UW Credit Union launches new brand identity
Change reflects evolving member needs, expansion into new life-stage offerings.
Two decades is a long time to go between wardrobe changes, but that’s essentially what UW Credit Union did.
On March 5, the more than 85-year-old financial institution launched a refreshed corporate identity and tagline, complete with a new look and direction that performs better across multiple platforms and applications. Prior to that, the last time it had a major rebrand was in 1998, when UWCU shifted from a maple leaf motif to a “circle and square” design.
Brand research determined that evolving the UWCU brand identity was needed. The credit union, which has more than 250,000 members across 26 locations in the Madison, Milwaukee, Stevens Point, Green Bay, Oshkosh, Whitewater, and La Crosse areas, interviewed members, employees, and prospective members, numbering in the hundreds, for input on its image, products, and services.
Members said the organization’s reputation and equity built under its previous identity was a valuable asset, explains Paul J. Kundert, UW Credit Union president and CEO, but a more contemporary image and icon would better reflect and keep pace with where the organization is headed.
“Crisp, strong, and confident,” Kundert says. “Our updated appearance reflects our modern services, technology, and sophistication, while honoring our history and UW roots, which continues to be represented in our values and our name.”
“Our logo presented a lot of challenges with readability in advertising and in digital applications — especially mobile,” says Anne Norman, senior vice president and chief marketing officer. “We heard that our billboards were sometimes mistaken for other brands because of the colors we used. We also received member comments that our logo seemed dated, given how advanced our technology had become.”
The credit union’s website, web branch, and mobile apps have already taken on the new identity. The organization said it will begin issuing newly branded credit/debit cards later this year and update members’ current credit/debit cards when they are about to expire, along with other brand rollout strategies.
“Our new tagline, ‘Here For Every You’ focuses in on a key brand strength,” explains Norman. “We work hand-in-hand to help members meet life goals. We support you, so you’ll be financially empowered to take that next step.”
UWCU’s market research also lead the credit union to develop a number of new products for 2019, some technology-driven with others aimed at younger financial consumers, including millennials and high school students (i.e., first-time users).
Some other key findings from that research:
- Consumers are sick of hidden fees and being nickel and dimed with incidental charges.
- They are immediately turned off when they’re being upsold on other products.
- They hate being hit with overdraft charges.
- These days, many people never want to step foot in a bank because technology makes moving money possible.
- They also resent not receiving competitive rates and/or pricing.
- Millennials feel a major disconnect because they actually prefer in-person assistance from knowledgeable bankers when making their banking decisions.
“We just introduced Zelle, a person-to-person funds transfer platform to give our members another tech-first solution to managing their money,” Norman notes. “We continue to open new branches — Verona this summer and another Fitchburg branch this fall — to meet the demands of our growing membership. And our online banking continues to grow, so when our members come into a branch today it is often for a more complex need. For example, a member might want a holistic review of their credit situation, looking at opportunities to lower interest rates or consolidate payments. It goes well beyond opening a new account, so our branch financial specialists are trained to help members with a wide range of topics that build trusting, long-term relationships.”
Among the other new initiatives UWCU unveiled as part of its rebrand are a paperless checking account, the most simplified checking account the credit union now offers, with no paper checks and no overdrafts; and a checking account just for high schoolers ages 14 to 17, featuring no minimum balance, no monthly fee, no risk of overdraft, and a free debt card.
“No matter what your account balance is, you need to feel like you are in control of the money you have,” notes Norman. “Our brand study revealed this is especially true for younger people just starting out; they reported feeling frustrated and out of control when they were hit with fees.”
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