Branding touches everything. Your people and your products. Your boardroom and your break room. Your mission and your marketing. And especially your branches.
Inspire Federal Credit Union offers an excellent example of a credit union where branding touched everything—and eventually its branches. Inspire recently completed a state of the art branch renovation (see pictures below) and is the first credit union in its area to offer this type of facility.
The new branch features two 60-inch, high definition television screens, brand new “teller pods” that allow for tellers to connect more easily with members and a technology center that allows Inspire FCU’s financial experts to sit down with members and show them the credit union’s technology. Of course, the new branch also offers a renovated coffee station (members love free coffee!) that even features a special charging area for mobile devices.
“We wanted to design the branch to meet the vision of how we want to serve our members going into the future,” said Inspire FCU’s CEO Jim Merrill. “We put a lot of thought about what we wanted that experience to be. We really wanted to create an environment for our members that is comfortable and allows us to give them the level of personal attention they need to meet their banking needs.”
Remodeling the branch was not a mere action step on a strategic plan. Rather it was the result of a couple of years in the branding process. Consider that long before the new branch launched, the credit union did the following:
- Completed a marketing audit
- Developed a strategic brand plan
- Changed its name (from Bucks First FCU)
- Trained its staff on the new brand
“We are successfully moving from a transactional-based culture to a relationship-based culture, with relationships affecting EVERYTHING that we do here,” said Hilary Reed, senior vice president and chief relationship officer for Inspire FCU. “Our Marketing plan revolves around relationship development and a brand campaign, virtually nothing product-based in terms of marketing.”
Reed even created a special word to describe the new brand approach for their credit union: “Inspirelationship.”
So is the rebranding working? According to Reed, very much so.
“We have already developed so many relationships within the community and school communities,” Reed said, noting she also hired a director of relationship development to help implement the new brand. “To see our transformation first hand is really quite amazing, and I can’t wait until it transforms into overall organic growth for this organization.”
In Inspire FCU’s case, branding didn’t just touch the branches—it transformed them.