TAMPA, Fla. --MacDill Federal Credit Union has recently planted the seed for its new brand identity and it is growing on members and employees alike.
Effective Sept. 4, the $1.9 billion credit union will be known as Grow Financial Federal Credit Union.
"I've been here 17 years and one thing I continually heard from people although we have well over 1,100 companies in our field of membership is 'Oh I didn't know I could join. I thought you had to be in the military to become a member'," said Grow Financial President/CEO Robert Fisher. "So despite all our efforts to build awareness our name was building a barrier to growth and growth has to happen for any credit union to survive so if we want to grow we have to take down as many barriers as possible and the name is just one of them."
Fisher says that today the military makes up less than 15% of the membership so the time was right to refresh the credit union's image.
So far the reaction has been positive and out of some 180,000 members Fisher has personally received three complaints and two days after members received notice of the name change the call center fielded about 100 calls, which decreased as the days passed.
"I can take my flap jacket off now," joked Fisher. "Seriously though, no one likes change but once I talked to those members about how spreading our costs over a much larger base of members will allow us to greatly improve on our mission of providing lower loan rates, higher deposit rates, new and improved technology, and a multitude of other free/lower-cost products and services they understood."
With an identity that embodies the idea of "Grow through Life" and follows through with the credit union's promise of providing "More in Return," the brand reflects a fresh approach of providing financial services customized to lifestyle changes. The new logo, featuring a leaf-stem growing from a lower-case letter g, and new corporate colors of green and gray, represent the goals of personal and financial growth the credit union strives to achieve in the lives of its members.
"It's funny but we never looked at our old name and logo as a branding opportunity," said Fisher. "At first to be honest I wasn't sure about the name but I think that was my conservative nature. Recognizing that this is an opportunity for our name to stand for something other than just member affiliation and set us apart from other financial institutions. I'd like our name to be synonymous with being a community partner, so when anyone sees that little g and leaf they automatically think of our credit union."
The credit union tapped St. Louis, Missouri-based design/build firm NewGround's brand consultancy partner, Adrenaline, Inc., of Atlanta to spearhead the reinvention effort. The creative team developed the new name, logo and colors, and all print marketing materials to support the member communication campaign, which revolves around members' life stages.
Plans are also underway to revamp the Web site making it easier for members to navigate by offering the option for members to customize the site to suit their needs.
A teaser campaign has been launched to begin introducing the new brand identity, and over the Labor Day holiday weekend, all 18 MacDill FCU branches will be converted to the new look in time for the formal launch.
"This whole two year branding process has been very interesting and we're excited about making the most of this opportunity," said Fisher. "It really is in our court now."