Advice On Being Consistent

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Looking to create a more consistent look and feel across all branches as well as other delivery channels, such as the Internet?

The experts say there are a number of different tricks that can be used to do just that.

"No one has infinite dollars to go back and completely redesign every branch, but there are a number of small touches you can use to create a more coherent branch and brand strategy," noted HBE's Paul Barrath. "It can be as simple as the signage you use on the outside, the graphics you use inside, even the script you use throughout. Use small updates to blend them together. Oftentimes, members notices these changes more than we do."

Budgets also mean a credit union can't take on the world all at once-either in terms of building hundreds of branches at once or retrofitting all existing branches.

"Don't panic about it. If you have 20 facilities and all of them need some retrofitting, just start chipping away at it," said KDA's Connie Lyle.

The same goes for the actual retrofitting itself. "Just pick three or four elements that you want to carry through each of the branches," suggested Will Klein, also of KDA. "Don't feel like you have to change the world."

Among the various elements a CU can mix and match in order to maintain a certain amount of consistency while allowing for customizing to a particular community include:

* Color schemes.

* Materials (i.e. brick, siding, marble, wood, glass).

* Shapes (i.e. arches, curved entryways, mansard roof versus a hip roof).

* Technology (the level and type of technology used should reflect how technologically savvy members in a particular community are).

* Ammenities (i.e. Internet cafes, coffee bars, play areas).

And never forget one of the best ways to tie it all together: hiring good people.

"I went to a branch where they no longer have a traditional teller line, so they hired a greeter. While I was there, an older gentleman came in, and he was objecting to the remote teller system. The greeter was showing him how to use the system and explaining why they had it, but it was clear he was having none of it," related Bob Saunders of RWSaunders, LLC. "But the woman they hired was a gem. She met every objection, and for good measure she added, 'And if there's anything else, you just tell me what you need, and I'll take care of it.' They hired someone with people skills. She handled that situation and that member perfectly. What more could the guy complain about when she had offered to take care of anything he could possibly want or need?"

And be careful of following the crowd. "There's so much copycatting today," bemoaned DEI's Cynthia Grow. "Suddenly everyone's using curves and swooshes. Just be sure that as you adopt something, you're doing it because it has meaning, not because you've seen it elsewhere."

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