“People helping people.” It’s been a registered trademark owned by CUNA since the early 1960s. So many credit unions have it in their mission statement, on their website and in their marketing materials. It’s usually followed by standard definitions of why credit unions were created, how credit unions are different and who can join.
For so many credit unions, this is all they have. A canned message.
Don’t get me wrong. People helping people is the credit union philosophy and it can be a powerful message when used in the appropriate context. On the surface, however, just about any business could make this argument, and they probably do in some fashion. In the name of truly personal service, what’s the real difference?
If you can see the difference, you see the problem. If you want to debate me, when it comes to branding and marketing your credit union, can you make your argument in a single line of text? How about a soundbite?
You have a brand story – beyond people helping people – that is unique. It’s time to tell it with intention. Through the lens of your members, how could they live their lives better because of you? That’s a message worth spreading.
Remember this: Your mission statement is for internal use only. You may want to be, for example, the “largest healthcare credit union in Oregon.” That’s an awesome organizational goal, but it doesn’t speak to your current and prospective membership.
Get your mission statement off your website and replace it with a member mission and/or a community mission. What do you want people to say about you? How will you help your community win?
If we are about people helping people, let’s harness that power by finding out what people truly want and need. Let’s find those member stories that will be retold over and over again, and instill those into our credit union brands.
Is there a rebrand in your credit union's future? Don't make a move without asking these five questions first!
Frank Allgood has more than 15 years of experience in every facet of public information and marketing communications. As Relationships Development Leader for Your Marketing Co., he is responsible for strategic brand experiences and marketing initiatives for credit unions and community banks across the country. For branding or rebranding projects, call 864.326.8740 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.