Every financial institution wants a strong brand. Duh. But how do you get there? According to Randy Schultz, brand evangelist and buzz initiator with Weber Marketing, you must think big with your brand. Randy and I had the opportunity to lead CUNA’s Credit Union Certified Marketing Executive Bootcamp recently.

“Just because we’re a financial institution doesn’t mean we have to look like every other financial institution,” Schultz said. “You have to think big. We tend to play it safe. Credit unions that are growing are those that are embracing changing their brands and taking a few risks.”

Schultz gives three recommendations when it comes to thinking big with your brand:

(1)  Transform—Banking is boring, according to Schultz. “Branding effects everything so we can no longer work in silos,” he says. He encourages credit unions to focus on it all: your core brand, your personality, you products & services, your staff actions and your touch points. Thinking big with your brand means transforming your credit union.

(2)  Inspire—“Branding is the experience that lives inside you,” Schultz says. “Everybody in your credit union should know your brand promise and should be passionate and energized to live it every day.” Thinking big with your brand means inspiring your members and your staff.

(3)  Challenge—He says that we’re not expecting enough from our staff. “We need to challenge our staff to do more than just call the member by their name,” Schultz said. Thinking big with your brand means pushing your staff to serve consumers outside the credit union and not just inside.

“Saying your credit union is Caring, Responsive And Personal is just CRAP,” Schultz jokes (notice the CRAP acronym). He notes that every other financial institution is saying the same thing.

“Thinking big with your brand means focusing on your targets, finding out what matters to them and delivering them a brand promise that is unique,” he notes. “Ultimately, you want to blend out and not blend in.”