Think about all the competition your bank or credit union faces. There are all the other banks and credit unions around town, not to mention payday lenders, upstart online banking options and even crowd-sourced lending options. It’s definitely a crowded playing field.

If you’ve already invested time and money in a brand, congratulations, you’re on the right track. However, in order to truly divest itself from the cacophony of other financial services providers vying for consumers’ time, your brand must have its own unique voice.

More importantly, this brand voice must accurately and actively mirror your bank or credit union culture. Culture, the genetic makeup of your financial situation, is best uncovered and polished-off during brand-specific workshop exercises. The road to unearthing your unique culture (and subsequent brand voice) will require deep-thinking, answering difficult questions and taking big steps. But the end result, your unique brand voice, is worth the effort.

For example, let’s say your unique bank or credit union culture revolves around the area you serve. Nymeo Federal Credit Union, serving Frederick County, Maryland, adapted not only a unique name (“Nymeo – A new way to look at money”) but also an internal brand culture voice that reflects their local community. Specifically focusing on the importance of microbreweries to the area’s economy and social scene, Nymeo adopted a brand voice of “microbrewed financial services.” It’s a bold play but works well when your credit union voice accurately depicts your culture (as it does with Nymeo).

Bank and credit union brand voices can come from other areas, such as internal strengths and expertise. For example, your bank or credit union might build a brand voice that focuses on your terrific mobile and digital product/service offerings. Or, your brand voice could play off of your widespread network of brick-and-mortar branch locations. Whatever your brand voice, again, it is vital that it accurately represents who you are. If, for example, your brand voice tries to emphasize the speed which you apply to the loan process when, in reality, consumers gripe about how slow you are in lending, there is a brand gap. Your brand voice, by not truthfully depicting who you are, does damage to your overall brand equity.

Great singers are known by their voices. Mel Torme was known as the “Velvet Fog.” Frank Sinatra was the “Chairman of the Board.” And everyone knows what is in the air when couples decide to put on a little Barry White. What is your bank or credit union’s version of brand voice?