Imagine your credit union experiencing 18% net loan growth, a younger demographic profile with 5% member growth, and a 62% increase to your bottom line in a matter of a year. This is the projected outcome of Power Credit Union’s rebrand - “Life is calling.” Do these figures persuade you to answer?
In this blog I will paint a very clear picture as to “why” we decided to undergo a rebrand, and at its conclusion you will be asking “how” to also tell your credit union’s story in a unique and authentic way.
Credit Union Crossroads
Power Credit Union was experiencing an aging demographic, declining membership, and no clear direction on how to resolve it. I realized the success of our credit union greatly depended on differentiation, growth potential, evolution of our existing brand, utilizing technology, and embracing innovation to attract younger demographics. This was our turning point; the beginning of our rebrand strategy.
Power Credit Union was established in 1938 as the CF&I Power Steel Mill Credit Union. To this day, we see members cashing their checks in coveralls and hardhats. But as they age, so does our overall membership profile.
So what’s a credit union to do? Adapt, evolve, change, and take smart chances.
Our comprehensive rebrand project began with qualitative market research. Two blind study focus groups were conducted in February 2014. The focus groups consisted of members and non-members. The purpose was to provide valuable insight regarding brand awareness in our market versus our competitors, draw upon attitudes towards our brand, study perceptions, and learn about participant’s greatest needs and wants from a financial institution.
Through metaphorical imagery and mind mapping we were able to learn a great deal about our target audiences “life’s dreams and realities” and where their financial institution intersects.
Ultimately, the participants wanted to feel valued regardless of their personal status or financial situation. They want to feel in control of their finances, while having the freedom to enjoy a fulfilling life by having a home, sending their children to college, and taking a yearly vacation.
The visual delivery and personality of our brand is supported by a strong logo that embraces colors of hope. Our new tagline speaks to our member’s greatest desires – “Life is calling”. It is a constant reminder to our members they can reach for and attain their biggest aspirations in life.
Through this research Power Credit Union’s unique selling proposition was clearly identified: To improve members’ lives each day through empowered living.
Armed with an emotional branding strategy, we have the opportunity to fully engage our existing members while attracting new audiences by providing them with positive life experiences. When members purchase a home or car, they are investing in memories. Our new strategy supports these special moments which resonate and motivate to a much greater scale.
Positioning the Brand and Inspiring Culture!
One of the most crucial elements includes the launch to staff scheduled for August 19, 2014. Each employee will receive a comprehensive brand book that not only outlines visuals but conveys our messaging and brand voice, while reviewing how to engage and communicate with members.
To supplement our internal launch, I will motivate staff through exercises such as, “name the next campaign” (utilizing our tagline), contests to win life experiences, and having fun with a photo booth session. Our staff will receive brand kits with new business cards, name tags, shirts, and promotional items. Lastly, they will be able to see our brand come alive via an inspirational brand video so moving it may require a warning sign, “have tissues nearby.”
The official public launch in September 2014, involves vast changes; a few haven’t occurred in over 30 years: signage, remodeled facilities, refreshed website, mobile apps to meet member demand for convenience, and MyMoneyPal (PFM) so our members can make educated decisions regarding their finances and improve their credit scores.
In our industry, it’s a well-known fact the total number of credit unions continues to diminish on an annual basis. Rebranding, if carried out correctly, can have many long term benefits: improved relevance in the marketplace, stronger recruitment of employees and members, and countless growth opportunities. I believe this project serves as a leading example for other credit unions that find themselves at a crossroads. Does your credit union ever find itself asking, “How do we answer the call of life for our members?”
Life is calling and Power Credit Union has answered!