Name changes aren’t for everyone. In fact, they are rarely for anyone! But, if you find that you fit our Jeff Foxworthy-style criteria (If you’re being punished for someone else’s stupidity … you might need a name change. If you are named after a city with only one stop sign … you might need a name change), keep these rules in mind.
“What’s in a name?
That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”
Sorry, Billy, but you might be waaaayyyyy off, buddy!
Recent client engagements hasth made one thinkith. (As Billy might say)
We are preparing to launch a name change for a credit union in Florida and are currently working on two likely name changes with a community bank in Ohio and a credit union in Michigan.
What’s funny is that we rarely ever recommend that institutions change their names. Why throw away decades of equity? Why risk the perception of being acquired? What about all the old corporate tattoos?!?!
Our field test, that absolutely fit the CU in Florida and seems to likely fit the two current engagements, is tried and true. And if you are considering a name change, you should start here.
ONLY consider a name change if your current name creates:
It’s hard enough to get people to walk into your branch. But, when your growth has outpaced your name, you may want to consider a change.
Years after The Education Credit Union opened to the entire community, they still had trouble acquiring new members. The perception was that you still had to be an educator to join. Without losing touch with the core member-base, we created Athena Credit Union (The Smart Decision). Athena, being the Greek goddess of wisdom and knowledge.
This isn’t to say that you should always change your name if it is tied to a specific group of people. There’s a Farmer’s Bank in just about every city in the country and rarely do I see John Deere (or International Harvester) parking in the lots. Non-farmers seem to inherently know that they can bank there too.
When Hardin Community Federal Credit Union expanded beyond Hardin County, they had a difficult time growing in the new markets. So, Quest FCU was born.
Many banks fall into the same geological name trap. For some, its a hurdle, for others its not an issue.
Loss of Brand Control or Negative Perception
This is particularly important for credit unions, who have a distinguished history of naming themselves after a core SEG relationship.
Delta, State Farm, Michigan State University, Chevron … are these corporations or credit unions? Answer: BOTH!
What if Chevron owned Deepwater Horizon, instead of BP, when it dumped 206 million gallons of crude on baby ducks in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010? What would that have done to Chevron Federal Credit Union’s brand?
Navy, Pentagon and Boeing Credit Unions are doing just fine, but there’s always that little, raspy voice nagging from the depths of your cerebellum … “What if…”
What if… The Village People bring back “In the Navy?” What if people stop trusting the Pentagon … oh wait … forget that one. What if the magic wears off and gravity takes affect on all of the giant hunks of metal that Boeing produces?
You see? The rose may smell as sweet, but name it wrong and no one will smell it to know.
The point is that name changes aren’t for everyone. In fact, they are rarely for anyone! But, if you find that you fit our Jeff Foxworthy-style criteria (If you’re being punished for someone else’s stupidity … you might need a name change. If you are named after a city with only one stop sign … you might need a name change), keep these rules in mind:
- Do not lose touch with your core base
- Do not walk away from your heritage
- Speak to the community
- Be aspirational
- Create something that you can grow into, not out of
OTHER BRANDING STORIES
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