More Than A Commodity: Establishing A Lifestyle Brand
Think about brands you encounter and interact with in your everyday life. Apple. Target. IKEA. La Croix. These are examples of lifestyle brands — products and services that contribute to and directly affect your way of life. Now think about your Credit Union. Would you put it into the same category as the aforementioned brands? If not, it's time to take a hard look at why. In order for a CU to be truly successful and maintain longevity, it has to be more than just another financial institution.
So, how do you get there? A few areas to focus on first:
Create an internal culture that matches your external goals.
If you're trying to do something externally that you can't pull off internally, it will be hollow. Period. Tend to the needs of your team and take the time to communicate your CU's vision. This will trickle down to the way your members — and potential members — view you, and will ultimately determine whether or not they see value in partnering with you for their financial needs.
Appeal to emotions and heart.
Most brands are concerned with promoting a product. Lifestyle brands have a different focus because they know it's not about just the product — it's about a way of life. Tell stories and focus on building community so that your CU has a prominent place in your members' day-to-day endeavors on a deeper level.
Provide fresh, unique opportunities for members that reflect your values.
All good lifestyle brands are competing for choice. So, you should constantly be thinking about what you can do that only you can do. Your products, features, and promotions need to be a direct reflection of what you value and have an intentional tie-in with your audience's day-to-day endeavors and convenience. Give them something they can't live without.
Without establishing yourself as a lifestyle brand, you're really nothing more than a commodity. Don't fall into this trap. Be better than your competitors by establishing yourself as a valuable lifestyle brand in a sea of mediocre options.
David Clark is a writer and community advocate at James & Matthew. He joined our team in 2016 and currently resides in Bloomington, Indiana, where he enjoys running and eating copious amounts of Chipotle.