Blue Federal Credit Union
According to one author, “A beginning is a very delicate time.” That thought was in our minds as we partnered with Warren Federal Credit Union and Community Financial Credit Union to reinvent and reimagine their organizations as they merged and founded Blue Federal Credit Union. Joining together, these two credit unions formed an organization that spanned from Colorado to Wyoming, and in the process grew their branches, resources, reach, and employee teams. Not only did we need to launch a brand composed of two separate and unique credit unions, but we were challenged to create a brand from the ground up.
Warehouse Twenty One had established a strong relationship with Warren, but we were keenly aware of the importance of creating a strong bond with the stakeholders at Community Financial, and doing so during a process with an accelerated schedule. The project would require us to create a name for the new credit union and establish and define branding guidelines that the new credit union’s internal marketing team could use moving forward. We were also tasked with creating comprehensive and extensive internal communication materials for employees as well as member-facing content. We would need to garner buy-in from members and promote the brand simultaneously, as well as inform members of what to expect from their daily interactions with their credit unions – from high-level brand messaging to step-by-step instructions regarding online banking usage. We knew that across all these deliverables, we had only one chance to make a first impression with current and future members of Blue.
Discovery and Strategy
First things first. Who are we?
We launched into a comprehensive and fast-paced discovery stage to create a new name for the credit union; one that respected the history, character, and passions of the individual credit unions while capturing the character of who they would be as a single, merged organization.
It was key to deliver a sophisticated, yet relatable name (and brand) that embodied their core identity, their appreciation for their communities, and their unwavering frontier spirit.
We also began the process of defining not only who we would be communicating with, but how best to reach audiences that included current members of each credit union, employees dedicated to their individual organization, future members, and the public at large; a key audience in a very competitive Front Range financial landscape.
As we were pitching our preferred names to our collaborators at Warren and Community Financial, we were also designing the blueprints for this extensive communications plan which would be driven by Warehouse Twenty One, but whose success would also rest on the shoulders of the credit unions’ talented internal marketing teams. In addition, we were keeping one more plate spinning; the rollout of a vibrant, multi-platform branding campaign across television, radio, print, digital, and social media channels.
Create and Deploy
The name Blue represents the strong foundation these credit unions have in the region, and inspires images of the West’s expansive skies and clear waters. Blue is aspirational and embodies their commitment to limitless opportunities and exceptional value for their members.
Knowing Blue exemplified everything we were seeking in a name, we crafted a modern, forward-looking logo and threw our considerable advertising and marketing muscle behind our communications plan while concurrently firing up the engines on our branding campaign. Our scope was exhaustive as we embarked on a complete and total brand integration process that encompassed business cards, stationery, in-branch signage, and website redesign.
We also burnt the midnight oil to create a brand book for Blue that defined the organization through words and images, providing everyone involved in the launch a clear vision of what the brand is and what we believed it could grow to become. We defined key audience segments, created a brand voice, illustrated a unique brand look, and spoke to the feel and character of the brand in emotional and inspiring ways.
We developed a multistage brand rollout campaign that included press releases, launch videos, and social media posts and continued our member communications push via email, social, direct mail, and in-branch communications. We introduced members to their new credit union and informed them of changes they would see during the merger transition process. We also created some out-of-the box branded swag to allow members to truly interact with and feel ownership of the new brand.
Our full-fledged brand campaign was taking shape at this point as well with scripts and storyboards being created for a television and radio campaign to introduce the new brand to our regional audience.
A beginning is, indeed, a delicate time, and balancing the demands of a complete brand reinvention was a challenge we were excited to accept. Not only did we reaffirm our trusted relationship with Warren, but established a new partnership with the team at Community Financial. Our carefully constructed process guided all of us through some very tricky branding waters and led to a brand that is fresh, bold, and modern, yet retains the core essence of these two outstanding credit unions. We’re excited to see the brand take shape, and passionate about what lies ahead as we imagine what can be accomplished in collaboration with Blue in the future.