When our “small but mighty” team starts talking about all the cool rebrands we’ve done over the years, it dawns on us that they are also really great stories. So, heck, in our 26th year, we are finally doing some storytelling of our own.
We hope you enjoy and that perhaps one or two of these serve to inspire you in some way.
We’ve been at this a very long time. In fact, our first rebrand occurred 19 years ago for a credit union in California (AEA Credit Union), at that time.
From the get-go, we have always viewed a credit union’s brand as the one true, authentic definition of who they are—and who their FOM is—not who they might like to be or who an outside firm thinks it would be “hip and cool” for them to be. We’ve found that most of the time, leadership is just too close to it all to see their credit union clearly and objectively. We call it the “can’t see the forest for the trees complex,” and our mission is to help overcome that, which is why we end up getting hired.
For us, the rebrand always starts with our taking the time and investing the energy to fully grasp the roots, the evolution, the culture, the philosophy—in other words, the DNA of a credit union. We call this Building the Foundation, and it includes:
The history, culture, economy, demographics and psychographics of the community (or the region) and the FOM
The history, culture and evolution of the credit union itself
The competitive landscape and where the client’s strengths (and as importantly, weaknesses) lie
Existing Member Feedback Loops
Non-member focus groups
Honestly, it is STILL endlessly and utterly fascinating to us what we discover. And we have never been disappointed because every single credit union has this amazing, rich, dynamic history—vastly different from most banks that simply do not have the same decades-long connections to community employers or groups or grass roots initiatives that credit unions have.
Mining what is truly awesome and special about each credit union is Mission #1. It is not everything. It is the only thing. Because it is the ONLY way a small FI, like virtually every credit union in this country is, has a fighting chance to be victorious in terms of achieving key business results. Sticky, sticky, sticky. Build a brand that will cause members and prospects to flock to you because of where you’ve come from, who you are, what you stand for, how you will get them where they want to go financially.
When a credit union gets to the point they recognize they need a new brand, most immediately assume they also need to change their name. And, that is just not so. We’ve probably done more rebrands where we’ve kept the name intact than ones whereby we’ve changed the name. Let the research AND the data inform the path forward.
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