SOUTH PASADENA, Calif.- When Postal Employees Credit Union of Los Angeles went looking for a new name, it found one that really delivers- Priority One Credit Union. "Name changes don't have to be cumbersome and full of controversy," said Priority One Marketing Director Maggie Rios. "Planning and involvement of the members and the staff can make this process so much easier. It is a matter of looking for opportunities, not obstacles; using research and planning to achieve your goals; and taking your time to do it right the first time." Since applying for a community charter, the $126 million credit union needed a new name that would not only appeal to new members but also capture and incorporate the identity of its postal roots for existing members. The challenge was faced without branding or name experts being called in. Business Development Representative Hector Correa suggested Priority One CU and from there Rios, strategic partner Neil Goldman of Member Research and Connie Andermahr of the Andermahr & Company Marketing Agency then went to work sending out member surveys and setting up focus groups to test member response. The surveys overwhelmingly supported the need for expansion and a name change to Priority One Credit Union. The four focus groups, two made up of postal employees and long-time members; one of select employee group representatives; and one mixed group found the name played up the popular postal system term "priority" while building on the perception that members would receive better service than before. The new logo, designed by Andermahr to be a combination of balance and modern simplicity, includes a special 75th diamond anniversary attachment that will run with all marketing materials through December of this year. "Because the credit union was changing its name and soliciting new members that were unaware of the credit union, it was very important that they promote their long history," said Andermahr. "We wanted to make sure the word was out that Priority One was reaching a milestone. It gave us the opportunity to communicate to the members that their credit union had much to celebrate and they were going to be a part of that celebration." This year's marketing blitz plays with the number 75, with such promotions as a 75th Anniversary Quiz included in each quarterly newsletter where three members win $75 each for correct answers; $75 phone cards for members who take advantage of three new services; recognition of members celebrating their 75th birthdays; and a black-tie 75th Anniversary Celebration in late September featuring David Chatfield of the California Credit Union League as the key speaker. In addition, birthday cakes will be sent to all branches on October 10-the credit union's actual birthday. When it came to branding the new image and tagline "You are our first priority", again the credit union took a cue from members and held President/CEO William Harris, who coincidentally also turns 75 this year, up as its "icon". Members calling in are welcomed by Harris' voice guaranteeing them "first class quality service" and inviting them to call him personally with any complaints. According to Rios, the name change and campaign have been a huge success with investments and product penetration increasing. In fact a recent auto loan campaign "Jump n Jive" where employees even dressed in `50s attire, resulted in a record breaking $4,793,810 in auto loans. Priority One CU serves over 20,000 members. [email protected]

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