In a podcast interview with CUInsight, Bo McDonald, president of Your Marketing Co., offered a few tips for credit unions on how they can project a stronger brand. Credit union managers may have an idea of what members believe about their brand when the reality is quite different. At the end of the day, what counts is what members think. After all, without members, there is no credit union.
Credit unions need to figure out what makes them unique amongst competitors. With enough time and money, a credit union can replicate the products and services offered by its competitors. That isn't a differentiator. It's just putting everyone on the same level.
Instead, look at why the credit union was formed and why it attracts the type of employees it does. Employees are a major component, and some may say the only component, of a brand. Happy employees who understand the credit union's mission and express it effortlessly will represent a stronger brand than a credit union with mixed messaging.
Bo offers three tips to help strengthen your credit union's brand.
Strengthen your leadership team. Ensuring employees do well lies with the leadership team. Strong leadership is essential to building a strong brand. However, if your leadership team is lacking, consider hiring an outside leadership consultant who can work with your team over a few months. Look for continual improvements along the way to gauge that the effort is paying off.
Attract great employees with your why. Mission statements can often all sound the same. Will a regular-sounding corporate mission statement attract top-notch employees? Probably not. These employees are looking for a company with a deeper meaning that is likely connected to the employees' core values. Dig deep to accurately express your credit union's "why."
Challenging work that leaves employees with a sense of accomplishment. Bo mentions that with some of their clients, they've begun implementing gamification into the work environment. Just as playing a game and reaching the next level can be a rewarding experience, those same concepts can successfully apply to the work environment. However, Bo warns that not all employees will engage the same way, which may divide the haves from the have nots.