Last month I had the honor and privilege of serving as one of the lead instructors at the annual CUES School of Strategic Marketing held in Seattle. We talked all things credit union branding and marketing for credit unions. It was a terrific week of fun and informative classes led by enthusiastic and up-and-coming credit union professionals from across the United States and Canada.

Some of the best education, however, came outside the formal classroom in the form of field trips. The first field trip was to the Starbucks Reserve Roastery which is described as “an immersive, dramatic, theatrical expression of our coffee passion …” After touring the facility, I completely agree.

One of the most intriguing elements of the tour was the opportunity to discuss the famous Starbucks corporate culture with our terrific tour guide (and now I can always say I’ve had a tour of the Starbucks Reserve Roastery with a Frenchman who left his job as a trapeze artist with Cirque du Soleil to work for the famous coffee company).

Our group learned a great deal about Starbucks culture during the tour. However, one thing that particularly stuck with me came from a question I posed to our tour guide. The dialogue went something like this …

Me: So what do you do when, after all these weeks of branded culture training, a particular employee at any Starbucks location just cannot or will not get in line with the brand?

Tour Guide: Classic French sneer and shoulder shrug with a gentle backwards kick motion (as in “kick them to the door”).

After our groups’ laughter subsided, the tour guide went on to add “Seriously, who wouldn’t like to work at Starbucks?”

Bank and credit union professionals who have implemented or are in the process of implementing a brand can probably relate to this sentiment/question. From experience, mathematically, most of your staff will be willing and able to embrace a new brand experience. However, there will always be some that, for whatever reason, cannot or will not get in line with your new brand.

It takes courage and commitment on the part of the brand leadership team at your financial institution to implement our tour guide’s advice when it comes to brand adherence. It’s not always an easy call to make but in order for your financial institution brand to thrive, you need an entire corporate culture of people who enthusiastically say “seriously, who wouldn’t like to work here?”