BrandDo you think you know what branding is? While only you can answer for you, there are certainly a lot of voices out there (both expert and not so expert) that would like to help form your opinion. Odds are, if you are a bank or credit union professional with a few years’ experience under your belt, you’ve heard of branding and have at least a casual working knowledge of what it is and what it means to the future of your institution.

So while the jury is still out on exactly what branding is, it’s safe to say very little attention is paid to what branding isn’t. Bank and credit union professionals can learn a great deal about the true nature of branding by spending a little time learning what branding is not.

In that spirit, please read on for a few quick and dirty ideas about what a brand isn’t.

  • A brand is not a name.
  • A brand is not a website.
  • A brand is not a logo.
  • A brand is not a campaign or promotion.
  • A brand is not supplemental marketing materials (brochures, signs, banners, etc.).

Time and again, well-meaning banks and credit unions jump into big projects like a new name, logo or website thinking this will change their brand. Nothing could be further from the truth. While all these ancillary components are part of the brand, they certainly do not embody it.

Think of brand in terms of a bicycle wheel. On a typical wheel, many spokes lead towards the hub. In our example, the spokes are the name, logo, supplemental marketing materials and the website. There are also numerous other components, such as staff training, culture and dedication. All the spokes lead to the hub, which is your brand.

A wheel with broken spokes eventually falters. If all the components that make up your brand are not strong and straight, the branding hub that is the center of your wheel will collapse.

Branding is a lot of things. Branding also is not a lot of things. Bank and credit union professionals can learn much studying what a brand isn’t as compared to what it is.