Does branding really work? What’s the return on investment (ROI) of branding? Can you quantify branding?

Those are common questions many CEOs, CFOs and boards rightfully ask their marketers. Sometimes there is a myth that you can’t measure branding. However, the reality is branding leads to growth.

It certainly did for Blue Eagle Credit Union (Roanoke, VA). In 2012, the credit union was known as Roanoke Postal Credit Union. For multiple strategic reasons, the credit union chose to become a community charter, change its name and rebrand itself. The new name and brand launched in January 2013.

So over a year later, what are the results?

“We’ve seen a lot of positive growth,” says Laurissa Grubb, vice president of marketing for Blue Eagle Credit Union. “And much of that growth has come from the new brand’s word of mouth.”

Comparing year to year, Blue Eagle Credit Union saw these results:

  • 16.50% loan growth
  • 11.5% asset growth
  • 5.13% net membership growth

What were some of the secrets of going from a single sponsor credit union to experiencing the above growth numbers with a new brand and name?

One step the credit union took was to have an extensive communication plan in place. They used multiple touch points, from written communication to senior team members talking to members in their branches. The new name connects with those it needs to connect with but is also open enough to the public.

“The membership embraced the change because we were so intentional and transparent,” Grubb says. “We had been their postal credit union for 60+ years. Yes, they wanted to hold onto it but they understood the need for change. They understood we wanted to be around another 60 years for them.”

When it comes to rebranding, Grubb offers the following tips:

Hire an outside third party—for expertise but also for objectiveness; they can share insights that we can’t see.

  • Have a group perspective—use a team of staff, board members and managers; you have to have perspective from all areas.
  • Take your time—make sure you are making the right moves.
  • Be intentional—Creating buy-in helps with the process.
  • Brand internally—Your brand is not only your look and feel; it is critical that your staff live the brand every day.

“With branding in particular, it is not a one and done thing,” Grubb adds. “It is easy to get busy with your day to day. Your brand must be a top priority: you have to focus on it daily, monthly, quarterly and yearly.”

Blue Eagle Credit Union has certainly had that brand focus. And as a result, they’ve experienced significant growth.