With more than $500 million in assets, Missoula Federal Credit Union was already one of the largest credit unions in Montana. In 2018, leaders of the financial institution were looking to expand its reach and extend its values-based approach by serving residents in adjacent counties. But the opportunity to grow presented the institution’s leadership with plenty of difficult questions.
One of those questions was: It time for a name change? Over two years, our team worked with staff, members, and community stakeholders to determine the answer. (Spoiler alert: Yes). With reams of data and survey responses in hand, we generated and vetted dozens of viable names, then launched a brand that captured the essence of the people, the place, and the values in one word: Clearwater. That new name speaks to the organization’s values, honors its roots in Missoula, celebrates the local Clearwater River, and welcomes members beyond a handful of ZIP codes.
Rather than viewing the name-change as a hurdle to overcome, Friday encouraged Clearwater to embrace it as an opportunity to engage the community with a comprehensive campaign that included launch-week activities, updated signage and collateral, and assets including billboards, TV and radio spots, and digital ads. And it worked: The campaign generated 3.5 million impressions, doubled the click-through rate of previous digital campaigns, and raised thousands of dollars for local charities through the public-outreach events; meanwhile, less than 1% of their members expressed concerns over the new name. The credit union now serves more than 50,000 members, and the successful re-brand is fueling efforts to expand into new markets with more than 40,000 potential members.
“When we decided that our beloved 63-year-old credit union needed a name change, we knew it would be a high risk, emotionally charged project. Friday helped us to develop an incredibly thoughtful, inclusive, and creative process that engaged our 160 co-workers and 51,000 members–and we arrived at a new name, mark, and brand that are far better than we ever expected. What could have been a frustrating and divisive project ended up bringing us closer together, motivating co-workers, and strengthening our position in the market.” – Jack Lawson | President & CEO, Clearwater Credit Union