Pick a Name…Any Name?

Sean Galli
Pick a Name…Any Name?

Picture a magic show. Even the most complex acts have some variation of the “pick a card, any card” trick. The card choice might appear random, but there’s actually hidden psychology behind what cards people choose most (and least).

There’s something magical about choosing a new name for your credit union or community bank too. And like the card choice in the magic trick, your name choice shouldn’t be random.

So, what goes into picking the perfect new name for your institution? Let’s find out…


Know Your Community


No magician puts on a show for themselves. They do it for an audience. 

You might hate some of the names you’re looking at during the branding process. But it’s not about you. It’s about your community – your audience.

Always lead with strategy and understand what appeals most to your community. This includes any historical niches (SEGs, original counties, older consumers) along with newer communities you’re targeting (added SEGs, new locations, Gen Z consumers).

It’s like walking a tight rope. Choose a name that’s too familiar, and people will still see you as the same credit union or community bank you were before. Choose a name that’s too foreign, and people will fail to recognize your community presence and long-standing experience. 

You want a goldilocks name. In other words, just right.

For example, we helped First Abilene FCU change their name to First Watch CU. The credit union served multiple counties and communities beyond Abilene and wanted a more inclusive name. First Watch accomplishes this task while honoring the first shift for hospital workers (their original member group).


Keep It Snappy


The best magic tricks have a timely conclusion. Get the timing wrong, and you disappoint the audience. 

Your name has an ideal timing to it as well. Specifically, you want your name to be short and sweet. Long names are a mouthful and hard to remember. Inconvenient acronyms function similarly. Consumers want more convenience from everything…including their brand names.

Think about some of the most popular brand names out there.Think about their length and simplicity. Apple, Peloton, Netflix, Amazon, Tesla– they’re all brief. You can recall these names in an instant and throw them out during a conversation without much effort. 

One name change client we had went by NAS JRB FCU…a complex acronym meant to reflect the credit union’s association to an Air Force base. By changing their name to INSTEP CU, the credit union became more noticeable in their market and easier to identify.


Choose Something Unique


A magic trick isn’t that entertaining if you’ve seen it a million times. And a new name won’t improve your credit union or community bank’s brand if it’s similar to other institutions.

In the internet age, similar names are especially harmful to your brand. Someone searching your name in Google could pull up several different locations with names that sound alike. A consumer could choose a competitor by accident. They could become confused and think you’re not in their area if they click the wrong result.

Let’s look at a search of “First Bank of Texas.” Just some of the options that come up are “First Bank Texas,” “First Texas Bank” and “First State Bank of Texas.” Which one was your friend talking about again? It’s hard to say.

Our own naming process uses multiple searches to ensure your name is unique and effective. Use a comprehensive search process to create something unique to you and easily identifiable to consumers. Then, you’ll have a brand that stands on its own and stakes its claim in your market.

Are you ready to stand out? Book a free consultation with On The Mark Strategies and pick out a name suited to your institution’s growth for years to come.


Sean Galli
Marketing Coordinator
Sean Galli
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