This entry authored by Taylor W. Wells, Communications Director with On The Mark Strategies.

It bothers me a great deal to admit this, but one of my favorite childhood movies, Gremlins, was released 32 years ago. A staple of classic 80s pop culture memory, the movie introduced us to the adorable Mogwai character Gizmo and an army of ugly, mischievous green-skinned gremlins, led by the nefarious Stripe.

Most people recall the classic three rules of keeping a mogwai. They are:

  • No bright light
  • Don’t get him wet
  • No matter how much he begs, never feed him after midnight

Spoiler Alert: In typical semi-horror movie fashion, all three rules are quickly broken with varying degrees of calamity ensuing.

Much like gremlins, bank and credit union brands also have rules that must be followed. How do they stack up against rules for keeping a gremlin? Consider the following.

  • Your brand must have a bright light. Your brand is only as good as the attention and scrutiny it receives. In order for your brand to succeed, your management team must lead it, your staff must live it and your members must love it. Keeping a brand in the dark is a recipe for brand gaps and eventual brand collapse.
  • Your brand has to get wet. Like a child afraid to jump in the pool for swimming lessons, your brand simply cannot grow unless you give it a chance. Bank and credit union professionals invest a great deal of time and money in branding and brand plans, occasionally neglecting to fully launch them. If you’ve done your homework and created a brand that truly reflects your unique culture, feel confident jumping in the deep end and swimming towards success.
  • Your brand must be fed. Feeding a gremlin after midnight was a disaster in that it led to the icky transformation from adorable mogwai to lizard-like gremlin. Your brand, however, must be fed in order to grow in a positive way. This is accomplished by regular brand reinforcement, training and accountability/rewards processes.

Your bank or credit union brand is a valuable thing. However, like the wise old man at the end of Gremlins noted, if you are not yet ready for the responsibility of a brand, “Perhaps someday, you will be ready. Until then, Mogwai waits.”

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