Affinity Credit Union is Saskatchewan’s second largest credit union. The financial services industry is highly competitive, and with banks working to be more like credit unions in terms of being customer focused and credit unions working to be more like banks in terms of products and services, the Affinity brand needed to more effectively differentiate in order to achieve their goal of increasing membership, retention and wallet share.
Affinity’s primary competition is the big banks, whose brand image was struggling with the media’s coverage of banks overselling unnecessary products and services, charging high fees while making record profits and paying high executive salaries. A general population survey pointed out that people were frustrated with banks but felt all financial institutions were similar and there were no other options.
Based entirely on the research, discovery sessions and a review of past efforts, we determined Affinity’s differentiation and the heart of their brand, which led to the development of a brand position that will allow Affinity to clearly point out their value as an alternative to banks and create a connection with those who share their values, in particular the Millennial and Gen Z age groups.
“Unbank Yourself” works perfectly to position and differentiate the Affinity brand. It also works to engage Affinity’s audience and opens the door for them to talk further about their value and sell their products and services.
The newly evolved brand was introduced internally prior to the brand campaign launch. A video was created to allow employees to hear the brand explained from a single source. This video, along with a more detailed explanation, was provided to managers first, to prepare them to speak to the new brand when staff were introduced shortly after. The video is also being used for other purposes, including as an onboarding tool for new employees.
A long-term brand maintenance strategy is currently ongoing at MGM. This strategy addresses ongoing internal engagement, culture, community investment, human resources and marketing/communications.
Approximately two years after the brand relaunch, another general population study was conducted. The research reported improvement in several key areas, including top-of-mind awareness, brand impressions, loyalty and advertising resonance.
While results showed strong ad recall overall, it was slightly higher among younger age groups (18 – 34 years old). This younger audience also made up a large portion of increased positive brand perceptions, which was a major success, as this was a new focus area for Affinity and a difficult audience to win over.
Affinity also succeeded in moving the needle in terms of the 5-Ps (performance, purpose, product, process and people), pushing ahead of their direct competition in several areas and achieving higher ratings than before in nearly all key drivers related to loyalty and recommendations.