LARGO, Fla. – It has been 18 years in the making but finally there is a new name in store for Pinellas County Teachers Credit Union and it is Achieva CU. “People didn’t know they could join us because `Teachers’ was part of our name,” said Achieva CU President Wendell Brooks. “We’ve taken this step to better reflect the true nature of our credit union-we serve teachers and a whole lot more.” Achieva CU Vice President of Marketing Sally Rodgers adds that given more bank mergers and new financial institutions moving into the area, the time was right for the $463 million credit union to have a new face. Wanting an objective perspective, the credit union turned to Seattle-based branding specialists Weber Marketing Group and James Clark Designs for guidance during the name change process. Ironically Achieva was in the neutral stack of second-look names to be reviewed. “It was quite a learning experience,” said Rodgers. “We evolved by the end of the process and we wondered how Achieva was even on the neutral list-we loved it and never looked back.” Playing on the word achieve and achievement, Rodgers says the name has different meanings for people in education while still generating positive feelings for non-teachers. “It spoke well to our educational roots, resonated with teachers and we discovered that lots of people really like the name,” said Rodgers. Shifting from the traditional red and green apple logo, vibrant red, blue and yellow in abstract shapes are used to further reinforce the credit union’s image of energy, growth and forward motion. “Our tagline `Simplify life. Achieve more’ has helped us differentiate ourselves from the competition as far as brand positioning,” said Rodgers. “A big bank may have lots more resources that we can’t compete with but through this process we found that what we bring to the table for our members that they can’t get anywhere else is service. I know everyone claims service but our members trust us to be honest with that we can help them achieve more personally and in their finances.” Rodgers says simplification is the mantra for 2005 goals from processes and procedures to streamlining product offerings. In keeping with that theme, marketing materials feature active lifestyle images and are designed to appeal to young families. To keep staffers involved in the process and excited about the change that was at the time a few months away, Rodgers and the marketing team developed a Clue game on the credit union’s intranet. Revolving around the question “Who stole the new name?” Clues were sent via e-mail, voicemail and interoffice mail. By the time the new name was ready to be rolled out the culprit turned out to be Admiral Administration who hid it in the dumbwaiter in the administrative office. “It is so important to have everyone on board because we can make all the promises we want, but if the staff doesn’t really believe in it or embrace it then we can’t keep those promises,” said Rodgers. “Employees had so much fun with the game and now we’re in the middle of another game where everyone has a treasure chest no bigger than an Altoids box filled with 10 plastic coins. Staffers who catch someone using the old name by mistake or if there is a pen or form on their desk with the old name then they get one coin from the offender and the coins add up to gift certificates.” For the public, the CU is using outdoor teaser campaigns featuring a butterfly with a tagline “the transformation begins”. These ads ran four weeks prior to the roll-out date of the new name. The same butterfly appears in the campaign that reveals the new name along with television commercials and radio spots featuring a new jingle, which will run through the end of November. -mdigiovanni@cutimes.com