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On Branding: Is Your Veteran Brand, Logo Holding Your CU Back?

There's been a lot of change in the credit union industry over the past few years. Mergers, changes in charters, and the continued emergence of electronic banking options are all changing the way credit unions market, and to whom they're marketing to. But for a lot of credit unions their name and logo hold them back-the same way wearing a battered ten-year-old suit and shoes would hold you back at a big job interview.

Here are five questions to help you determine if your name and logo still support your brand:

1. Does your name represent the full field of membership your charter allows you to serve? It sounds very basic, but a lot of credit unions still have names that refer to their original fields of membership, or that describe a geographic area that does not cover the full area of membership in their current charter.

2. Does your logo match your current brand personality? Do the font, graphic design, color and tag line appeal to your key target groups and represent the credit union's brand personality?

3. Have you updated your charter, branch design, product lines and market position since you last updated your name and/or logo? Compare your logos on building signs, brochures, shirts, debit cards-every place you can find them. Are they the same, or have you shifted the layout, colors, theme line or any other aspects to fit different uses? If you have strayed from your logo design in any way you need to select one design and stick with it.

4. Is your logo a source of pride among employees, members and your board? If not, that's a clue you may need to update or change it.

5. How do CUs get out of synch between their name and logo and their current field of membership and market positioning? The most common reasons are a board of directors that refuses to change the name even after a charter is expanded to widen the field of membership or a management team reluctant to spend the money to update signage and print materials.

These are not good reasons to create an uphill battle for your marketing efforts to create awareness among potential new members. That makes as much sense as decorating your branches in colors and designs popular in the 1960s and expecting members to believe you offer the latest in products and technology.

Your brand is your credit union. Keep it current and it will help guide you to a brighter future.

Paul Lucas is a marketing and branding consultant specializing in credit unions. For info: www.pauljlucas.com.

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