Don’t you dare utter ‘not on brand’

When you find yourself saying, “it’s not on brand,” do you understand why you are saying it?

Uttering these words should prompt us to question whether we truly grasp the essence of our brand identity and what it represents. It’s not merely a matter of adhering to a color palette or logo; it encompasses the entire attitude and personality of our brand.

If you are getting hung up on visual identity alone, something is wrong. Let me explain: Too many credit unions view their brand guides as law. Despite the term “guide” in the name, most follow strict, rigid, and literal interpretations, which harms their brand. And honestly, most of these guides involve design standards, not actual brand standards.

I remember one credit union that came to Your Marketing Co. after undergoing a rebrand elsewhere. It was like trying to give therapy to cult survivors. What they had been taught actually discouraged critical thinking. They would point to words in their guide such as “mold,” “make,” and “execute,” which they were told must be included in their messaging.


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