5 Guidelines for Creating a Memorable BrandShare:
In a related post, we discussed brand management from a conceptual standpoint; more specifically, the idea that having no identity is preferable to having a poor identity. Look, feel and perception can be largely subjective, but eventually, we have to pick a path and develop a real set of corporate brand guidelines.
If your credit union has made the decision to take control and project an identity, or if you think it’s time for an image update, here are a few considerations to take into account:
- Define Your Identity: Before deciding on color, font, messaging or logo, it’s essential to define your credit union’s brand. Take inventory of the components that are already in place. What is your stated mission? What are the consumer benefits of working with you? Who do you want to attract to your member base? How can you differentiate from your competition? These are all great questions to take in to account when evaluating your identity. Be confident in who you are, and don’t be afraid to project it to current or potential members.
- Develop a Look and Feel: Color palettes, typography, logo creation ... it can be a lot to handle. If you’re going to employ outside help on anything, this should be it. Professional graphic artists spend years honing and developing the nuanced points of aesthetics and color theory. A good designer will be able to take your credit union’s stated mission, goals and targets, and create a visually appealing graphic layout that is appropriate, unique, versatile and memorable.
- Create Consistency: The point of branding is to develop a memorable identity. If the look and feel of your marketing collateral changes piece to piece, it could confuse the intended audience and water down your messaging. Items don’t have to be identical, but there should be some continuity among brochures, business cards, letterheads, signage, packaging, forms and the like. This goes beyond the obvious visual aspects, there should be a conceptual continuity as well regarding voice and personality.
- Build Awareness: All the branding in the world won’t make a difference if it doesn't reach your audience. Creativity and a good marketing team go a long way in terms of execution. Know your target. Are you more likely to build engagement through inbound or outbound marketing channels? Consider channels like paid search, email marketing, social media, direct mail, etc. You know your credit union and your members; determine where you’re most likely to garner their attention. Make sure you’re staying visible and tracking and measuring ROI.
- Follow Through: Your credit union’s brand identity is its first impression, but with the right moves, it will be the first of many. Once you've attracted new members and expanded your membership, follow through and keep your promises. The altruistic nature of the credit union industry makes this step especially important, but perhaps the most easily executed. Your members love you for a reason. Once you get them in the door, keeping them coming back should be the easy part.
This may seem like a tall order, but keep in mind that with the onset of any new system, the initial investment (both time and money) is often the biggest obstacle. Once you've established a structure and have a set of guidelines in place, the routine becomes much more simplistic. Just remember to trust your intuition, engage your audience and be consistent.
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