In 2016, Portage Credit Union and Austin Credit Union joined forces to become an 18,000-member strong financial institution. However, this merger wasn’t a question of one credit union simply acquiring another. The two CEOs wanted to ensure that the new entity would represent their shared values and go to market with a unified brand positioning designed to help the credit union continue to gain market share. They came to Metric to ensure that their new brand, visual identity, launch strategy and subsequent campaigns would be founded on research and designed to resonate with members.
The first step in the process involved an in-depth market assessment. Through primary, secondary and third-party commissioned research, we were able to develop member profiles and customer journeys for three main audiences and build competitive profiles on other financial institutions in the area.
We used this research to create a new brand story, shape internal messaging, define competitive advantages and build communication pillars to help differentiate the credit union. This brand direction also helped to inform a new name for the entity, with consideration for search visibility, trademark potential and URL and social media handle availability.
The process then moved on to involving members, who were asked to visit membervote.ca and select the name that resonated most with them. We communicated this campaign through digital ads, newsletters, bill inserts, radio ads, in-branch TV monitors and marketing collateral. At the end of the process, nearly ¾ of members contributed to the process.
Once the Stride Credit Union name was chosen, we developed a new logo, colour palette and identity system for the brand, as well as support materials such as stationery, trade show booths, PowerPoint presentations, pull-up banners and vehicle wraps. The extensive rebrand also saw a complete redesign of every aspect of the credit union’s physical spaces. We played a key role in the environmental design of the new credit union locations, including Portage la Prairie’s arena. Formerly called Portage Credit Union Centre (PCU Centre), the building was renamed Stride Place, and everything from signage to paint colours was redone to complement the new brand.
To roll out the new brand messaging, we then created content marketing guidelines and an overarching communication framework to help build social profiles that would speak to their members and the general public. We customized Google Analytics to collect reliable data for their marketing teams to ensure accurate reporting would inform future campaigns.
Finally, we developed and deployed a marketing campaign that spanned print, radio and digital media to build awareness of the new brand while promoting the products and services offered. In the first two months post launch, the credit union received more converting leads than the organizations had received through any other marketing effort. In addition, two years after the merger, the organization saw a 18% increase in assets under management and are now in the top 50 credit unions of Canada.
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