Our Associate Creative Director and I flew out to California this week to discuss branding with a credit union.


Our Associate Creative Director and I flew out to California this week to discuss branding with a credit union.

Keith, our creative wordsmith, grew up near Half Moon Bay – very close to our meeting, so we took the opportunity to cruise his old stomping grounds.

The drive from San Fransisco to Half Moon Bay is incredible.  As you wind through the hills, you can look out on the distant mountains. You soon find yourself engulfed by eucalyptus trees. With the last remains of the day’s sun cutting streams of light through the eucalyptus branches, we rolled down the rental car windows, felt the crisp air bite our faces and inhaled the sweet intoxication of these trees, so foreign to an Ohioan. In the distance, we could hear the highpitched, cry of a red tail hawk.

Right then, magic happened…




I glanced to my right, and our 50 year old poet instantly transformed to a 9 year old boy. As soon as the eucalyptus scent hit his limbic system, it triggered his internal Flux Capacitor and he instantly flew through time to 1964. You could almost hear the Beach Boys singing “I Get Around.” You could see it in his face. I could feel in in his aura. Without warning, as if the dust had been blown off a box of old pictures, childhood memories came flooding back as if it was yesterday.

“My dog and I played on that hill,” he pointed out. “I remember looking down on these greenhouses – I can’t believe they’re still here!” 

We soon hit the coast and the eucalyptus aroma was replaced. We could now taste the salt water in the air … a whole new box was dusted off and opened.

“I used to ride my bike to that store,” my now 9 year old friend recalled. “There’s my old elementary school, when I walked there these roads weren’t paved yet.”

This was true emotion … the type of emotion that the best brands try to evoke.

Take some time today to think about your brand. What is your brand doing to stir your target’s feelings … to jog long-lost happy memories … to make them truly care?

To really own cerebral real estate, you need to affect all of the senses. Have you considered the sounds and scents of your point of sale? Does your ad copy MAKE your audience feel or TELL them how you want them to feel? 

Step away from your promotional offer. Cover-up your logo. Take a few minutes today to think about your brand ONLY in terms of sight, sound, smell, touch and taste. Jot down your list of great ideas you’ll have to better connect with your audience and start evolving your brand to make people FEEL.






We bring these marketing philosophies to credit unions and community banks nationwide, and would love to bring them to your institution too. Contact us to see how.



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