How can an 80-plus-year-old credit union speak to a new generation of customers and stand out from seemingly limitless financial institutions in a hyper-competitive landscape?

Simple. Embrace the “B” word.

“Bank”... what else would we be referring to?

In an increasingly paperless, brick-and-mortar-less, digitized landscape, credit unions need to own and embrace all corners of common financial vernacular.

Credit unions (CU’s) have existed in the United States since pre-WWI; yet, still are largely misunderstood and ill-defined by average consumers. Credit unions offer many of the same products and services as traditional banks and community banks; however, as member-owned not-for-profits, many CU’s offer more competitive rates and return profits to their members. Despite this, many customers leave credit unions out of their initial consideration set when selecting a financial institution. One of the main reasons consumers do not consider CU’s is that society habituates us to search and seek out “banks”. Moreover, since the majority of CU’s have not embraced (and in some cases avoid entirely) the “B” word, potential members are wholly unaware of the credit union alternative.

In an increasingly paperless, brick-and-mortar-less, digitized landscape - one that is blurring lines of geography, generation, and the very underpinnings of what is needed of a modern financial institution - credit unions need to own and embrace all corners of common financial vernacular, especially when it comes to banking. This is precisely what Nutmeg State Financial Credit Union did in embracing the “B” word and reinventing a CU, that opened it’s doors in 1936, to empower new members in the 21st century.

When Nutmeg approached GO (Unison’s parent agency) to refresh their brand, marketing and tone, the challenge was striking the right balance between speaking to a new generation of customers without turning off current members or deviating from Nutmeg’s core mission.

Lisa Asadourian, Nutmeg’s SVP and Chief Engagement Officer, framed the challenge as being “mindful of our roots, but we also have to step outside the box to attract attention.”

In Nutmeg, GO had joined a partner willing to challenge the formal marketing traditions of the industry and infuse an edgy, quirky, and direct personality into their brand. In GO, Nutmeg partnered with an agency that shared their progressive approach and showcased a proven track record of building, communicating, and growing brands that break the mold in their respective industries.

Recent Work Produced for Nutmeg:

What ensued, was the development of a carefully-crafted brand persona, one that would manifest throughout the entire Nutmeg organization and across marketing channels. The campaign that followed was the epitome of fully embracing the “B” word. “Banking Awesome” became a call to arms against the stale and traditional and served as the rallying cry for the creative and content.

From playful “Banking Thoughts” video shorts, to CEO John Holt’s everyman commercials, no-nonsense billboards, to a full website redesign and development, and everything in between, Banking Awesome reinvigorated Nutmeg’s positioning and streamlined their messaging to speak to younger demos.

Most importantly, it produced results. The marketing strategy has struck a chord with 20 and 30-somethings; Nutmeg's largest growth segment is 23-25-year-olds (far beneath industry norms). Moreover, since it’s inception in 2013, Banking Awesome has generated a growth in assets, accounts, average assets per member, and has reduced Nutmeg’s average incoming member age from 43 to 35 years, (industry average is 48.5), without losing older members).

GO's Recent Work: