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AUSTIN, Texas -United Heritage Credit Union has discovered what a difference a revamped image can make. “It was just time for us to update our look and create more consistency from a branding standpoint,” said UHCU Director of Marketing Jenny Laudadio. “We really wanted to take it back to basics and while there weren’t that many surprises along the way we quickly realized just how many different areas were affected by the update-we changed everything.” The credit union turned to a local branding agency to help with research and refining the brand. Focus groups revealed that credit union members and bank customers alike still didn’t understand the difference between a credit union and a bank and many didn’t even recognize a lot of the local credit unions. “It is very much an educational opportunity and our first battle to overcome,” said Laudadio. “When our members think of United Heritage we want them to think of an institution where they feel safe and comfortable where they find quality service. I know it is said a lot but our service really is amazing because we all work together to do what `s best for our members.” To that end, for some eight months the credit union’s rebranding has focused on small changes for a big impact such as polishing the logo up with cleaner lines and encircling it as a way to make it more iconic and changing the font. In addition, with the entire UHCU staff input, the marketing department of three has been busy designing new product and services brochures revolving around the tagline “Be Smart Bank Smart”, creating Spanish language brochures ,new life event brochures and doing a complete overhaul of the United Heritage CU Web site. To maintain brand consistency small changes can also be seen at credit union branches from touches of the logo colors behind the teller lines to lifestyle posters and banners in the lobbies. “With this rebranding effort we’ve developed a new media plan and are targeting a younger demographic in the 25-44 age group,” said Laudadio. “The new Web site is a really big change for us and is very easy to navigate – information is no more than three clicks away and our online banking, which is now very accessible is just one click away.” In addition to radio and newspaper ads, the credit union plans to get its name out and build brand awareness through community projects. Recently United Heritage CU teamed up with local Fox 7 station to sponsor the Central Texas Leadership Awards, which recognizes the achievements of high school seniors. Laudadio says the event is not only very popular with younger consumers but also resulted in free television advertising. The new media plan includes billboards and developing a direct mail campaign targeting non-members and those new to the area. Laudadio says so far the simple changes have led to some big results. For example, adding free online billpay services has helped increase accounts to over 300 just last month. In addition, some 340 new free checking accounts with no direct deposit or minimum balance requirements were also opened in a month’s time. “We’re proud of our military roots but we also want to add a younger element to our look to hit a new market and build recognition,” said Laudadio. “So far the member reaction has been wonderful. They are responding very well to the new lifestyle oriented approach and the feedback on our brochures has been that the information is so concise and comprehensive that members say their time is more efficiently spent discussing solutions with our financial service representatives. At the end of the day that is just what we want to hear.” [email protected]

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