When it comes to building loyalty among account holders, your products and services are important, but not as essential as the overall experience you provide.
That’s what makes corporate branding so important to financial institutions. If there’s a disconnect between who you say you are and how you act as an organization, your employees can get frustrated, which may lead to corrosion of your customer or member base. No one likes a fake!
A healthy, value-driven culture boosts employee morale, empowerment and productivity—and these translate into a great member experience. That’s why it’s essential to align your credit union’s culture and branding efforts.
Here’s how your financial institution can build your corporate brand:
1. Be Authentic, Not Trendy.
To quote Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh, “Your culture is your brand.” So, make sure your brand accurately expresses who you are as an organization. Develop a 5- to 10-sentence brand promise based on your vision, mission, and values. Be introspective and realistic, because it needs to reflect what you are prepared to do and the real value you will provide your accountholders.
2. Explain Your Purpose.
In an ideal corporate culture, every employee is a brand ambassador. How much your employees understand and believe in your brand promise will determine how well they live it out with your accountholders and community members. Training and ongoing communication is critical.
3. Take a Leadership Role.
Because culture and brand are so interwoven, you and your marketing team play a vital role in helping your organization “talk the talk” and “walk the walk” through the outward-facing marketing and advertising and inward-facing employee training materials that you develop.
4. Work as a Team.
Of course, the task of building and reinforcing your brand and culture goes far beyond marketing. Work closely with HR and senior leadership to ensure all your internal and external communications, both formal and informal, consistently reflect your brand promise.
5. Make It Immersive.
According to data from Gallup, less than one-third of U.S. employees are engaged in their workplace. Support HR in developing programs that build community among your employees. These can be informal, “town hall” style conversations with senior leadership or fun activities like morning icebreakers and social events. It’s also important to make your brand a part of all hiring and onboarding activities. After all, the success of a new hire has as much to do with shared values as job skills.
Aligning your brand and culture requires seeing both the forest and the trees. It’s important to understand and strengthen your culture at the organizational level while making sure it’s expressed through every form of communication.
At Lightstream, we have many years’ experience helping banks and credit unions do both. To learn how our team of strategists, writers and designers can support your brand and culture, reach out today.