As things transitioned back toward normalcy during this pandemic, one credit union exec I spoke to expected branch traffic to recover. Well… it hasn’t. Nor do I expect it ever will. This dependency on an old way of doing things has hindered the credit union’s growth. If nothing else, the pandemic has accelerated what was to be inevitable.
There are two factors at play. First, we’ve already been in a market evolution. New technology has empowered consumers, but it has also drastically changed the way we communicate. Second, it’s those organizations that expand capacity, eliminate waste, and improve operations that tend to emerge from an economic downturn unscathed or are better positioned when the economy recovers.
The same can be said with credit union branding. If you are like most, you seek an accurate analysis of your brand. It’s easy to overestimate how to position a credit union brand when all eyes are set on the past and not on the modern values, dreams, and passions of today. If we look at the rise of Fintech, history and experience have not won over the consumer. One’s brand attitude and ambition coupled with skill and simplicity often rule the day.
Does this mean that community banking is dead? Heavens no. There is a greater opportunity to instill happiness, confidence, enthusiasm, and purpose on a local level. However, saying that people value face-to-face interaction isn’t the real solution. To feel valued – or even loved – can and should be found throughout your organization, including your online, mobile, and social tools.
Whether it is a soft chirp or a full-out squawk, that little bird is there for a reason. It knows that outsourced branding can help the credit union identify its greatest strength. It’s having someone who can identify weaknesses that might be getting in the way. It’s having a brand strategist who can say with authority whether the credit union needs a name change or not. And it’s having an expert who has the vantage point to see the world through the eyes of the consumer.
You may also fear if you are haphazardly reacting to shifting market conditions with regard to your credit union brand, and that’s a valid concern. This isn’t the first time your credit union is in a state of flux, and it won’t be the last.
There are no shortcuts when you work with a high-level brand strategist. They will develop a brand story that is sustainable – one that will inspire employees and members. Sustainability is the No. 1 reason credit unions outsource branding. You have someone that can not only navigate uncomfortable discussions but better position your brand internally and externally no matter what the future may hold.