Rebranding: throwing Baby out with the bathwater?

Rebranding is all about getting to the core of who you are. When you strip away all the products, branches and systems, the underlying purpose, heart and soul of the credit union is an optimist’s belief in people helping other people, making the world a better place. There is an emotional connection there that other businesses just don’t share. It’s like being part of a family – especially to someone that has been involved in the CU for a long time.

To a Board Member the credit union is their Baby, one that they may have nurtured for 40 years or more. Even if they are aware of their CU doing the Slow Fade, they tend to be unwilling to make any change to the status quo. It’s not that they are ignoring the future, it’s more that they don’t want to lose any connection with their history. That’s usually why the thought of changing something such as their name/their brand has them so concerned. They are worried about throwing Baby out with the bathwater.

Which, to be fair, sometimes happens.

Plenty of creative teams prefer to start over completely when rebranding; wipe it clean, and start with a blank piece of paper. It’s usually easier to come up with something truly unique when there are no limitations.

There are even times that is needed – such as a request from the original SEG to no longer use their trademark, or a new FOM designation that greatly expands membership possibilities in an area that has no connection to the name.

Unfortunately, when you toss everything out, it’s easy to lose something essential to the credit union in the process.

That’s why rebranding has to be a strategic move, and the Board has to be involved in the decision to make that move. Once the decision has been made, then it becomes the creative team’s job to achieve a balance; paying homage to history while opening doors to the future.


Kent Dicken

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