It’s all very well and good to conceptualize a brand promise, but until the process is formalized, it will remain just that: a concept. Building and delivering on a brand promise is ultimately a multi-departmental task, meaning roadblocks can appear when you require buy-in from multiple leaders.
There are many ways for a credit union to formalize their brand promise, but one of the most effective methods is instilling it in the work culture. While it’s generally true that much of branding is and should be handled by the marketing department, branding also affects all levels of an organization, especially sales, customer service and even HR as it relates to the hiring and onboarding of new employees.
A credit union needs to eat, breathe and live their brand promise every day — it's one thing to say you’re going to deliver the best member service but it's another to actually deliver it. This starts by gathering input from the credit union’s staff to define what that brand promise is and identifying how it can be weaved throughout every fiber of the institution. Here are the steps to start that process:
1. Decide who should be brand champions. Ideally, all employees should be brand ambassadors — endorsing the company brand on social media, promoting important events and being motivated by the company mission. Brand champions take this to the next level; they are essentially compliance officers for your brand promise, ensuring the brand promise is being kept, applied and grown appropriately across the organization. They can also serve as advocates and spokespeople for your brand on behalf of the organization in a public-facing role. While formalizing the branding process, organizations should identify individuals and teams that actively work on improving the brand promise. Brand champions are more than cheerleaders; they work hand-in-hand with other departments to ensure there is a clear and consistent brand message.
2. Set milestones. After constructing this cross-functional team, ensure regular meetings are held and the team works toward achieving concrete milestones. There are many factors that can affect an organization’s brand, such as a new marketing campaign or product launch. The brand champion’s job is to ensure this message aligns with the organization’s strategic goals. Consistency is key.
3. Get buy-in from leaders. Consistent brand messaging, especially from an organization’s leaders, is important. A credit union’s leaders set the tone for the organization’s brand promise. It is their passion for serving members that drives the credit union, so it only makes sense for senior management to be involved in the brand crafting process.
4. Engage employees. How can you expect customers to be engaged if employees aren’t? How committed is your leadership? Credit unions have a good track record in promoting their brand through hiring, onboarding, training and career development.
This is an evergreen process that can be repeated when new leadership and employees join the credit union’s team and as the credit union pursues new marketing initiatives.