If you ask 10 credit union marketing professionals to define “branding,” you’d get 10 different answers, says Steve Ducey, chief experience officer at $636 million asset Vibrant Credit Union in Moline, Ill.
Ducey defines branding as “a belief in what we deliver, the promise of our existence, and the representation of that through consistency and continuity of message.”
Although visual design elements, such as a corporate logo, play an important role in communicating the brand to members and the community, brand identity goes well beyond that.
“Branding goes much further than physical and visual elements,” he says. “It’s a true representation of everything embodied by the brand; it’s the delivery of what you believe.”
Ducey, who oversees Vibrant’s marketing, human resources, and member service functions, says credit unions must ensure there is strong alignment between their brand and core values.
“For us, brand strategy starts with our talent, ensuring they understand the impact and value we deliver,” he says. “As a not-for-profit financial cooperative, we truly believe we can change lives. If we deliver that promise through our teams, it’s easy for our talent to buy in and deliver the same promise to our members.
“If we can cultivate happy, healthy people both inside and outside the office, we will continue to grow our business,” he continues. “The experience we deliver through our teams permeates to our members and the communities we serve.
"We often say, ‘no one talks about what happened at their financial institution on a Friday night with friends and family.’ We ask, ‘why can’t they?’ We are responsible for delivering surprisingly different experiences—moments worth talking about.”