Credit Union Brand Metrics Part III: Market Awareness

Samantha Strickland
Purple glowing brain

Nearly every creative consultant, marketing executive, and industry journalist has an opinion about your credit union’s brand. They may even go so far as to say your brand is “good.” But “good is the enemy of great," right? And most advice you’re going to get is based on opinion, not facts. In this 4-part series, we will approach the question about the strength of your brand more pragmatically and review some key data points that you can easily access, track, and measure to determine how well your brand resonates.

Go Back to Part I

Go Back to Part II


Market Awareness

A brand is not a logo. A brand is not a commercial. A brand is real estate in the mind of a consumer.

This includes how your current members perceive you. But it also relates to how much property you take up in the mind of a non-member. Are you a viable solution to their next financial need? And how would you know?

Every smart marketer needs a robust annual (if not more regular) member survey to acquire information beyond the numbers, such as:

  • What’s on your members’ technology wish list? 
  • Where would they like to see a credit union branch planted? 
  • Are they comfortable with more clicks and less bricks? 

Your current membership is the first market to consider when looking to grow business. Ask questions about their likelihood to think of you the next time they need financial support for things like a vehicle, home loan, or investment services. With the right questions, you can get answers that will help shape your strategic marketing efforts moving forward. 

If your current members don’t consider your credit union a viable option for their needs, WHY NOT? Give the survey respondents the opportunity to give freeform answers. From those responses, you will form a more accurate narrative about why your members would or would not send more business to your credit union.

Now it’s time to venture into the unknown: non-members.

It can be intimidating to ask the general public what they think of your credit union. And worst, it’s scary to think they won’t mention you at all. But that’s OK! The first time you reach out to the market, you’re simply setting a benchmark for where you are today. That number will change over time. In most situations where a credit union has never made a concerted effort to advertise in mass media or plant a branch on every street corner, it’s unlikely the market awareness will be above single digits. 

Worst case scenario, if 0% of non-members know anything about your credit union, you can fix that. It doesn’t take much to move the number up fast and you’ll look like a rock star. Furthermore, if only a small percentage of your market knows you, then it’s a great argument for increasing your advertising spend. If you want to grow, you have to invest in that goal. 

There are only a few ways to see significant growth:

  • Merge with another credit union (or buy a community bank)
  • Buy the market with crazy high (and hot) deposit rates
  • Mass marketing

All of these strategies take a financial commitment. Mergers are tough. Hot money will leave you. The right marketing has the highest potential to attract members with the propensity to use you as their PFI.

In summary, market awareness relates to the business your credit union can acquire from current members, as well as the potential the credit union has within your broader field of membership. It takes both sides of the coin for long-term success.

Read Part IV

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