The Fallacious Brand Philosophy

I don’t pretend to be as eloquent a writer as the late George Carlin, but as someone who is in the credit union branding space, I’m certainly mindful of his “Advertising Lullaby.” If you’ve never heard it, it is incredibly witty bit about advertising speak – just note it gets a bit raunchy in the end (no pun intended).

Are you lulling your members to sleep with suggestions of helping people realize their dreams with excellent customer service from a dedicated local team backed by a trusted, sound financial institution? Perhaps I just recited your mission statement – one in which no one knows, understands, follows or lives by within your organization.

The truth is when we examine credit union brands that have seen the greatest success, they realize that trust, security and customer service should be a given within any financial organization. These are the expectations of every consumer. But before you point to the annual statistics about how people really hate their financial institutions, let me remind you of how deposits rose by more than 8% last year as reported by the Federal Reserve.

So, is it love or hate? Or could it be conditional love where tough times bring us together?

Trust, security and customer service are not exactly sexy. They do not teach, entertain or inspire. There has to be a better story for your credit union.

How about we replace trust with integrity. Integrity is more of an action that comes from within. It’s a commitment that your credit union brand will be steadfast in doing what is in the best interest of its members.

Instead of advocating security, replace that with convenience. The desire for less cost and lower risk goes hand-in-hand with being intuitive and easy to use. When we speak of security, it’s a grueling conversation. Instead, when we focus on simple solutions that take less time and effort, we free ourselves up to have deeper connections with our members. Convenience is about getting to the heart of our members’ stories.

Finally, instead of focusing on customer service, let’s find originality. Good, bad or ugly, every organization has customer service. Most aim for member “satisfaction” rather than “loyalty.” However, when we look at things through the lens or originality, it’s all about leaving a mark. It’s about being authentic.  It’s about taking what was once ordinary and making something extraordinary.

We don’t buy things based on logic, nor do we buy things based on features or benefits alone. Our human condition yearns for something much more. A connection. A feeling. A belief. In many ways, your credit union is not in the financial business, but rather the aspiration business.

What Story Are You Telling?

What do you want members to know and believe about your credit union? Our job is to help you uncover your story and tell it to the world. From brand development to full rebrands, we’re here to help you find your voice in a crowded marketplace.

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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