BY LISA LIEBMAN AND JENNIFER FORGÉT
Take a step-by-step walk through the strategies one credit union recently employed to rebrand itself to reflect its modern identity. This guided stroll through process, execution and results serves as a solid case study for other CUs that are considering rebranding themselves.
Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union (HVFCU) is a $4.1 billion not-for-profit financial institution that recently rebranded to better reflect its growing relationship with consumers and businesses in its upstate New York markets. The decision to rebrand was not undertaken lightly. While HVFCU had grown and evolved in the past 20 years, its brand identity remained the same and did little to represent the credit union, its constituencies or its future direction.
The brand’s new identity launched in May 2015 and is the cornerstone of a cross-channel marketing and advertising campaign that comprises broadcast, print, outdoor and digital marketing as well as merchandising and collateral materials throughout the HVFCU network of branches in Dutchess, Orange, Putnam and Ulster Counties, New York.
Here’s the story behind the rebranding process, execution and results. While this is just one credit union’s experience, its success makes for a solid case study for others considering such an undertaking.
The objective of the research was to get an understanding of the brand’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOTs) by exploring its perceptions among key internal and external audiences. This research included in- depth interviews (IDIs) with HVFCU’s board of directors and senior leadership, an online survey among employees and focus groups with consumer and business members and prospects. The insights gleaned from the research helped influence and drive the credit union’s repositioning. Some key highlights of the findings were that:
1. General perceptions of the brand are favorable among members and non-members alike.
2. The credit union is known for its high-service standards, even among non-members.
3. While HVFCU is recognized for the positive role it plays in the community, it could better communicate and deliver on how it serves members in “today’s world.” The research findings and implications served as the blueprint
for creating a new identity for HVFCU.