New year, new brand: The elements of an effective rebrand

Rebranding your credit union is a complicated process, and the most successful transformations are backed by data and research. It’s not as simple as changing your logo, slogan, or brand colors – your brand is core to your vision, values, and cultural positioning, and must be relatable to your members.

If your new year’s resolution is to revitalize your credit union’s marketing strategy, a rebrand could be the way forward. By refining your brand, you can establish a deeper connection with your current members and grow your position in the market, leveraging brand loyalty and engagement.

Let’s take a look at the elements of an effective rebrand.

Research and strategize

Strategy is key to establishing the foundations of a rebrand. In order to refresh your organization’s identity, you need to understand what is working now, and more importantly, what isn’t.

The first step in rebranding your financial institution is to take a deep dive into your current brand perception by analyzing your culture and evaluating your brand awareness and engagement. Make sure you consider your brand position, competitors, and identify cultural brand gaps.

Through analyzing your target market, you can use personas to segment your members and understand the values that they connect with. A thorough evaluation is always helpful – take a look at your brand personality, organizational mission, and vision, and don’t forget to review your internal brand culture too.

This discovery and understanding of your credit union can be collated into a new, refreshed, and informed brand strategy that will provide the basis for a successful rebrand.

Define your new you

Once you have gained an understanding of the strategy behind the rebrand, the next step is to define the new vision and values that provide the building blocks of your refreshed brand identity.

Maintaining your brand’s connection with your members is essential at this stage. A rebrand is typically only necessary when a company needs a lift in engagement, is moving in a renewed or expanded direction, or changes business models, so be sure you’re clear on which elements of your existing brand resonates most with your members, and tie the new brand back to pieces of your heritage that members will most appreciate.

Showcase your brand personality and engage with your members in new ways through your new brand – this builds trust and encourages them to remain loyal to your credit union. Highlighting the positives in changing the look and feel of your brand isn’t such a bad thing when it comes to communicating with your target audience in an honest and personalized way.

While developing a powerful new brand story demonstrates the reasoning behind the change, it also sets your brand apart from the competition.

A brand story isn’t just a gimmick – research by Headstream found that if people connect with a brand story then they are 55% more likely to buy a product or service in the future, 44% more likely to share the story, and 15% more likely to engage with the organization immediately.

Make data-backed branding decisions

Make an extensive list of every brand touchpoint and identify what needs to change to reflect your new brand. Updating both visual and non-visual brand elements can uplift a brand and bring a new identity to life, but it’s important to utilize the wealth of data at your fingertips to make informed branding decisions.

When it comes to updating your logo, define the elements of the logo that are the most recognizable, and consider keeping aspects of this to maintain consistency and familiarity with your members. An effectively rebranded logo inspires excitement in an evolving brand.

Color is a powerful way to communicate. In fact, Color Communications suggest that in the 90 seconds it takes for someone to form an opinion of a brand, more than 62% of decisions are influenced by color alone. Consider applying color psychology to your selection of brand colors – they will evoke the emotions and values that represent your rebranded identity.

At each step, review your data, research, and strategy to establish what would most effectively represent your core values and appeal to your target audience before implementing changes.

Inspire your most important brand champions 

A cohesive internal brand culture is essential to a successful rebrand. Your employees have the potential to be your biggest brand ambassadors, but without comprehensive brand education, they have the power to derail a new identity from the inside out.

Communicate clearly and openly – explain the reasoning behind the rebrand, what it aims to achieve, and establish a long-term plan for internal brand engagement. In order for your employees to embrace a rebrand, they need to understand the strategy and values that the new branding represents.

Consistency is vital – ensure your team are provided the tools and training to engage wholly with all aspects of the new brand. Every individual across the organization forms a piece of the puzzle – they bring integrity and humanity to your brand and represent its core values with every internal and external connection they make.


Want to learn more? Curious if you should rebrand? Or maybe you’re ready to take the leap. EmpowerFi™ helps credit unions and financial institutions transform their use of data and strategy to improve marketing and brand engagement. 

Real people, real branding experience. Let’s chat. Schedule a one-on-one brand consultation today!

Hilary Reed

Hilary Reed

Hilary Reed, founder of EmpowerFi, is an innovative thought-leader who has been involved in various aspects of strategic sales and marketing for 15 years. Her career began in 2000 when ... Web: Details