Credit Unions And Ketchup

Before you start to read any further, or if you start to read at all, and, to be fair, I have to warn you that there is a significant amount of ketchup talk in this article.

I must admit, I really, really like ketchup, and have for all my life. It’s a family thing. My dad drowned things in ketchup. So did my mom, and now I do too. 

These days there is a lot of talk about User Experience. People correct people on the differences between UI (User Interface), which is picking specific controls for the interface, and UX (User Experience), which is the flow, the order of things, the way people do things.

I came across a great graphic that depicts the difference between UI and UX perfectly, and I have been using it in my presentations.


Heinz has definitely perfected its Ketchup.

You have to change the way you think about the way your services are used. Heinz did this when they introduced the squeeze bottle.

I think that it’s interesting that Heinz didn’t figure this out until 2002. In fact, Heinz was slow to adopt it.

Some Ketchup History

Ketchup, originally called “Ketsiap,” was sold to the British by Dutch traders. Later on, farmers added tomatoes and sugar to the mix and viola, modern Ketchup was born. Today 96% of US households keep ketchup on hand, more than keep salt and pepper. The big ketchup design break through wasn’t t the plastic squeeze bottle; the breakthrough was upside down pouring. Heinz couldn’t do this until someone invented the valve that allows the bottle to be stored upside down but not stream out ketchup as soon as you open it. 

Check out this article on the history of ketchup.

So here we are in 2015, and I think the Credit Union Valve has been invented. Now we need to adopt it, and I think the metaphor of “pouring from the bottom” is perfect for the industry.


Use digital to expose our best ketchup!

Our people are important. Instead of trying to completely digitize our products and engineer people out of the transaction, we need to find ways to digitize both the transaction and the people experience. Think live talks with mortgage and loan representatives via FaceTime. Think interactive document sharing. Think about how to bring the CU Loan Rep into the room with the FI person at the dealership. Or, how to have a meeting with your Mortgage Rep IN YOUR LIVING ROOM! Via Skype!

None of this is new technology; we just need to turn the bottle upside down!

Find more French fries to put our ketchup on!

At some point Heinz realized that if they wanted more sales they would need people to put ketchup on more than burgers and fries. So how can we add value to other transactions with our ketchup? This is a great analogy for Payments. Right now we have Credit Cards (burgers) and Debit Cards (fries), but there is more opportunity in our virtual kitchen. We will be able to have direct relationships with merchants soon, and I bet our Ketchup tastes great on their dishes!

How do we move into other areas and create new recipes that use our Ketchup?

Get creative with the ingredients!

In 2000, Heinz tried to attract a younger generation with green ketchup, purple ketchup and other fun colors. The idea was to make ketchup interesting again. Turns out that this didn’t work, but they did discover they could manufacture different lines of ketchup. Today we have organic, reduced sugar, caged free (just kidding, I think all tomatoes are cage free), and reduced salt. How do we mix up ouringredients to create new offerings? What happens when we add same-day ACH to Bill Pay or add voice annotation to alerts? The sky is the limit, and all great chefs know that the key to adding delicious new dishes to their menus is finding new ways to please their customer’s palates. 


I am sure you are sick of hearing about ketchup by now.  I would love to hear more “pour from the bottom ideas” 



About the Author

John Best

John Best


Best Innovation Group

John Best is recognized as a thought leader and visionary of technology advancements and financial application development within the credit union industry.


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