Strengthen your credit union with internal storytelling

Culture is often the vehicle that takes an organization from good to great. It can be credited with impacting your business in a variety of ways, from improving financial importance to increasing job satisfaction and employee retention, to inspiring customer loyalty.

In many ways, your organization’s culture is the living, breathing manifestation of your brand. Your brand is the story you tell consumers, the experience they have, and the stories they tell about you. It’s also the story you tell yourself as an organization. Any marketer can tell you that brands fail when the consumer’s experience doesn’t live up to the brand’s promise. Organizational cultures fail when the employee experience doesn’t live up to the brand promise, too.

Organizations whose brand and culture are well aligned are fairly easy to spot. They’re the places people want to work and the businesses people want to do business with. It’s also pretty easy to see when a brand and culture are not mutually supportive: employees are frustrated and customers are disappointed. Most organizations, however, fall in that gray area in between: their brand and their culture are fairly well aligned, but they’re not quite able to reach their full potential. Credit unions are no exception.

One of the most powerful ways to reinforce your brand is through a culture of storytelling. Encouraging employees to share stories about whatever is important to your brand (innovation? personal service? finding solutions?) serves two purposes: reinforcement and inspiration. When employees share their positive stories and experiences with one another, it reinforces a sense of shared identity and purpose and helps your entire team realize on how their individual actions can have an impact. It also builds pride in the organization, rewards positive behavior, and inspires employees to seek out more ways to deliver on the brand’s promise.

Here are a few ways you can encourage a culture of positive storytelling at your credit union:

  1. Encourage employees to share successes and positive stories as part of their daily routine.
  2. Create a recognition program to acknowledge employees who are living the brand to its fullest.
  3. Share positive comment cards (or other means of member feedback) with the entire organization.
  4. Open each recurring meeting (such as weekly or monthly department meetings) by having participants share a positive story.
  5. Empower managers to give on-the-spot awards for employee excellence, with the requirement that the reason for the reward must be shared with the entire organization.

If the only stories your employees are sharing revolve around their workplace stresses and frustrations, both your culture and your brand will suffer. People naturally tend to speak loud and long about things that upset them. But when you establish a culture where positive stories are shared, rewarded, and retold, the conversation changes.

Positive thinking is contagious. Need a real life example? Look at the Ritz-Carlton’s storytelling culture. The more you encourage your employees to share positive examples of your brand in action, the more good news stories you’ll inspire. The result will be happier employees and happier members.


Positive thinking is contagious =

Ritz-Carlton storytelling culture =

Megan Miranda

Megan Miranda

Megan Miranda is the Director of Creative Strategy at Third Degree Advertising, a leading strategic marketing firm that specializes in helping progressive credit unions successfully navigate growth and transition in ... Web: Details