Credit Union Branding in a Down Market

Credit union branding is perhaps one of the most defining issues of our time.

Here’s why:

✓ The success of fintech lending and mobile payments has led to new opportunities for credit unions, but also the emergence of new competitors to steal market share.

✓ The current recession has opened our eyes to the marginalized – from the poor to immigrants to minorities – who have seen their lives valued less than the lives of others.

✓ Prolonged government shutdowns have taken a toll on our communities, including where we work, live, learn, pray and play.

In the face of profound economic and social confusion, a credit union’s brand is its greatest gift. Being prepared to lead and serve is fundamental. Having a strong brand identity that can navigate moments of change, create and engage long-lasting relationships, and translates value to people is what makes the impact possible.

Think of the philosophical question, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” If there are no ears to hear it, there will be no sound. Market visibility and perception come by way of a strong credit union brand.

For a rudimentary look at brand equity, take a look at how market share for your region has changed over the past five years. This includes if you are a part of a SEG-based credit union as you may have gained or lost membership to other financial institutions. This exercise isn’t one to simply look at the top three and realize that three national banks most likely control a third or more of the market share. Instead assess the gains and losses and the brands that are no longer on the list as well as the new players.

Ask yourself:

  • Which brands are moving the needle?
  • Which brands are changing minds and accelerating impact?
  • Which brands are being resilient even in the face of unprecedented obstacles?

Now the bigger question: Would rebranding your credit union in a down market be an act of desperation or a good business strategy?

Great credit union branding entertains, teaches and inspires. These are organizations that eliminate the unnecessary that gets in the way of their brands. They are storytellers that have conversations that make us think. They are visionaries that immerse themselves into a cultural identity. And these credit unions believe that it is essential that their people trust in the organization’s mission and are trusted by others.

If this sounds like something you not only want to achieve but are willing to put in the work then rebranding during a recession is a sound decision. To emerge from the downturn in a lead position goes beyond a visual identity. It requires solving significant challenges and investing in the credit union’s corporate culture.

As entrepreneur, best-selling author and speaker Seth Godin once said, “You don’t need more time, you just need to decide.”

Credit Union Branding

Your Marketing Co. offers experts in credit union branding, marketing and strategic planning. We’re here to answer all your credit union branding questions.

Frank Allgood has more than 20 years of experience in every facet of public information and marketing communications. As Vice President of Relationship Development for Your Marketing Co., he is responsible for strategic brand experiences and marketing initiatives for credit unions across the country. For branding or rebranding projects, call 864.326.8740 or email

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