Monday, July 1, 2013

Five Branding Strategies for Credit Union Branding

As a credit union marketer, your goals are simple: You want to draw more members to your credit union; you want your existing members to be more loyal; and when members need a loan, you want them to come to your credit union first. So what’s the secret to achieving these universal goals? Even more importantly, what can you do to overcome obvious obstacles – such as a competing financial institution that provides lower loan rates and fewer fees than what your credit union offers?

The answer is simple: It all comes down to your branding strategies. Proper credit union branding can set you apart from the competition and drive loyalty and growth. To ensure your branding strategies generate success, just follow the tips below!

#1: Think long and hard about what you want your brand to convey.
Before you do anything else with your credit union branding, first consider the following: How will your brand tie in with your overall mission as a financial institution? What kind of members have you attracted in the past? What kind of members do you want to attract? And what, specifically, can you provide these members that the competition can’t? For instance, do you specialize in convenience – or maybe cutting-edge services? Figure out precisely what products, features, feelings and benefits exemplify your credit union, and develop a brand that reflects those attributes.

#2: Incorporate your brand in everything you do.
Solidifying your brand takes a lot more than simply slapping a logo on all your marketing materials. Your brand should, in fact, influence every single aspect of your business. The way employees interact with members, for instance, should be dictated by your brand – as should the tone of voice used in marketing materials, the design elements portrayed on any printed pieces and even the general atmosphere of your branches. You can never think too broadly when it comes to your branding strategies!

#3: Bring emotions into the equation.
Is your credit union branding all about old-school traditionalism? Or maybe you’re more focused on conveying a sense of youthful optimism? Whatever kind of emotion it is you want your brand to promote, use that emotional connection to your advantage. The trick behind successful branding strategies is to make your audience feel something on a deeper level. So don’t just think logically – think emotionally!

#4: Thank members who show brand loyalty. There’s a reason the thank-you note has never gone out of style. The simple fact of the matter is, people appreciate being appreciated – so find a way to communicate to your loyal members that you recognize and value their patronage. Whether you go all out with a giveaway or keep it simple with a quick phone call or note, chances are your efforts to reward members for their loyalty will likely make them even more loyal to your credit union in the future.

#5: Be consistent – but also remember that flexibility is key. This tip may sound like it’s offering conflicting advice, but actually a healthy mix of consistency and flexibility is just the trick to keeping your credit union branding both memorable and current. While your underlying brand values should always remain constant, allow enough flexibility in your branding strategies so that you can continue to convey those brand values in new and innovative ways. If you’re all about convenience, for example, make sure you stick with this brand value – but be flexible enough to transition your marketing efforts to focus less on branch and drive-through locations and more on mobile and online banking as such advancements are made.

Now that you know the basics, get started on your credit union branding strategies today!

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