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Charismatic Branding a Birth Right of CUs, Leadership Conference Speaker Says
Thursday, September 11, 2014 7:00 AM

Matt Purvis

Charismatic branding is the birth right of credit unions, according to Matt Purvis of Purvis Management. Purvis addressed the issue at the Cornerstone Credit Union League’s Leadership Conference & Expo last week in San Antonio, Texas. He encouraged the credit union audience to embrace their brand.

“Differentiation is the key,” he said. “You have to bring your brand to life.”

During his presentation, Purvis highlighted effective animating principles, which include:

  • Simple – as few words as possible
  • Inspirational – help me do more and work better
  • Aspirational – stake the high ground and deliver

“A Charismatic brand requires explanatory experiences in order to close the authenticity gap and distinguish your credit union from the competition,” he told the audience. “Words are not enough.”

Purvis used Southwest Airlines as an example. When it comes to on time arrivals, cancellations, and lost baggage, Southwest Airlines doesn’t have the best record; yet, they continue to lead the pack. Purvis believes it is because they are pros at providing distinctive and memorable experiences for their customers.

Purvis encourages credit unions to leverage their identity. Your mission and brand, he says, should guide the organization. Credit unions should use their brand to dramatize member experience, and staff should be empowered to actively animate the credit union’s brand.

“Develop growth strategies consistent with your brand,” he encouraged. “Less training and more doing.”

Purvis did caution that there are no shortcuts to charismatic branding.

“Off-the rack techniques don’t work,” he stressed. “It has to be unique to you.”

There are many positive effects to charismatic branding, and Purvis highlighted several:

  • Differentiation – distinctive and memorable
  • Alignment – all activities and touch-points will be anchored in your brand
  • Staff will be more engaged, invigorated and focused
  • Dramatic growth

The old school definition of branding is the name, term, design, symbol or any other feature that identifies one seller’s product from another. The forward-thinking definition of a brand is the sum of an individual’s thoughts and feelings about your credit union.

“Your brand hasn’t changed just because you changed your name, tagline or color pallet,” he explained. “You are re-branded when your members say you are.”

Each credit union develops distinctive behaviors that animate your unique brand position. Charismatic brands, he tells the credit union audience, is about:

  • Words and actions
  • Unique behaviors that demonstrate the meaning of the brand
  • Member experiences that amplify the brand
  • Energized, focused staff members
  • All-in organizational culture