most CUs have more of an identity crisis than an identity.

What are you known for?

Successful companies are known for something, usually their best-selling product. That something becomes representative of their brand identity. Once they are recognized for that product, they are able to then build on that base and expand their offerings, introducing just enough new variations each year to keep their market connected.

McDonald’s has a variety of food items, but where would they be without their Big Mac? Burger King without their Whopper? Without the iPhone, would Apple be the tech giant it has become? You know each and every one of these companies by name. You may not know everything they offer, but you do have a good idea of their product focus. Which is pretty amazing, considering how many companies are out there, vying for your attention.

Ask the average person what they know about Credit Unions and you’ll find that most CUs have more of an identity crisis than an identity.

Are they just like a bank, or something different? Don’t they both offer the same things? Let’s face it, even after all these years of trying, the average Joe just doesn’t know. And your Credit Union needs to be known for something.

So, what ONE thing are you known for?

Auto loans? Low VISA rates? ATMs and branches blanketing the market? Online banking so fast it will make your head spin? Chances are, you couldn’t pick just one thing. Chances are, you can come up with a complete menu of good, financially-healthy products and services that benefit your members. Lots and lots of great benefits, but so many that they blend together and nothing that stands out as uniquely yours.

If so, then what you offer is probably not much different than what the bank down the street offers. Ask yourself this: if you switched logos on your marketing and theirs, would anyone be able to tell?

If you can’t see the difference, how do you expect your market to see the difference?

So simplify. Get known for ONE thing. Ask your members what you do exceedingly well. Find your defining product or service, your product hero. If it turns out to be something as simple as always having the lowest auto loans around, embrace it completely and put it front and center in your marketing. Show your product hero as visually as possible in order to make an at-a-glance connection. Use copy points that articulate the benefits of belonging and that differentiate you from your competition.

Stand out. Or stay unknown.

Kent Dicken

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