Strategy Behind New Name? Value Keeps Returning

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LONDON, Ontario-A credit union here has opted for a unique new name it hopes will deliver dividends back to it again and again.

London Civic Employees CU is changing its name to Boomerang Credit Union to help consumers understand that the money they put into the CU returns to them.

"The credit union takes in deposits, lends them back out to members, makes the interest, and then pays back the members. So you put in your money and it comes back to you," explained CEO Lew Figol about the choice of the new name.

Indeed, the theme is apparent in its new tagline, "Where your money comes back to you" and will be at the heart of an edgy new image campaign that LCECU will unveil later this year. Figol shared the goal is to also get the credit union noticed by more consumers. "Moreover, it will get conversations started and people asking, 'What is Boomerang Credit Union?' and open the door for us to talk about what credit unions, and our credit union, offer."

The CU's new tagline stresses the "core value" of a credit union and naturally leads to discussions about how money comes out of bank customers' pockets ends up in the wallets of shareholders, said Figol.

While part of the thinking behind the new image is to appeal to younger consumers, Figol said the name has been tested against all age demographics and has performed well. "Even our older members like it," he said.

In preparation for a name change, more than a year ago London Civic Employees began appealing to the youth market, including starting a scholarship program in partnership with a local university. It also plans to introduce new products with the name change, including a free checking account Figol said will be top of the local market for no-fee services, and a loan recapture program.

One of the primary reasons for the name change, according to Figol, is the credit union's growth was not meeting expectations, even though its service was consistently rated highly by members and the cooperative had steadily expanded its field of membership, going to a community charter last year. That led Figol and the board to question why the credit union was not growing faster. "We determined that the local market did not relate to our name very well. It was the common credit union problem; not everyone realized they could be a member."

To get people to pay attention to the new name, LCECU will drop 50,000 to 60,000 brochures and postcards in the credit union's main markets. Billboards, radio, and community involvement programs will also be used.

National branding and marketing consultant Paul Lucas, based in Fairfax, Va., has led the development and execution of LCECU's new brand campaign. "Credit unions need to ask themselves, 'Is our brand moving us to distinction or extinction?' The brand needs to speak to a consumer individually, and start a conversation. Boomerang, and the tagline that goes with it, do that."

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