Cinfed Federal Credit Union

Cincinnati, Ohio

Cinfed is a $300 million dollar institution located in Southwest Ohio and an established local credit union in a heavily banked, mostly urban, community. It serves 29,000 members and provides a history of solid service and reasonably priced loan and deposit products. Cinfed has been serving predominantly federal government employees since 1975 in greater Cincinnati and has a regional reach to these employees.

The credit union takes pride in offering comprehensive, flexible, and affordable services to meet all banking needs for those it can service. In recent years the credit union has added select employee groups that are eligible for membership and has enjoyed steady growth in members served and assets.

The Challenge:

Cinfed was facing intense competition from community chartered credit unions, large regional banks, and a large contingent of community banks. Their image was poorly communicated and they were perceived as very “old fashioned and behind the times”. The credit union leadership knew that their continued growth was being hampered by their limiting image, poor positioning, and internal obstacles from the varied use of many logos and a weak self-image of staff.

The Solution:

In the largely urban community of Cincinnati and the surrounding suburban areas, understanding the community and being in touch with the community “pulse” is paramount to success. Heavy spending by competition makes branding critical. As an initial step, MarketMatch conducted a series of focus groups with the key stakeholders (staff, members, potential members) to identify areas of perception, product need, and product usage trends and build a profile of Cinfed’s position and brand image. The branding process would segment the information results into strategic and tactical plans to create a brand promise, brand position, and eventually a refined brand image to leverage the Cinfed history, reposition the name, and reinforce the reputation while maximizing its marketing investment through targeting the marketing message.

The Cinfed name and reputation, although misdirected, is moderately known and the brand has low to moderate awareness, recall and a generally positive connotation. However, the product offerings, in detail, and true brand awareness were largely unknown. Members and potential members have a limited view of the capabilities of Cinfed well below their actual levels. Older members were loyal and were long-term users of Cinfed with high satisfaction. Newer members were not as satisfied and were lower level users of Cinfed services. The market was open for a “molding” of the perceptions, based upon relevance and believability. Appropriate member and potential member segments became clear and different segment needs were identified. Referrals from family, friends, and co-workers influenced financial decisions.

Measurable Results:

We repositioned the Cinfed brand promise, internally and externally, refined the brand positioning, re-focused the marketing message of the brand, and retooled the visual brand mark. Staff morale is at an all-time high, everyone knows their role and pivotal role in the success of the credit union. The vision is clear and everyone has begun to operate from the members’ perspective to live up to the brand promise.

The brand mark stands as a litmus test of the changes and made a quick impression that “something was new and different at the credit union.” For Cinfed, this was an important step toward recognizing the internal change necessary for the external brand to become believable and memorable.

Pre-Brand Engagement:

  • 0.52% asset growth
  • 0.86% loan decline
  • 1.71% share growth

Post-Brand Engagement:

  • 5.47% asset growth
  • 1.01% loan growth
  • 5.68% share growth