During the 2014 Strategic Marketing Conference in Montreal, QC MACU held an Idea Exchange session that allowed the delegates to get together into smaller groups and discuss topics that were important to them.
Catherine Downes and Lianne Darby of BlueShore Financial presented “The Art of the Rebrand” .
They shared the story about how NorthShore credit Union became BlueShore – one of the most innovative and premium boutique financial brands in North America. The following are some notes on that discussion.
This credit union is situated in a highly competitive area so had the challenge of coming up with how to differentiate themselves.
This was a 3 year project with a 2013 launch date. They wanted to create a high touch approach and utilized the financial spa concept.
There were 9 internal marketing department employees that worked with their agency, digital agency, brand strategist, suppliers, videographer etc. to develop the new concept and name and ensure it aligned with the business process.
The name “BlueShore” was kept confidential and an internal program had to be designed so that staff understood why this was being kept a secret.
You will notice that the BlueShoe logo and colours are similar to that of the old brand NorthShore. This was done intentionally as they didn’t want to abandon their historic roots.
BlueShore did make the decision to adopt the word “Financial” and drop “Credit Union” They did this as the felt credit union can be misunderstood, particularly with new immigrants. The decision was made, not to abandon cooperative roots, but more to not alienate new groups of members. “Financial” worked better in focus groups, both for banking and wealth.
Not all members are fully invested in their financial institution so BlueShore found the rebrand as a way to re-introduce themselves. A personalized letter was mailed to each member, two weeks prior to the public launch. This included a brand booklet and details on the launch. This provided staff the opportunity to deal with any issues in advance.
Launching a new credit union gave them the opportunity to do a big reveal. The majority of the staff did not know what the new name was or anything about the new branding. Employees were taking “off-shore” to a convention centre and provided with dinner, entertainment and given a preview of what was to come. All but, 30 of the 325 staff attended the event.
The first day as the new entity, each employee received a package with updated supplies (business cards, name tags, supplies etc). Everything they required to work as a BlueShore employee was included.
Every staff member must go through a ½ day brand education session. This will ensure they have the confidence needed to have dialogue about the changes.
The entire rebranding process took close to 10 years and involved many moving parts. For more details please visit the presentations section in the members only portion of the website.