Pumped up kicks.

October 24, 2011

Sometime last week you may have noticed that Vancity is sporting some fancy new kicks. Well, word on the street is that the new look is the result of their recent efforts to refocus their brand. The result? Make Good Money™.

The largest credit union in Canada has more than 415,000 members and has gained recognition for its corporate social responsibility and community involvement. Through their last rebrand emerged the common theme of intersections.

“This is a visual reminder that Vancity journeys down the whole road of life with members and staff. Intersections represent the emotional and financial turning points in our members’ lives, where Vancity applies its key skills and services”.

The result was a rotation of the V in the wordmark and crossing them to create an intersection, and the accompanying gradients of colour were intended to represent the spectrum of services available.

The shiny new brand direction is meant to increase awareness of their commitment to member wealth through competitive products and services, as well as financial literacy education.

“The twist is how they make member money work; Vancity makes smart investments in their communities – loans to local businesses, support to community projects – with a focus on affordable housing, local, natural and organic food, and the environment and energy efficiency. The result: members meet their financial goals; their communities thrive; which means each member is even better off. In short, Vancity’s approach is game-changing”.

The result is a look that features imagery of members engaging in every day activities across the lower mainland and Vancouver island. The use of popular local landmarks like the Grouse Mountain Skyride and Skytrain contribute to givwe it all the feeling of a scrapbook that tells the Vancity story, complete with paper cut-out journaling. The result is less polished, and less bright, but very relatable. Watch the new commercial.

Then tell us if you prefer the oldie-but-goodie standbys, or the new pumped up kicks Vancity is sporting.

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Why bother blogging?

December 5, 2010

Some people have differing opinions on the advantages to a brand of blogging. For the time that is invested in setting up the blog, defining policies and objectives, posting regular content, and administering to monitoring comments, some find it hard to see a direct benefit. But here are a few recommendations to help you leverage the power of blogging for your brand. Do this and then they know where to go for tips and advice.

1. Be relevant. No one is going to read a blog from a financial institution in hopes of coming across a great recipe, so be sure that your content is relevant both to what your field of expertise is, and to your readers. Regularly post useful insight into the industry, and be sure that you’re not just spouting off market numbers and interest rates, but break down that information and demonstrate how it will actually help the reader make a smart financial decision. Doing this will help build confidence in your members that you are a reliable brand that is capapble on delivering.

2. Change it up a little. You may think this is a contradiction to the above, but you can change-up your content and still be relevant. The industry is financial services, but members also appreciate a credit unions involvement in the community and commitment to developing youth. In between offering that expert financial insight, be sure to change it up a little and include information on community partnerships, sponsorships and events. You want your membership to feel proud of the credit union (that is, your brand) they belong to.

3. Be present. At all times. It is very important to ensure that resources are allocated such that the blog is monitored  regularly and responses to comments and questions can be posted in a short turnaround time. If you want your members to come to rely on your blog for timely financial insight, and to be kept up to speed on what’s going on in the community, you need to demonstrate to them that the blog is a priority for you. If it’s taking days for you to respond to people they are going to stop talking to you, and they aren’t going to trust you to provide timely information either. Better to prove to them that your brand is one worth being invested in, with both their time and their money.  

There you have it. Three recommendations to ensure that you are maximizing the returns on your blog. Do you have any additional tried, tested, and true recommendations?

Facebook Fan?

November 25, 2010

Seems like everyone is on Facebook these days, and many companies have started up their own Facebook Fan pages in an attempt to get in the game. Looking at some of these is a good place to start when assessing what does and doesn’t work if you’re considering starting a Fan page of your own.

Looking at the Facebook fan pages for credit unions, Commonwealth Credit Union has one of the most popular ones with 3,176 people who have liked the page. They are very diligent with their updating, posting status updates daily. They utilize variety to keep their members engaged, including posting photos and video, providing information on their community involvement, and initiating a couple of discussion forums. To encourage their followers to check in often, they run a number of contests encouraging members to “like” the page, write on the wall, or suggest a friend “like” them. These efforts have resulted in a large base of followers, as well as active member participation on the page.

There are few steps Commonwealth could take to improve the page to ensure ongoing success. First, they should change the logo that is used when posting to a reversed logo so that it displays more prominently on the page. In addition, they should consider adding a customized landing page, similar to what Coast Capital Savings has done. This would add another interesting dimension to the page and allow them to tell a visitor something about their brand on a first encounter, rather than a visitor’s first impression being whatever is up on their wall that day. Finally, there was an instance where negative feedback was left on the wall and it went unaddressed. This was a missed opportunity to possibly prevent a lost member, and it makes it look like they are ignoring the feedback because they did not acknowledge it.

What Facebook Fan pages do you belong to? Who, in your opinion, does the best job on their Facebook page, and why?