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Tips for Rebranding Your Credit Union

Think of your brand as the face of your company – it not only helps communicate your core values and mission to your members but also shows what sets you apart from your competitors. Whether your credit union is new or has been in the business for over a decade, your brand is a key piece to the overall success of your financial institution. That’s why rebranding your credit union should not be taken lightly.

Your brand isn’t just a pretty logo or a clever name – it’s how people perceive your organization. While you may think a brand encompasses your whole business identity including your mission statement, core values, goals, and personality, it’s really the impression you leave behind. As your credit union evolves, so should your brand. Here are some key considerations as you rebrand your credit union.

When is it time to rebrand your credit union?

Before you make any major decisions, you should ask yourself if rebranding is the right choice based on your goals. Determine if your marketing efforts could be improved to help align with those goals or if more needs to be done. If this involves more than just a simple switch in targeting or rethinking an advertising campaign, then rebranding may be the answer.

Here are some great reasons to consider rebranding your financial institution:

  • You don’t stand out from the crowd: If your differentiator isn’t clear or you’re getting lost among your competitors, then rebranding is a must.
  • Your brand is outdated: If the last time you designed a logo for your company was in the 2000s, it’s likely out of touch, or your company has grown out of it.
  • You have new values: Has your mission grown over the years and your brand doesn’t represent that? Time to rebrand.
  • You have outgrown your current brand: Perhaps you’re expanding into new markets, expanded your field of membership, or you’ve simply grown well beyond a name you’ve had for decades.

We’ll put it simply – if your audience doesn’t value your organization or misunderstands what you do, then now is the time for a rebrand.

Steps to rebranding your credit union

1. Understand how your brand is perceived

You may know how your employees view your organization, but do you know how your members and community see you? Perhaps you believe you’re known for great customer service, but do your members agree? Without getting consistent feedback, you probably don’t know what they think of you. Before deploying any changes, adjustments, or enhancements, take the time to understand your brand’s value and equity.

Starting with a member survey can be a good way to begin this process as long as you ask the right questions. And even better if you can conduct a virtual or in-person focus group to dive deeper into your community’s perception of you. You should segment your surveys or focus groups by current members, individuals in your community, and business partners.

One important thing to remember throughout this process is that you need to offer respondents something in exchange for their time. Whether it’s a gift card or a cash amount for their contribution, offering something back to those who participate will help get more individuals involved.

2. Identify your differentiator

Before you start your rebranding journey, it’s important you not only understand your company’s mission but also what sets you apart from other credit unions. With all the banking options out there, consumers are looking for a company that aligns with their values while offering something different. Is your company dedicated to supporting low-income communities? Are you focused on green banking or your impact on the environment? Do you offer products that other banks don’t? This will define your unique selling proposition (USP) to the marketplace.

What sets you apart from the rest should be the main driving force behind your brand. For this part of your journey, it’s important to tap into different departments of your organization to get a more holistic view of your offerings and company culture. Plus, it’s a great way to make your staff feel like an important part of the branding process.

3. Consider your position and tone

As we mentioned before, your company’s rebrand shouldn’t just be designing a logo – it’s also about rethinking your overall positioning statement and tone. Your positioning statement should be a brief description of your product or service with an explanation of how it fulfills a particular need of your target market. The goal is to align your marketing efforts with your new brand and value proposition. Think of your brand voice and tone as how you tell your story based on your brand’s personality.

Consistently using the right tone can set you apart from others. According to a study, 40% of consumers listed memorable content as a factor that helps brands stand out and 33% voted for distinct personality. For example, some brands may incorporate humor into their messaging because they have a relaxed company culture. Whereas, other brands may have more of a serious tone to show their authority as an expert in the field.

Sunmark Credit Union in Albany, New York took the same approach to rebranding after a company merger. The financial intuition initially came to Vibrant looking to amplify their personalized member services and smart technology. After conducting robust membership and community surveys we learned that Sunmark’s members perceive them as a down-to-earth and friendly credit union. So, we created a “good vibes” campaign to help illustrate their energetic, optimistic, and person-centered service.

4. Plan your brand launch

The process of rebranding is more intricate than you might expect. From updating your new brand across your website, social platforms, and printed materials, to informing the public and engaging your staff, planning ahead will ensure a successful launch. Don’t expect your members to take to your new identity without a strong communications strategy.

Here’s a brand launch checklist to consider for your credit union:

  • Create a budget: Rebranding isn’t cheap when done correctly. You’ll need to account for new signage, stationery items, a website update, and advertising. Even if you aren’t considering utilizing professional guidance, the project can add up fast.
  • Engage your board and staff: Your board and staff are at the front lines of your branding efforts. Not only should they champion the new brand, but they are part of what your credit union represents. That’s why it’s so important to include your team in the rebranding process by celebrating with them, thanking them, and keeping them up-to-date along the way.
  • Communicate with your members: Your members are the reason why your credit union exists, so they need to know exactly what this rebrand means for them and why it matters. They should be aware of any changes before they officially happen and understand the value of your organization’s rebrand.
  • Share your story with media: If you want to get your rebrand story out in the news, you’ll need to think through a media strategy. Pitching a rebrand isn’t enough of a story on its own – you’ll need to tell the media how this update will affect the community. Are you also celebrating 50 years in business? Are you refurbishing your office? Are you serving new locations or offering more services? Those details will help build a bigger story that the media will want to cover.
  • Build an awareness campaign: A brand refresh is a great reason to create a campaign to help build awareness and drive membership. This is your opportunity to let your community know you exist and what you can do for them. Having a diverse marketing plan can help you meet your audience on their path with ads that resonate. Digital ads, billboards, and direct mail are all great tactics for building awareness.

5. Tap into an agency

Whether you’re rebranding due to a company merger or because you want to stand out more, utilizing the expertise of a marketing agency can help you throughout the whole process. Our experienced team of designers, copywriters, and brand strategists can bring your credit union brand to the next level while increasing revenue and return on membership. Want to learn more? Contact us or give us a call at (855) 946-2773 today!