The strength of your brand directly impacts the strength of your bottom line. And like other areas that impact your bottom line, your brand requires periodic evaluation and investment to stay healthy.
Successful brands evolve while staying true to their core value or purpose. Rebranding or refreshing your brand is a strategic process that helps you gain quantitative and qualitative insight about how your members, prospects, and employees see you; identify gaps and overlaps in service expectations and delivery; evaluate opportunities for strengthening operations; and assess your internal culture.
A brand refresh can improve your understanding of where you are today and the steps you need to take to reach your five-year strategic goal. It can also help you drive more business, rally employee enthusiasm, reinvigorate relationships with your members, and refine your approach to business development, and community relations.
To determine whether it’s time to update your brand, ask yourself these four questions:
1. Are we meeting our business goals?
Many credit unions struggle with gaining new members because of limited awareness, misconceptions about membership requirements, and cumbersome application processes. If you aren’t reaching your goals for new loans or new accounts, it’s usually because one or more of the following is occurring: (1) your offer isn’t compelling; (2) your offer isn’t reaching the right people; (3) your conversion process needs work. The research and introspection associated with a good rebranding initiative can help you identify and address these challenges.
2. Is our average member age what we want it to be?
The average CU member is about 47 years old. Most credit union leaders say they want to attract younger members but find it hard to connect with millennials and Generation Z. If you haven’t thoroughly reviewed your most desirable target audience and refreshed your approach to make sure your brand is relevant to that group, you need to do so. Your brand can successfully balance serving current members with attracting younger new members, but only when you have a deliberate strategy based on current insights.
3. Are we satisfied with our current share of wallet?
Attracting new members can cost five to 10 times more than retaining an existing member. Unfortunately, many credit unions struggle with deepening their share of wallet. Part of the problem may be that your less active members (single service users and those who came in through indirect lending) don’t really know you, so they have no reason to be loyal. Refreshing your brand to create a more-compelling story can make a big difference in driving higher levels of product usage and conversion among existing members.
4. What do we stand for and are we delivering on that promise?
A brand is more than just a logo and a tagline; it’s the embodiment of your credit union’s values, promise to employees and members, and the experience it delivers. If your leadership team, employees, members, and prospects don’t all share a similar perception of who your credit union is and what it delivers, your brand either isn’t well defined or isn’t being executed effectively. Going through the process of refreshing your brand can help you bring everything back into alignment.
If you answered no to two or more of these questions, your credit union would probably benefit from rebranding. An effective brand update ferrets out the best, most truthful parts of your current brand, brings them into an updated context, and shows how they can be meaningful to the right audience today. See how East Idaho Credit Union’s brand refresh drove significant bottom line results.
Megan Miranda is director of creative strategy for Third Degree Advertising. Her area of expertise is helping credit unions tell their story in a uniquely compelling way across a variety of media channels.
About Third Degree
Third Degree works with progressive credit unions to help them successfully navigate the realities of a competitive marketplace. With more than a decade of experience in the credit union industry, Third Degree provides strategic counsel, brand development, and results-generating marketing and engagement programs.