Members Get A Name To 'Think' About

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IBM CU employees don't have to think about it anymore.

After two years of research and testing by staff and an outside branding firm, they have agreed on a new name that not only reflects its growing field of membership, but also keeps the flavor of its original sponsor.

Think. No, not you.

Think is the new name of the $1.1-billion CU that serves a little more than 86,000 members in nine states.

"The thinking behind it is that we wanted to pay homage to the CU's history and still provide a positive name that would make us stand out in the marketplace," said TCU's senior VP of marketing, Tom Floyd.

With more than 300 companies besides IBM in its FOM, Floyd said, the name had to have wide appeal. "A lot of people who could qualify to join didn't know it,'' he said.

With the help of Name Tag International, dozens of names were suggested, considered and weeded out until only a few stood out. After one of three got a poor response, the final three- Think, Signature and a third that Floyd only hinted that it was a "coined name taken out of the middle of America'' were presented to blind focus groups.

The questions asked, Floyd said: "Do you view the word as a positive or negative?'' and "How would you feel if the name were attached to a financial services company?''

The third was quickly booted and replaced with a "fake" name. Not surprising, he said, voters said it was weak. And, while they liked Signature, chosen because it denotes premium or signature line, Think was the top choice.

With the launch expected this week, Floyd said, the fit couldn't be more perfect. Not only does it feel good rolling off the tongue, it has a strong connection to IBM's history. In the 1960s and 1970s, the phrase was used internally as a motivational slogan. There were Think note pads, Think desk pads, Think paperweights and an in-house publication called, you guessed it, Think.

Balloons and treats will be available at all of its nine branch offices to draw attention to the name change.

Floyd attributed carefully timed planning- "We finalized the name in December,'' he said-inventory with the old name will be pretty much wiped out by the time the new logo is launched.

"We do a lot of special events that include giveaways,'' he said. "With a six-month window, we were able to manage our inventory. Literally, there will be very, very few giveaways (pens and other token gifts bearing the old logo) left in our store room.''

He said staff was also able to estimate and produce only the number of brochures, publications and forms it would need until the launch.

"We also made the decision not to reissue all of our plastics and our checks at once,'' he said. "That alone saved a half million dollars.''

Floyd said he expects the new name to appear on the company's Intranet, Internet, publications and signage by the middle of July.

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