AUSTIN, Texas -United Heritage Credit Union has discovered whata difference a revamped image can make. “It was just time for us toupdate our look and create more consistency from a brandingstandpoint,” said UHCU Director of Marketing Jenny Laudadio. “Wereally wanted to take it back to basics and while there weren'tthat many surprises along the way we quickly realized just how manydifferent areas were affected by the update-we changed everything.”The credit union turned to a local branding agency to help withresearch and refining the brand. Focus groups revealed that creditunion members and bank customers alike still didn't understand thedifference between a credit union and a bank and many didn't evenrecognize a lot of the local credit unions. “It is very much aneducational opportunity and our first battle to overcome,” saidLaudadio. “When our members think of United Heritage we want themto think of an institution where they feel safe and comfortablewhere they find quality service. I know it is said a lot but ourservice really is amazing because we all work together to do what`s best for our members.” To that end, for some eight months thecredit union's rebranding has focused on small changes for a bigimpact such as polishing the logo up with cleaner lines andencircling it as a way to make it more iconic and changing thefont. In addition, with the entire UHCU staff input, the marketingdepartment of three has been busy designing new product andservices brochures revolving around the tagline “Be Smart BankSmart”, creating Spanish language brochures ,new life eventbrochures and doing a complete overhaul of the United Heritage CUWeb site. To maintain brand consistency small changes can also beseen at credit union branches from touches of the logo colorsbehind the teller lines to lifestyle posters and banners in thelobbies. “With this rebranding effort we've developed a new mediaplan and are targeting a younger demographic in the 25-44 agegroup,” said Laudadio. “The new Web site is a really big change forus and is very easy to navigate – information is no more than threeclicks away and our online banking, which is now very accessible isjust one click away.” In addition to radio and newspaper ads, thecredit union plans to get its name out and build brand awarenessthrough community projects. Recently United Heritage CU teamed upwith local Fox 7 station to sponsor the Central Texas LeadershipAwards, which recognizes the achievements of high school seniors.Laudadio says the event is not only very popular with youngerconsumers but also resulted in free television advertising. The newmedia plan includes billboards and developing a direct mailcampaign targeting non-members and those new to the area. Laudadiosays so far the simple changes have led to some big results. Forexample, adding free online billpay services has helped increaseaccounts to over 300 just last month. In addition, some 340 newfree checking accounts with no direct deposit or minimum balancerequirements were also opened in a month's time. “We're proud ofour military roots but we also want to add a younger element to ourlook to hit a new market and build recognition,” said Laudadio. “Sofar the member reaction has been wonderful. They are respondingvery well to the new lifestyle oriented approach and the feedbackon our brochures has been that the information is so concise andcomprehensive that members say their time is more efficiently spentdiscussing solutions with our financial service representatives. Atthe end of the day that is just what we want to hear.”[email protected]

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