Does your credit union brand need attention?

There’s a great line from the movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off when the lead character says “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” I think about that line when I realize I need to get my head out of a book or off a screen and check out my surroundings. Maybe this one of the reasons why I notice some cool things in airports — and why sometimes those things apply to the world of marketing and branding.

Take, for example, this restroom sign from the Columbia Metropolitan Airport in Columbia, South Carolina. Talk about a place that is open to comments! Lots of public restrooms have signs now that say something along the lines of “If this place isn’t clean, please let us know.” But that is so closed-ended. It’s the equivalent of the old-fashioned suggestion box. Very few people are going to do it. Especially in the digital age.

But texting? Find me a person over 5 and under 85 that isn’t texting these days. By opening itself up to anonymous text suggestions, the airport lays bare its brand of “clean” to a scrutinizing populace.

What if your credit union was to do the same thing — and not just in its bathrooms, but for its brand as a whole?

Marketers, business development professionals and anyone else interested in the brand of your credit union could benefit from this. It’s almost like a continuously revolving (and evolving) net promoter score (NPS). Every branch facility could sport a sign similar to the airport example inviting members to let you know how you are living up to the brand. Few members will take the time to fill out a comment card and even fewer will call or email with feedback. But again, with so many people texting these days, you could really open the door wide to feedback.

As with a marketing audit, this feedback is not always pleasant to hear. But need to hear it, you do. You can spend all kinds of time, money and effort building a brand, but if your frontline staff does not buy into it, believe in it, and live it in front of your members, it’s a wasted effort. So you really do want to hear from members when one of your staff fails to live up to your brand — whether that brand is built around friendliness, professionalism, speed or some other trait unique to your credit union.

And this feedback is not always negative. You should also encourage members to let you know when an employee does live up to the brand, going the extra mile to ensure that their needs are addressed. It’s kind of like the “ring the bell if you had great service today” at the exit of every Long John Silver’s – only in a cooler, digital way.

I wager you would receive a variety of responses — from things like “Amy, the teller at the downtown branch, did an awesome job today” to “Matt, my loan officer today, acted like he could care less if I was in the building or not” to “the bathroom at your Eastside branch is disgusting.” Again, when you open yourself to this kind of anonymous digital scrutiny, you must be prepared to take the good with the bad. Then you must act upon the positive and negative coments in order to reinforce and reinvigorate your brand.

Airports, while generally a hassle, can also serve as a hotbed of ideas that can apply to marketing and branding – as long as you stop and look around once in a while. Thanks, Ferris.

Mark Arnold

Mark Arnold

Mark Arnold is an acclaimed speaker, brand expert and strategic planner helping businesses such as credit unions and banks achieve their goals with strategic marketing insights and energized training. Mark ... Web: Details