After 70 years, the Groton, Conn.-based credit union has revamped its image to take "relationships beyond banking."
"The time was just right for us to become more visible with a stronger image," said Charter Oak FCU Assistant Vice President of Marketing Laurie Cormier. "What really opened our eyes was when a focus group consisting of 12 potential members revealed that although they heard of Charter Oak, 12 out of 12 were not aware that they could join."
Cormier added that the credit union's previous logo, which had the name in a small font, and inconsistent branch signage prompted the credit union to tap Harland Financial Solutions Consulting and Harland Clarke to help better define and showcase Charter Oak FCU's strengths.
The in-depth research revealed that the credit union needed a contemporary new look that would play up its hometown qualities while providing a more forward looking image.
From eye-catching new signage and billboards featuring Charter Oak's familiar oak tree in a striking orange hue to an updated, state-of-the-art Web site (www.charteroak.org) and catchy radio and cable television commercials, Cormier said residents of Eastern Connecticut will be enticed more than ever to start banking with Charter Oak.
Cormier explained, with visibility a major issue, the asymmetrical orange tree, which is representative of the state, stands out amid the competitions' typical colors of blues and reds.
"We've heard lots of positive feedback so far and the first thing people say is that the orange is unforgettable," said Cormier. "What's interesting is that we recently moved our Norwich branch, which was in a small strip mall, and built a big beautiful one not too far away but in a more central location, and when we unveiled the new signage, all we heard from members is that they were so happy we finally had a branch in Norwich. We always had one there, they just didn't see us. And to me that's the perfect example of why it was time for us to do this."
Developed by the marketing solutions firm of Quinn & Gellar based in New London, Conn., the Charter Oak FCU's new branding and marketing initiatives capitalize on its commitment to integrity, accountability and exceptional member service. The campaign focuses on the relationships beyond banking that the credit union's staffers cultivate with members at every touchpoint. To get members excited and to reintroduce the credit union to potential members, Charter Oak will be offering $150 cash incentives for new direct-deposit accounts and those who visit branches can enter to win their own new look with a spa gift certificate valued at $170.
"We are very excited to be launching this new and exciting marketing campaign. For Charter Oak, these changes are more than just a makeover. This campaign is our opportunity to build awareness in the over 80 towns we serve," said Charter Oak FCU CEO Brian A. Orenstein.
Recognizing that consistency is key, Cormier said the credit union has "deputized" one representative from each branch to be serve as the "brand police" to ensure the culture supports and reinforces the existing brand image.
"It's really an exciting time here and everyone is onboard. We provided our deputies the style guide, and we are going to hold them to it as we make periodic branch visits to make sure we're sticking with and delivering one consistent message," said Cormier.