"We knew we had to change with our market, become more tech-oriented and create a viable fresh, forward-looking format," explained Peter J. Muise, president/CEO, maintaining the rebranding needed pizzazz, the biggest remake in the CU's 70-year history.
In particular, the southeast Massachusetts CU with a Cape Cod presence did not want to "bemoan the past" but rather push forward with a new color-blue-tagline and messaging, said Muise.
The rebranding campaign including newspapers and cable TV ads is marked by the new tagline, "Think First," conveying a message to consumers to be cautious about how they handle personal finances as well as in choosing the Fairhaven CU.
"We want you to Think First before committing your valuable, personal financial resources in any venture, and we will have much to say as our campaign moves forward," declared Muise in a statement to members.
In discussing the rebranding, Muise felt a disconnect had begun between members and the CU, prompting management to work on developing a sharper image in ads and facilities by becoming "sleeker and more appealing to a broader range of customers."
"The old maroon signs and script simply did not seem to reflect how we have grown and prospered in southeastern Massachusetts and on the Cape, and many of our customers have told us that there seemed to be a disconnect between our image and the modern reality of the credit union," said Muise.
In the message, Muise said, "We at First Citizens' enjoy what we do for our community and intend to become an increasingly important part of your daily financial life," adding that "An essential part of what a vibrant financial institution represents is embodied in the many materials that it uses to communicate with its customers."
"We are very aware that looks alone will only get you in the door and that we have to deliver to keep you here," he continued "So, be assured that our new imaging campaign, colors and logo, etc. is not a hollow sales come on."
"We believe that many major financial institutions have taken you for granted, perhaps even taken advantage of you," but First Citizens', with its 47,000 members, has adopted "a frank approach to messaging that many customers have said they find refreshing and honest. We agree, and are institutionalizing this approach to our customers through the new marketing line called Think First."
The new signage and entire branding campaign at the CU's nine offices and online is expected to take about six months, said Muise, who declined to divulge the campaign's cost. But the CU got an early start on the campaign two weeks ago, firing off an estimated 19,600 e-mails to members and potential members alerting them to the name change.
"We wanted to provide our members with something comforting and avoid alarming them before we broke the official announcement in newspaper ads," said Muise.