Credit Union brands: consistency and market focus keys to success.
RATIO wrote this on Jan 30, 2015

Recently, Business in Vancouver published a story related to the changes that have occurred with BC’s Credit Unions. The dichotomy of growing membership but fewer credit union brands is interesting and presents a challenge. The trend towards mergers in the sector means there are now fewer than 40 credit union brands compared to 1996 when there were around 100.  Here: BIV story; Jan. 27, 2015  and  List of biggest credit unions in BC

Mergers in a sector that  has been intrinsically linked  to local community, presents a challenge from a branding point of view. We are often in conversation with our Credit Union clients about how best to reflect the specific cultures and communities that they serve. We think it is important to develop clear strategy for balancing overall operational and brand experience with the need to connect with individual communities.

Credit Unions are about community, people and relationships. So, how do Credit Unions  keep brand consistency across credit union branches and communities? How does Credit Union branch design support those brand characteristics that set it apart from competitors and deliver on the promise of community support?  See our Distinctive Thinking piece on  how Credit Unions community branch design helps deliver on brand promise, and high value transactions.  We recognized that the value of the brand hinged not only on organizational consistency but also on the individual relationships built between branch staff and members in each community. Supporting these relationships is the reference for every design decision made.

RATIO’s perspective comes from decades of experience helping organizations carry their brand promise over to the built environment.  Where does a brand live?   It lives with customers, employees, product attributes, customer service, online, marketing — and the physical place of  business. Your place of business is a visible asset, and connecting your brand is a value-based strategy that reinforces what your organization stand for.

In the case of financial institutions, how does RATIO translate the important mission of serving member connections and fostering long-term relationships into a consistent brand across each branch network? And, still deliver unique community branches? Here are a few examples  of our  recent work:

Envision Financial

Island Savings

Salmon Arm Savings & Credit Union

Vancity Branch renovations


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