Alan Bergstrom
Alan Bergstrom

Presidential-caliber branding

‘Go big or go home’ mentality sets foundation for Community Choice CU’s growth.

October 6, 2017

His colleagues describe him in many ways: bold, insightful, grounded, dedicated. And that only scratches the surface.

As the chief marketing officer and senior vice president of strategic development, Alan Bergstrom is credited with rapidly growing Community Choice Credit Union in Farmington Hills, Mich. The credit union nearly doubled its assets in the three years since he was recruited in 2014—from $530 million to $1 billion.

“While I am not solely responsible for that growth, I had a hand in driving brand awareness for the organization, enhancing a positive reputation, and delivering a compelling experience,” Bergstrom says. “There are many team members here who have contributed to our rapid growth. We have an incredible team at Community Choice that I am proud to be a part of.”

A proponent of marketing efforts that are equal parts risky and strategic, Bergstrom has a “go big or go home” philosophy.

“In a crowded marketing environment, I am a strong believer in the need to get people’s attention, do something that is considered fun and memorable, and include a specific call to action,” he says.

‘Many team members here have contributed to our rapid growth.’

Before Community Choice, Bergstrom owned and operated a strategic brand and marketing consulting firm. He also worked as the director of brand and creative services at CUNA Mutual Group.

And in the 1980s, Bergstrom served as a captain in the U.S. Air Force, giving daily intelligence briefings to President Ronald Reagan.

“The most important thing I learned from that experience is that not everyone responds to the same message or communication vehicle—you need different ways to communicate the same idea,” he says. “For example, President Reagan responded better to visual messaging rather than printed reports. He was a ‘picture and movie’ person.”

The father of three and native Wisconsinite is working on a book tentatively titled, “The Brands that Made Wisconsin Famous and The Stories Behind Them.”

And Bergstrom, whom Filene Research Institute recently selected to serve in its prestigious i³ innovation program, continues to enjoy working in the credit union movement.

“Our purpose statement is to help our neighbors live the life they desire—and we do that every day,” he says. “To me, that’s the credit union difference.”