Having an effective brand strategy is essential for credit unions to stay competitive in the marketplace. Strong credit union brand strategies can help to differentiate your business, attract customers, and make your institution stand out from the competition.
Let’s explore some powerful credit union brand strategies that you can use to create a successful and recognizable brand. From creating a unique identity to integrating digital marketing tactics, there are numerous ways for credit unions to build a powerful brand presence.
Aim for Loyalty and Recognition
Many brands and credit union marketing strategies place too heavy an emphasis on a basic idea of “growth” they hope to achieve. And while growing your member base should be a part of your brand strategy, you also need to build out the strategies that will earn you those members month after month, year after year.
Because growth isn’t linear and you can’t expect to add members every single month, we would recommend focusing on ways to improve loyalty and brand recognition. More and more, consumers are hearing about brands from friends, family, social media marketing, and other influencers long before they are choosing to seek out a product or service.
And, for a number of personal and psychological reasons, your prospects are going to choose the brands and names they’re most familiar with. Even if they aren’t familiar with your services, a prospect is more likely to choose your service if your credit union’s name and reputation are familiar to them.
That’s why big banks can still get new members even after they’ve been embroiled in a scandal or massive data loss event.
Websites with Personal Touches
According to a recent article from CUInsight, “there is nothing that compromises a unique brand identity more than a heavy reliance on generic stock photos.”
This is a really interesting concept because there are millions of businesses across thousands of industries that are using stock photos for their websites and relying on them to create positive marketing experiences.
And that is the problem.
When someone visits your website and sees the same photo of a diverse group of people sharing an experience, a young person on their phone, and a perfectly manicured patron in the middle of a banking transaction at “your” credit union’s teller station, they can be easily bored and equate your credit union with a lazy brand redesign.
It’s also highly likely that your stock photos are being used by other banks and credit unions that are trying to appeal to the same target market that you are.
What your members and prospects want more than anything is to see the personality of your credit union brand reflected in your photos. Do you have team events? Share those on social media and your web pages. Hire a photographer for a day or two to take photos of your real staff helping real members in your real offices.
That personality and “realness” is something all consumers are craving more of. The manufactured photos of perfectly done-up models doing mundane tasks aren’t as appealing as they were 10 or 15 years ago.
Visual storytelling – through your brand images, colors, logos, and other signage and marketing strategy items – is one of the only things you can use to make sure your credit union’s brand is top-of-mind for your target audience.
Highlight Your Values
More and more, people are straying away from big box stores and looking for brands that can promote and stick to their core values.
Since credit unions are the financial institutions that most heavily rely on value and personal touch to reach their target market, this entry on our list of credit union brand strategies should feel very familiar.
Authenticity in brands is a big draw – and in a world where every interaction is scrutinized and often even recorded, people are shedding light on those brands that may have talked the talk but aren’t walking the walk.
Reach out to community leaders to see what kinds of needs your credit union could help meet in the area. And make sure to highlight when you have positive and negative interactions with your brand. Accountability is a big part of creating a believable brand reputation.
Use Your Data to Drive Brand Growth
Your target market isn’t made up of a group of undefined, mysterious people you have to try and connect with. Your target audience looks a lot like your current member base. And since you are already collecting tons of personal information, financial requests, and other data, you should be using it to inform your brand strategies.
You can use almost every one of your business operations to help inform your credit union’s brand strategies. Here are a few examples of questions to ask as you work on rebranding or even just honing your current brand to reach more prospects in a meaningful way.
When you create new product lines, what are your members resonating with? What are they disliking?
Do you have community events? What feedback are you getting from members and non-members?
Are there non-member concerns that could create opportunities for improvement and ultimately turn those non-members into members?
These and other market research questions can often already be answered with a thorough analysis of data your credit union already possesses!
Your Brand Is Only as Powerful as Your Data
One of the best credit union brand strategies is business continuity. In a world of “I want it now,” you can’t have downtime in your systems or glitches that create issues with data access. IMS is the premier backup solution and disaster recovery expert for credit unions.
You can rest assured knowing that no matter where your branches are located or what kinds of disasters and cyberattacks may come your way, you are covered with IMS and our offsite data storage and backup solutions. Reach out to us today with questions. We want to help you protect your credit union so you can better serve your members.