There are two basic branding lessons that every credit union needs to learn:
It doesn’t matter what you say your brand is. It matters what everyone else says it is.
You can talk about how wonderful, caring and helpful you are to your members, but no one will believe it until they hear about it from a friend they trust. You can say you have the latest technology, but if your web site only works in IE6 everyone knows the reality. You can call yourself edgy, even rename yourself to match, but will anyone believe it if they see your branches or meet your staff?
Your brand is what others think when they think about you. It is the result of every interaction they have had with you, or heard about you, and (mostly) out of your control. Whenever interactions or events reinforce a commonly held idea, it becomes more and more accepted as truth.
People associate your brand with the things you actually do.
As marketers, we are used to controlling the visual cues of our brand (logo, colors, marketing, etc.) But to affect what other people think about your brand, you need to look at everything that you can do that impacts the lives of your members and the community. If you are always out there helping the community or members with problems, you will be known as caring. If you always have the latest UX, you may be known for edgy tech.