Credit Union Branding and Differentiation

Not just a spiffy logo and motto.

Your brand is the total of everything your members experience and feel about your credit union, not just the superficial components like the logo. A deep understanding your brand is critical to, well, everything – from policy to products to member service quality to marketing and messaging.

We have a unique, flexible process to help you discover, rediscover, articulate, and understand your credit union's true brand -- what's the core of that emotional, authentic, and unique connection you share with your members?

And we'll help you learn to communicate, amplify, and live the brand. Whether you need a complete rename or rebrand or just a logo facelift, we'll work with you to establish a process and a plan that addresses your credit union's unique challenges.

When should we review our brand?

There are three points where credit unions need a brand review or audit, and possibly a refresh

Challenges - Declining numbers and you don't know exactly why? Issues with staff engagement? A big SEG moving out? A big SEG moving in? Is a bank is beating you up and stealing your lunch? Review where you are and how to amplify your brand to thrive.

Changes - New CEO? Charter change? Merger? Considering a name change? All of these are excellent reasons to review your brand and make the changes needed to keep growth on course.

Stagnation - Been sort of... drifting along? Are the numbers OK but not great? Is growth starting to flatline? Is the average age of your members going up? Have you heard the words "old fashioned" or "stuffy" lately? Shake things up, get back to your roots, and get that scrappy CU magic going again.

Our Process

Phase 1: Discovery/Strategy – finding common ground

The first step is rediscovering and articulating what is authentic about your credit union. What's the core of your unique emotional connections to your members? We use several tools to accomplish this, including:

  • Online Focus Groups - a unique, anonymous process for gathering vital emotional intelligence from staff, volunteers, members, and potential members. This is honest, unfiltered data you simply can't get from traditional surveys or focus groups.
  • Immersion - Our team spends a day or two on location recording video interviews with key staff and volunteers and gathering information to help understand what is truly unique about your credit union, and allow everyone to be heard.
  • Brand Audit & Market Research - This is a comprehensive review of all existing materials, MCIF and website data, and strategy/planning materials, as well as demographic, market, member behaviors, and competition research. We'll make the most of the data you already have and can access, and use this to develop a deep understanding of your existing strategies and decisions.
  • Presentation of Results and Recommendations - We'll return to present our findings and recommendations to your Board and Executive team, answer questions, and facilitate decision-making about the next steps.

Phase 2: Implementation – where your brand comes alive

At the end of Phase 1, everyone understands your brand and how it's defined, and there's a consensus on values, audiences, emotional messages, and short and long term strategies. Now it's time to make it all come alive and generate growth with world-class creative. Of course, options depend on your needs, but could include:

  • Renaming Options - If renaming is on the table, we'll help you explore and understand the options and make the best decisions. Depending on your needs, we could survey staff, volunteers, and members, and hold a name contest or vote to make sure every stakeholder has a voice. We can also generate name options, perform initial market research, facilitate decision-making, and arrange trademark searches.
  • Brand components - based on your needs, we can assist with all the elements to support your brand, such as:
    • Logo/Identity, Brand Colors, Typography
    • Website & Marketing Materials
    • Brand Manual
    • Stationery
    • Articulating your brand  and values through taglines, brand phrases, standards, etc.
    • Brochures and Collateral Templates
    • Marketing & Social Media Templates
    • Signage & Branch Materials
    • Card Design
    • Brand Launch Campaign