I recently came across a document from Canora Credit Union inviting its members to help change the credit union’s name by submitting their suggestions. The document sites the Board of Directors’ interest in re-branding itself as the reason for the name change. In addition, the document also states that “a new name will help the credit union continue to grow and prosper for years to come.”While I would be interested to see what kinds of names the members come up with, this initiative raises quite a few red flags.
Recently, we have seen an increase in financial institutions that are interested in the possibility of a name change. And all too often, we see institutions that have mistakenly simplified the re-branding process to include nothing more than changing their name and/or logo.
There are certainly appropriate times to consider changing the name of a financial institution. We see this most commonly in a few different situations:
- Institutions looking to expand into new markets with a name that is not associated with a specific town, city or geographic location
- Institutions merging together will usually opt to carry one of the institution’s names forward or will make a decision to establish a new name for the recently combined institutions
- Institutions looking to simplify their name and/or adapt to changes in their market as a means to stay relevant
Whatever the case, changing the name of an institution has huge implications across the board. From a branding perspective alone, a name change will impact the visual, verbal and experiential elements of an institution’s brand, and in today’s marketplace, these elements must be carefully managed to create favorable perceptions.An institution looking to change its name should do so at a time when it can also revisit its brand standards to ensure that the two are in-line with one another and that they both support the institution’s overall objectives. In the case of Canora Credit Union, it seems like a misdirected effort in getting member buy-in to a name change. While acceptance of the new name is important, a new name can not simply be selected because it sounds good – as a name can make or break a brand, and the careful management of a brand is often times the difference between success and failure.