Financial institutions can’t always predict what greatness will result from a strategic planning session. Great Lakes Credit Union’s session resulted in a unique branding element they call a member promise:

  • We promise to listen, be responsive to your needs, simplify your financial life, and make it easy to do business with us.
  • We promise to build valued relationships by discovering your needs and delivering relevant products and services.
  • We promise to be knowledgeable and respectful: one transaction, one interaction and one member at a time.

This promise is what credit union employees use as a guide to live the credit union’s brand every day. Even better, the promise was developed by staff.

“Our operations staff are the ones who will be carrying out the member promise more than anyone else,” said Yvonne Bailey, senior vice president and COO of Great Lakes Credit Union. “It made sense to actively involve them in the process.”

Bailey asked all branch managers to go back to their staff and put together three sentences on how they serve their members. She and a team of employees then condensed the information and choose the three sentences most suggested by staff.

“It’s a brand promise, but I wanted to call it a member promise. I believe we already offer excellent member service at all points, but having this reminder visible in our branches will enhance the service we give and help differentiate us from competitors,” said Bailey.

The member promise is prominently displayed in the credit union’s branches and in support staff offices so all employee are on the same page.

“I am very conscious that we have to live the brand promise” said Bailey. “We’re not just going to hang it on the wall. We’re going to live it. I had someone tell me that she went into a financial institution and their promise was to treat their members likes family. When she asked if her child could use the bathroom, they told her she couldn’t because it was only for employees. That’s not living your promise.”

Some of the changes Great Lakes has made to better live its member promise include changing the name of it business development department to community development and changing the name of its marketing plan to a member plan. They also discussed and defined specific member demographics they would target to support the member promise, and they plan to continue their relationship management program.

“We call members who have not used our branches in a while. It’s not a sales call at all. We just call to let them know we we care about them, we miss them and we are here for them if they need anything. That seems to be working,” Bailey said.

How does your financial institution live its brand promise?