The Secret for Small Undesirable Credit Unions

Several pushpins on a road-map of a tourist

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.

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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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