How To Refresh And Rebrand

A rebranding initiative is a significant undertaking for a credit union. This week, profiles several credit unions that have made the change work for them.

A rebranding initiative is a significant undertaking for a credit union. It trades the familiar for the foreign in an attempt to refresh or reenergize its branding and mission statements, its membership, and even its employees. It requires patience, careful study, and, in some cases, years of preparation before a change of this magnitude can be realized.

For Elements Financial Federal Credit Union, the story begins in 2008 the former-Eli Lilly Federal Credit Union, transitioned from a single sponsor charter to multiple employer group charter. A significant move because since 1930, the credit union had solely served Eli Lilly and Company employees, retirees, contractors, and family members. And this one change would beget more.

Other employer groups were added to the credit union’s member-base and, quickly, the way Eli Lilly Federal Credit Union marketed and communicated to members, its business community, and the public at large shifted dramatically.

That’s when the idea to change our name started to bud, says Michelle Payne, the credit union’s assistant vice president of branding and communications.

To learn more about the seven year rebranding process of how Eli Lilly became Elements Financial read The Elements Of A New Brand by Callahan writer Erik Payne.

It was March 2014 that Bill Winter retired as the president and CEO of St. Cloud Federal Credit Union. A 40-year veteran of the credit union, his departure presented both challenge and opportunity. When Jed Meyer was hired as Winter’s replacement in May of that year, he aimed to embrace both.

In second quarter 2014, once Meyer started, St. Cloud had grown loans by more than 15% year-over-year and shares by 5% in that same period, both well above asset- and state-based peer averages at that time. But before the growth, Meyer says, he inherited a credit union with high employee and member engagement. Still, Meyer saw opportunity. A way to modernize the credit union without losing its sense of past.

St. Cloud would revamp its brand package. That meant: new logo, new slogan, new mission and vision statements, and new core values. And to see how that CEO change gave St. Cloud license to make a meaningful change, read A Brand That Meets Past With Present, by Callahan writer Erik Payne.

Behavior is the brand at Element Federal Credit Union, where social action combines with engaged service to increase membership and deepen relationships.

The West Virginia credit union uses very little traditional marketing and advertising, choosing instead to build business and brand recognition with equitable lending practices that are cognizant of the area’s economic needs, hyper-local environmental and charitable efforts, social media, and an abiding attachment to the state it calls home.

We serve West Virginia, says Linda Bodie, president/CEO of the 4,671-member credit union who goes by the less-common title of chief innovator. This is our home. This is who we are. We’re committed to their future and ours, financially and socially. We care about their finances and the community we share.

To read how emotional appeal and product delivery shows behavioral economics at work at the credit union, read Callahan senior writer Marc Rapport’s article, Element Builds Brand One Relationship At A Time.

Happy Reading!

December 14, 2015

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