A High-Achieving Strategy for Your Internal Brand

Group of children sitting together and smiling for picture

We’re just a few weeks in, and already I have what may be one of my fondest memories of 2019. My daughter, Penelope, and the Beta Club at Mauldin Elementary School became Songfest Champions at the South Carolina Junior Beta Club Convention.

Yes, the eyes were watery. It was such a proud moment as a parent. It was also powerful to see the thrill in the faces of nearly 50 fifth-grade students when they heard the name of the second-place team called; much like the reaction of when Miss America is crowned, albeit with maybe a tad more “flossing” and “dabbing” after the initial jump for joy.

By the end of the three days in Myrtle Beach, I knew what separated our team from the rest of the pack. The story of how they won is full of helpful insights into what makes not only a winning program, but a high-achieving strategy for marketing and branding.

I think we can learn several key lessons from their journey.

They Made Practice a Priority

It may go without saying, but this team practiced hard, and they practiced often. Even right up to each performance at the convention, whether it was outside, in the concourse of the convention hall or whispering their song and motions behind the bleachers of the auditorium. They kept honing their skills and practiced adjustments should some of the singers have to bow out for other competitions taking place at the same time as the performances.

Why is it we only think of practice when it comes to things like performing arts and sports? And if we’re honest with ourselves, too often we’re reluctant to do it. However, credit unions and community banks that maximize the impact of training often see the greatest growth.

Separation is in the preparation. Practice enables consistency with how we work as a team to how we serve the consumer.

There are opportunities all around us. Are you prepared to take advantage of them?

They Motivated Themselves for the Opportunity

How do you celebrate once you achieve your goals? Rewards add gravity to goal setting. Too often we get hung up on inching closer to our loan, membership and checking goals and we don’t take the time to celebrate our wins.

What’s the payoff for your frontline staff? What about the rest of your organization?

With the win, not only did these kids receive praises of their teachers and parents – which within the workplace is often overlooked or missed – they’ve earned a ticket to perform at the National Convention in June to be held in Oklahoma City. The day they returned to school, they walked the hallways in a parade celebrating their achievements.

What’s your reward for a job well done?

They Understood the Importance of Differentiation

On the surface, each Songfest team took to the stage and performed a song, along with synchronized hand motions and gestures. However, Mauldin Elementary had a stage presence that drew the audience in and commanded their full attention.

Their entrance on and exit off stage were purposeful. Their motions were clean and smooth. Their voices were clear. Their dress – from no belts to no earrings to yellow ribbons tied around half ponytails for the girls – was on point. Smiles were just as plentiful as a Chick-fil-A employee exclaiming, “my pleasure.”

Every financial institution believes they are “people helping people,” but it’s how that makes all the difference.

What makes your brand different in how you serve, engage and inspire consumers?

They Realized Enthusiasm is Contagious

I learned a new chant on this trip: “You’ve got to want it to win it, and we want it bad!”

It was their teachers that taught the kids this chant. They didn’t do it in front of the competition, but it was a rallying call that got them excited. Even the teachers would take their shot at doing the “shoot” to the chant – you know, where you jump on one leg while pumping your arm. Yeah, they were doing that with gusto! The enthusiasm of the teachers spread to each student.

This is critical to most internal brands. What makes your credit union or community bank a “best place to work” is when each employee lives your brand each and every day. From the board to the leadership team, to managers to the frontlines, without enthusiasm, your brand will suffer.

So, go on. Give it a try, and spread the word:

“You’ve got to want it to win it, and we want it bad!”

Let's Get Started!

Reh Harvey

Vice President of Digital Strategy

Reh Harvey, our Vice President of Digital Strategy, leads with diligence and fervor. Having previously been a member of Team YMC, he is excited to return to such an amazing culture and even more amazing people (his words)! Through his experience in the marketing world, he’s found the key to success is to stay on the cutting edge and to always keep evolving.
Although originally drawn to marketing for its lack of math, Reh now finds himself doing more math than he would’ve bargained for. But his self discipline and positive attitude make it easy for him to laugh and take it in stride. Hoping to one day visit Japan and enjoy some premium Sushi, Reh lives life by his creed: Be a good human. Do good work. And above all, just keep going.

Hailey Madej

Graphic Designer

As YMC’s in-house Graphic Designer, Hailey possesses an eye for detail and a drive to innovate. It’s no surprise though since being creative runs in the family! Inspired from an early age by her mom’s work as a Graphic Designer, Hailey is a seasoned expert whose talents bring vitality and accessibility to every project. As a UX/UI designer, she expertly blends the intuitive and the creative for all to enjoy.
In addition to the occasional freelance project, Hailey also lends her abilities to supporting art initiatives within her community, such as the Belleville Mural Project. Her favorite aspect of joining the YMC team is the friendly, uplifting culture and breadth of design tasks. When it comes to marketing, she believes in pushing boundaries and maybe breaking some rules to capture her audience’s attention. Her advice to those just starting out? “Always seek quality over quantity.”

Dexter Ochoa

Development Assistant

When it comes to blending logical thinking and creative problem solving, Dexter’s abilities are undeniable! Beginning his career as a Web Developer, he’s no stranger to the wide world of Marketing and Advertising. Calling Biñan City in the Philippines home, Dexter has a burning desire to visit the Alpine peaks and valleys of Switzerland. While that journey may be far off, he is still no stranger to international travel. While visiting Japan, he was able to enjoy his favorite delicacy: Sushi and Sashimi. He also learned unexpected facts about Japanese Yen, specifically that it has special markings for the blind to know its value!

Living life by his motto to “Do good even if the world is unfair,” Dexter would also advise his younger self, “It’s hard, but you’re doing good!” Whether he’s enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning or the occasional Pale Pilsen in the evening, Dexter is eager to work with the talented professionals of YMC, and we’re just as eager to add his talent to the team as well! His marketing words of wisdom? “Be creative, and just do what you want!”

Andrew Wyche


Hailing from the NC state capital (that’s Raleigh if you didn’t know), Andrew is YMC’s Copywriter extraordinaire. That’s why he knows that “The verb form of ‘reconnaissance’ is ‘reconnoiter.’ The former is, strictly speaking, a noun.” Seriously, he knows his words and he’ll use those words to get bold and weird (in a good way) with his copy. Fuelled by a love for pasta, shellfish, a good single malt, or a meal consisting of all three, Andrew navigates life with a motto engraved in his heart: “Choose kindness. Always.” It is this guiding principle that has led him to explore the realm of marketing, driven by a desire to connect with people in meaningful ways. As he continues to chase his dreams, one bucket list item stands out above the rest – a pilgrimage to Scotland. With his heart set on adventure and his pen poised for creativity, Andrew’s journey is far from over.

Alex VanHaasteren

Senior Web Developer

Alex is YMC’s Senior Web Developer and, as the title suggests, she is an absolute pro! While she initially started in graphic design – working long and hard to expertly bring concepts to life – she also felt drawn to technology and applying her natural ability to problem solve. Web Development proved the perfect blend of her creative passion and technical savvy.

When Alex is out with friends – including her YMC colleagues – she’s up for Greek cuisine or some good pulled pork BBQ washed down with Diet Coke. Or an Old Fashioned, if the occasion demands. Someday, she hopes to go to Africa on a safari. Hopefully she’ll see a giraffe in the wild, because – as she’s pointed out – its neck is too short to reach the ground!

When she isn’t jamming out to T-Swift, she’s happy to impart some marketing words of wisdom, “Aim to create something unforgettable.” For day-to-day inspiration, she would remind you of two fundamental truths: You decide your happiness, and Ice cream is its own food group—not just a dessert.

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