You’ve designed your logo, you even picked out your corporate colors and even the secondary colors and finally designed your brochure series. Now your organization is branded. Not so fast! Branding is much more than a logo, design or even a color scheme. Let’s take a deeper look into branding. Branding does include these elements but that is only a start. Branding can be broken down into two main categories: Awareness and Experience.
To create and maintain an effective brand, you have to start by creating awareness of your organization. The first step is to create a logo which defines your identity, hopefully an identity that your target audience can identify and relate with. Now this is where the rubber meets the road, you have to market your organization to your target audience to create awareness. The delivery channels that you choose are dependent on your target audience and what is the most effective method of reaching your audience. Just 15 years ago, it was more about getting the word to your credit union’s sponsor group and its employees. Today credit union’s serve the community around their branches and even abroad through the internet. You are competing with national, regional and even local brands. Since credit unions serve their community, you have to do more to establish your brand in the community. First, you have to mass market your name to a larger audience; billboards, TV advertising, newspaper, direct mail and internet advertising. These forms of advertising help bring awareness to your credit union and lay the foundation for the next step in marketing which is the trial offer. Trial offer is when the consumer responds to a promotion piece such as a credit card offer, checking account offer or even a drive by. Once the consumer moves to the trial offer, we move to the second part of branding.
Without marketing you will make it difficult to get to the second part of branding which is the experience. The experience is the area that involves the rest of your organization and will define your organization’s success. When we hear branding, most people believe that this is the responsibility of the marketing department of the credit union. This could not be further from the truth. The experience your member has when doing business with your credit union will determine if they will continue to do business with you and more importantly, if they will become your advocate. What does the member see when they walk in the door, how are they greeted, what do they see when they pull up your website, how smooth is the process to apply for a loan, how quick is a decision made on a loan application, do they get a live person on the phone or get lost in the maze of phone menus. All of these events will define how successful of an experience the member had while doing business with your credit union. If the experience was a success then you have reinforced your brand and hopefully developed an advocate for the credit union. An advocate is the most powerful marketing tool you can posses which creates WOMP. WOMP is word of mouth potential. When you are able to get word of mouth working for you, you have created the most effective marketing tool that will get your organization even more awareness.
As you can see, branding is just not as simple as putting a logo or design together. It’s a total organization’s effort to create awareness and a positive experience for its members. If you want more information on how branding can help your organization or need a partner to come along side you to help build your brand, let PMD Group help elevate your brand to the next level.