The Secret for Small Undesirable Credit Unions

We all know many small and mid-sized credit unions find it hard to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to facilitating tech. So, when it comes to talking branding and marketing strategy, quite often those discussions are often lost or buried under a mountain of other priorities.

Scratch that.

I doubt you actually believe brand strategy and design is trivial. However, I bet getting others to see what you see – that your credit union should be something bigger, more meaningful and important – gets lost almost daily. Workdays feel like a punch in the gut. Bosses and coworkers are like time bandits dishing out low-leverage busy work. 

All the noise, static and confusion makes it near impossible to have the toughest of conversations that we really need to have:

  • Why are we here?
  • How does the credit union define success?
  • Why should a person engage with our credit union?
  • Why should someone work for this credit union?
  • What does our credit union seek to create, change and achieve?

Your brand is being thoroughly scrutinized all the time. And if it isn’t, then quite frankly this means  you aren’t being noticed or seen, which means you are aren’t growing market share.

Let’s peel back the curtain on one brand we all know, Subaru. The automaker has had 12 consecutive years of higher Subaru sales in the U.S. So, what happened in late 2007? Well, a couple of things, but most notably they hired a new marketing and advertising agency and their notable “Love” campaign was launched. And while, yes, their sales streak was recently broken in the midst of the current recession, they are known as a vibrant, progressive company.

Why does “love” make “Subaru a Subaru?” Clarity, alignment, inclusion, transparency and an unapologetic brand attitude. They understood that they would not be “all things to all people,” and became a lifestyle brand. That lesson alone is a difficult pill to swallow for many credit unions.

Now, I say all this, and I actually caution credit unions who look at a company such as Subaru, Apple and Amazon and say, “We want to be just like them, only for the financial world.” Yes, I realize you love your members, but let’s dig deeper.

First, there’s more to brand development than a colorful campaign. Driving transformational change requires a shift in human behavior in how our people think and act. Subaru’s reputation comes by way of a philosophy, code of conduct and social responsibility policies that make up their culture.

Second, while we can certainly draw inspiration from other organizations, your credit union should have its own branding and marketing strategy. When you try to mimic something else, you can easily focus on something you don’t have. Use your envy (yes, I said it) to inspire your own ambitions and distinctive credit union branding.

What if  your credit union brand focused on understanding what people need and want?

NOTE WELL: There are small credit unions who are small giants in their community. You could be one of them.

REMEMBER THIS: You are telling a story, and the hook is how you are making a difference with your members. In today’s world, it’s not about telling the world about your credit union, but rather something that matters.

Isn’t it time to start planning how you can build a cohesive branding and marketing strategy that will resonate with your members, employees and prospects? Fill out the form below and download our Roadmap to Rebrands before you review the best brand management consulting firms. It’s simple, yet no hold barred look at what to look out for when considering a rebrand.

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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