Visual storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to share your credit union’s transformation with members and target markets.
We know that creating and delivering a powerful and consistent user experience across all delivery channels is critical for a credit union's success. UX managers and engineers are leading the charge with increasing involvement in all aspects of the business process, technology applications, staffing, training and marketing. As UX budgets increase, so does the pressure to drive performance to new levels in terms of metrics like net promoter score as well as decreased costs and increased ROI.
Developing a new branch prototype and member and staff experience are the most tangible expressions of a credit union’s evolution. Such a project often coincides with new business strategies, brand analysis and significant change. The process of creating a new bold branded experience must integrate all delivery channels, technologies, and human resources to be succesful. But even the most brilliant efforts will remain dim unless the results are sold to the target market.
There are a number of ways to take advantage of all the time, effort and resources you are putting into your new brand. You can hold an open house as a one-time event, which typically draws in a modest number of existing members, contractors and a few local officials. You can conduct staff training to help members of your internal team understand the new brand and how to deliver the elevated experience. Marketing can be conducted online and through the media. But what is the secret sauce that binds all this brand re-energizing together and conveys it in a way that sticks in members’ hearts and minds?
An effective secret sauce is development of branch experience videos. Capital One developed its new neighborhood branch concept a few years ago. Since its inception, the bank has used brand experience videos to make a strong connection between the physical and mental in its brand. The TV ads show the announcer walking through the new branch concept suggesting a new way of doing business. While the branch concept is not unique, the powerful video tells a visual story others are only telling through words.
A single effectively constructed video can be used for many purposes. Videos can be created during the branch design process to ensure experience alignment with new brand characteristics and performance goals. Every design element, traffic pattern, point of engagement, surface material and line of sight can be analyzed and perfected in three dimensions. We find that many people say they understand floor plan drawings or elevations during ideation sessions. The reality is that most people cannot put themselves into a three-dimensional experience or verbally share that experience with team members. A detailed 3D video makes the intended experience real in ways that promote effective appraisal, response and mutual understanding.
Board members also need to understand how the new concept will support their goals and the measurable result for all the spent resources. A video model can help bridge the gap between abstract concepts and the finished physical experience so there no surprises when the branch opens.
The most important element in delivering a powerful brand experience is, of course, people. Training must go way beyond a new logo, tagline and attractive interior design. Staff must be excited and highly motivated by where the credit union is headed and the positive impact a new branch or redesign will have on them and their members. The brand video can be a marketing tool that viscerally connects to the heart and minds of your staff.
Merchandising and messaging hierarchies and strategies need to be developed and integrated as early as possible in the design process. This helps ensure your team understands the most important points to communicate, lighting, electrical and structural needs, traffic patterns, associated and adjacent technologies, and how people will move through the space and engage. Brand video production will serve as validation for the integration of messaging and design elements.
Branch experience video design and cost can vary. For example, if you are developing a video to help guide the interior design and architectural process, you can likely use your architects’ firm or one of their consultants for production, as the video’s use will be limited. But if you plan to take full advantage of video, you need to engage a marketing firm, so you can ultimately use it to promote your new brand experience to your target markets. This powerful storytelling marketing tool typically propagates across all digital avenues–you’ll want it to be as professional and immersive as possible.
Over the years, I have worked with a wide variety of credit unions across North America in development of branch prototypes and brand experience models. Many of these CUs have created videos to help staff, members and target markets embrace their new brand concept. One of the best examples was developed by $17.9 billion Vancity Credit Union.
Vancity CU is a large credit union in Vancouver, British Columbia. Weber Marketing and EHS Design developed the branch concept, and the CU’s marketing firm created the video. The new branch concept is expressed by the first two market applications in the video, shows how Vancity CU connects to each community and helps members “Make Good Money.”
Creating a new brand experience is an exciting process that can be transformational to your organization. Make the most of this opportunity by telling your story in powerful ways. Brand experience videos are one of the best ways cultivate and materialize positive change.
Paul Seibert, CMC, is an independent facilities and real estate consultant under Paul Seibert Consulting, Seattle.