Despite disruptions to service, credit unions’ focus on members will serve them well during the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, says Taylor Wells, communications director for On the Mark Strategies.
He addressed branding and the member experience during the CUNA eSchool, “Managing Economic and Operational Challenges During COVID-19,” offered free as a CUNA member benefit.
“Stay true to your original vision,” he says, by focusing on the three C’s of branding:
1. Clarity. Be clear about what your brand is and what it isn’t. Determine where you excel and where you don’t.
“This helps distinguish you from the competition,” Wells says.
2. Consistency. Be what you say you are in the best and worst of times. “If your brand experience focuses on friendly conversations with members, you need to provide that experience every time with every member,” he says. “Live up to what you promise or people will see right through you.”
3. Constancy. Make your brand visible—always. While credit unions have finite resources, achieve visibility to the greatest extent possible.
“You must have a brand that resonates with members,” Wells says.
He says credit unions can use the COVID-19 crisis as a means to improve the member experience. That entails:
• Starting internally. “Your level of external service will never exceed your level of internal service,” Wells says. “Take care of each other and live your brand with each other. Your brand needs to start internally before it moves externally.”
• Encouraging conversations with members through active listening, empathy, and engagement. “Be your members’ bartender,” he says. “Listen to your members spill their guts about what they’re facing. When members come to you with challenges and problems, look at that as an important investment of time.
“Realize you’re working with real people who have real challenges.”
• Offering financial solutions. Go beyond “use our app” with innovative products and services. Don’t make sales, provide solutions.
• Being a hero for members. “Now is not the time to pull back,” Wells says. “Keep an eye to the future in the post-virus environment. Use this as an opportunity for innovative thinking.
“Members will remember who accepted the challenge to help them—and who didn’t. Which will you be?”