Consultant Pleads With CUs: ‘Brand, Don’t Merge’
Too many small credit unions “are giving up the fight,” opting instead for a merger when their survival can be protected with attention to real branding, according to a Dallas marketing consultant.
“Just being small and having that ability to really know the needs of your members differentiates you from the big guys,” contends Mark Arnold in a yearend report issued by his firm, On the Mark Strategies.
In the report titled, “2012 Is Perfect Time for Small CUs to Brand,” Arnold, a former senior vice president at Neighborhood CU in Richardson, Texas, argues that “the more unique you are the less competition you’ll have.”
Concentrating on the credit union brand and on “what differentiates you from others” in how you serve your members can be a game changer,” Arnold wrote.
He cited a $40 million British Columbia credit union, Mount Lehman, which has been successful by promoting a “size is relative” tagline.
Rather than seeing their size as a negative, that credit union uses it to advantage with a website that proclaims: “We measure our success in terms of personal relationships, not market share, asset size or annual earnings. Our commitment is to our members, and we believe that it is in your best interest for us to keep things small.”
Arnold said “finding the individual niche” of a small CU is in the final analysis “actually is going to be what saves them.”