Don’t pimp out your credit union branding

the word brand offering a ring to a yellow person

“No one knows about our credit union, but if they did, they would love it!”

Cool. What are you doing about that?

“Well, we’ve…. (fill in the blank with your answer here), but none of it has worked!”

Cool, let’s talk about your credit union branding then. Not a surface-level discussion but a deep discussion on what branding is and what that looks like for your credit union.

The goal of branding is to build a relationship with future members, not haul them in right now. Remember, only a tiny percentage of people who hear or see your message needs your offer at the time they receive it. Branding builds long-term relationships, which are built on trust. When a relationship has finally been established, you become the financial option people think of first and like the best when they, or their family and friends, need the products or services your credit union offers.

Think about your personal relationships. Your true friends are the ones who spend time with you, who make you smile, laugh, feel good and really don’t ask for anything from you unless they’re in a pinch. Consider your credit union brand like a friend.

Your creative and messaging is either written to be transactional or relational. A long series of transactional ads (that loan special with a low rate) does not build your credit union branding. It builds name awareness, but not a brand for your credit union. There’s no trust involved, only solving an immediate problem. When I teach credit union branding at conferences, I put it this way: loan promos as a strategy are marketing prostitution. It’s transactional, there’s no love, only fulfilling a need and walking away.

Branding, on the other hand, is like courting the love of your life. You take time to get to know them, build trust, and you’re in it for the long haul for the right reasons.

Just grabbing people’s attention is easy. Any fool can do it.

There’s nothing wrong with transactional ads as part of a larger marketing strategy. The most successful marketing success stories are those built upon relationships first. Then offer specific products and promotions to ideal members, while maintaining and nourishing the bond members feel with your credit union’s brand.

Reaching or targeting the right people is not the secret to building a brand. The secret to credit union branding is to say and do the right things. If you’re just starting out, use one-third of transactional or promotional ads and two-thirds brand building (relational.) Understand at a very deep level the hopes, dreams and fears of your ideal member and speak to that.

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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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