University. Bria graduated from VCU with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree in Graphic Design. When she isn't designing, Bria enjoys cooking, playing drums, and ordering cat toys on Amazon.

Alex Robinson

Multimedia {Ninja}

Alex has always enjoyed creating things behind the screen. He loves the creativity and problem-solving nature of design, which led him to pursue it as a degree while at Radford University. Alex started his design career at a fast-paced print shop before working as a full-time freelancer. From print and digital designs to motion graphics and video, he has experience working on a wide range of projects. He is constantly learning something new about design programs and techniques.

Alex loves music, photography, and spending time with friends and family. In his spare time he enjoys playing video games, shredding on his guitar, and adventuring with his dog Ellie.

Lisa Moore

Story {Teller}

Lisa began her career in credit unions at the ripe age of 15 as a Teller and has experience in nearly every area - consumer lending, mortgage lending, call center, operations, and member service. (Even janitorial service, although that was short-lived since she nearly accidently blew up the building...it's a long story).

At her former post at Pioneer West Virginia Federal Credit Union, Lisa spearheaded an effort to completely differentiate the credit union from the inside out with innovative marketing tactics and most importantly a new internal culture which led Pioneer to be #7 in the country for loan growth and awarded Federal Credit Union of the Year by NAFCU.

Lisa has a strong passion for the credit union movement, college football and deep fried pickles. She's won numerous awards in her career including CUNA's Best Practices.

James Pederson

Code {Monkey}

James is a web developer from Madison, WI with a particular emphasis on front-end development. He thrives on building solutions to help clients better serve their members and visitors.

He creates addictive, usable, and accessible websites and web applications that not only function well, but also display beautifully on all devices. He's also the major brains behind {ph}ormula, our web solution for credit unions along with a lot of wild giraph web projects and innovations.

When he's not coding, he enjoys a beer, hanging out with his dog, and going to see his friends' bands.

Mark Clarkson

Artist {Animator} Author

Mark creates graphics and animations, both 2D and 3D — everything from South Park-style cut-outs to photorealistic 3D spaceships conquering the galaxy.

He edits videos, and performs all manner of Photoshoppery, including photo restoration and repair. He writes fiction and non-fiction, including seven books and countless articles.

When not pushing pixels and words around for clients, he likes to make music videos featuring his scratch-built R/C planes.

Eric Gunzenhauser

Artist {Animator}

Eric graduated from The Art Institute of Philadelphia. As far back as Eric can remember he always wanted to work for non profit organizations, who make the world a better place. which is was drew him to working for credit unions. While he loves art in every form he particularly enjoys putting together 2D and 3D animations. He also does print and website design. Eric has many skills with video such as green screening and compositing, 3D motion tracking as well as Foley and sound design. In his spare time he enjoys listening to all type of music, watching movies and leading his friends in World of Warcraft.

He has an irrational love of infographics and will only drink one particular brand of whiskey.

No, Kelley & Lisa are not twins - or even sisters. Yes, James picked his own title. And yes, Mark really authored a bunch of books.

work we do

Here's a little sample of some of the fun work we do - from marketing campaigns to websites, innovations to product launches, guerilla marketing to viral videos. What a dream this is to get up each day and do what we love. Enjoy the show and tell.

web phormula

Simple, Powerful Web Content
Management for Credit Unions

As former Credit Union Marketers, we have first-hand experience with the best and worst in web content management systems - from clunky, inflexible admin tools to mammoth fees for hosting and service to contracts that handcuff credit unions to vendors for years.

This is why we built phormula - an easy to use , affordable, ridiculously flexible content management system that makes it super simple for credit unions to update content, and make the most of the web experience for members.

Here's what we love about it:

It's Flexible.
You'll be able to update just about anything. Change every photo, promotion, rate, and page. Plus, each admin tool is built uniquely for the credit union.

It's Intuitive.
You won't need a degree in Computer Engineering. It's beautifully designed to be simple and easy on the user.

It's Affordable.
No long term contracts. No outrageous hosting fees. You will be able to take the money you are currently spending on web hosting and servicing and put it right back into doing great work for your members.

It's Custom Built.
We build each site custom to each credit union based on what's important to your members and your brand.

It has features you wont find anywhere else.
As bonafide credit union nerds, we built in features we thought were cool and hope you will too.

Show members how much they can save on auto loans, visa credit cards, and personal loans by financing them with you. We've built calculators using your rates and compare them to the competition to show the actual savings your members can expect. Intuitively built into your pages, you can not only tell your members how you can help them, you can show them too.

We've also built an ATM and Service Center locator that's part of your website, not a link to a 3rd party. This way members see your credit union as part of a large branching system without having to experience a pop-up with a big warning they are leaving the credit union to go to another site.

words we write

We've written dozens of articles (and made a few videos) to help credit unions over the years. Here are a few of our faves:

7 Credit Union Principles

"If you want to be incrementally better, be competitive. If you want to be exponentially better, be cooperative." - unknown. Credit unions are cooperative financial institutions guided by 7 principles...

Read more..

7.2 Billion and my other favorite numbers

Dream a little dream here with me for a moment. Imagine if you worked for a financial institution that had more ATMs than the world's largest bank, rated #1 in service for 19 years running and consistently...

Read more..

Friends with Benefits: 5 BFFs every Marketer Should Have

It's a mad, mad world for credit union marketers. We are expected to increase footprints in the door, boost loan volume, raise membership, pat backs, kiss babies and cheerlead the staff to new heights.

Read more..

The Gift of Human Imagination

It's an oldie, but a goodie. Sir Ken Robinson talks about the power of creativity in his TED presentation. Go grab some coffee and shut your door. It's worth the 20 minutes. Trust me.

Read more..

Wake up and Smell the Garlic

Growing up in Charleston, WV I didn't have a colossal culinary selection for Friday night dinner with friends. However, since moving to Richmond, VA, I have acquired more liberal options for just about any occasion...

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Valuable Lessons we can learn from small credit unions

It seems many credit unions believe that "bigger is better". Many define success by "puffing out our chests" and staking asset size as a badge of honor. Having worked with many small credit unions, I've learned that small can be beautiful, nimble and closer to the credit union mission. Here are three lessons small credit unions have taught me...

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10 Pranks to Play on Your CFO

It seems that lately there is no one more stressed in the office than the CFO. Between low investment rates, Corporate Stabilization and not knowing what to do with the influx of deposits pouring in through the windows, these folks are in need of a good laugh.

Read more..

Branding Ideas

Decide what you want to be: Branding starts by deciding what really defines your organization. What are the key attributes? What do your members say about you? What do your staff say? Thats the brand.

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Be Glutonously Authentic

Located on Fremont Street in Las Vegas, NV is the Heart Attack Grill. (You read that right — Heart Attack Grill) It is decorated in red and white with an ambulance sitting at the front entrance.

Read more..

Remember when? How the Past can be Present

Ever driven down the road and a song plays on the radio that takes you back to a place and time in your past? Then suddenly you realize an involuntary smile warmly envelops your face?

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Crossing Monkey Bars

I'll admit I have a hard time letting go. I seem to attach sentimental value to nearly everything and everyone in my life. I see it happen so often in credit unions too. We hold on so tightly to our old ways, the people that no longer fit our culture, and our favorite security blanket, the status quo. Perhaps it's because credit union people by and large are kind-hearted, forgiving, and sentimenal souls. But letting go is an essential prerequisite to moving forward with just about anything worthwhile.

Read more..

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