Branding is often seen through the wrong lens. It is often seen as a combination of your logo, promise, voice, font, and color palette. But to leave it there is an injustice to what brand really is. The brand is behavior. The behaviors your members/customers experience when they engage your employees, products, and services.
Think of brand this way. We all have a personality. Our personality is consistent day in, day out. Because of this consistency, our friends, family, and co-workers have a sense of how we will act and respond in different situations. When they describe your personality, they will use action words like friendly, funny, happy, reliable, etc. When someone knows you well, they can even anticipate, with reasonable accuracy how you will react in stressful or angry situations.
When your organization went through the branding exercise, part of this process was to agree to the credit union’s brand values and attributes. Often these values included action words such as Honest, Sincere, Friendly, Approachable, Authentic, Energetic, Expert, Unique, Fun, etc. The challenge for marketers is to convert these values into behaviors when your staff interacts with the members and each other.
To illustrate this idea of how behaviors either support the brand or are contradictory to your brand. Have you ever observed this kind of conversation in your credit union? A member’s loan application was not approved a presented, and the member service person says to the member, I’m sorry, they didn’t approve the loan.” This statement seems innocent, doesn’t it? But listen to what the MSR said. The loan was not approved because of “they.” Don’t They and the MSR all work for the same credit union? This statement is casting blame over the cubicle wall. If our brand says we are sincere, friendly, authentic, and honest, is this casting blame consistent with the brand values? It also demonstrates a lack of being a team player. A team member doesn’t blame a teammate; they accept the blame for the team. What the MSR should say is, “I’m sorry we could not approve the loan as submitted because …” This statement demonstrates integrity, teamwork, sincerity, and authenticity.
As marketers, a behavioral guidebook that links behaviors to the organizational values will allow the credit union to begin to live the brand.