When synchronized, the promise your brand makes becomes validated by the culture in which members are serviced. Because member experience is driven by the culture your staff embraces as every day life, it is imperative that everything from staff training to branch and facility design match what your brand has promised.
Complete the following sentence with a statement that your marketing department would use as part of your brand messaging: Come into ABC credit union where_____. Then ask someone who doesn’t work in the marketing department to complete the sentence. How close were the responses?
When brand and culture are not working in tandem you risk many things—member satisfaction, potential memberships and most importantly, your reputation. If your credit union hangs its hat on community involvement then every member touch point should demonstrate that commitment. Each employee should be well versed in the last few events you supported (hopefully they were present for at least one) and upcoming events should be easy for all members and staff to learn about.
Creating a culture that supports the organization’s brand requires significant planning, time, training and involvement from every level. To start, think of your brand like it’s your corporate business plan; each area of operation should demonstrate how they will support it. Using the community involvement example, the retail department could make a commitment to learn about, and participate in events on a regular basis. Marketing could tout community involvement opportunities. IT could offer a function on your mobile app to find upcoming events or make donations. Accounting could become versed in the impact of your involvement to show that X% of the corporate budget impacted the community by Y. Facilities can get involved by displaying props from events in the branch lobby such as a motorcycle to promote an upcoming motorcycle toy run with toys on it and collection boxes.
Every department and every employee can support an organization’s brand through the company culture. The key is making the culture something everyone from the top down lives, breathes and believes in. When disconnected, brand and culture become evil twins, doppelgangers, which crumble the foundation so many efforts are working to build on. Creating a culture that invests in the organization’s brand brings together the perfect pair of attributes to contribute to your credit union’s success.