Fusion – Case Study
Successful amalgamations are rare. But when a team fully owns their moment to re-create themselves — to uniquely meet the needs of members, staff and communities — you get a successful amalgamation, and a brand that wins hearts and awards.
On April 1, 2018, Catalyst and Vanguard Credit Unions officially amalgamated and work began to bring these two organizations, and the people who work in them, into one.
Fusion is the phenomenon of two or more things coming together to form something new, which is exactly what was happening with Catalyst and Vanguard.
The staff of Fusion were able to redefine their work life and culture across all of their branches.
Each organization was strong and performing well in its own right; the amalgamation was an opportunity to create more for members, employees and communities, conceived and executed by a forward-thinking and strategic Board of Directors.
- Brand affinity for the two legacy credit unions was high. While members recognized that one name was required, they were unsure about the value of investing in rebranding.
- Though each legacy credit union was similar in size, they were not necessarily like-minded. Staff from both credit unions would have to compromise.
- Brand decisions were measured against one question: How does Fusion authentically reflect what is important and meaningful to our members?
- Establish a brand that reflects who Fusion authentically is; hardworking, purposeful, encouraging and trustworthy.
- Set a tone of voice and develop language that has Fusion’s members, staff and communities feeling welcome and respected.
- Involve stakeholders in the branding process as much as possible. Include member and employee feedback while building the brand.
- Ensure that all management and staff are aligned under one clear and united direction that they could see themselves in.
- Incorporate the logo, colour palette, photography, videography style and tone of voice together so they properly represent who Fusion is and what they stand for.
- Create a tagline that is consistent with Fusion’s values and keeps a strong connection with the brand.
Challenges and Insights:
The credit unions each had their own brand, but had no predefined brand with the amalgamation, so there was a lot of room for creativity.
As part of the new brand definition, Fusion wanted to focus on financial literacy and wealth management. It was important to continually work towards expanding programs to support their members and communities through financial programs.
It was essential to both credit unions that the new brand still feel familiar to their loyal members. Their members had to remain the centre focus at all times.
Meeting with employees from both legacy credit unions allowed us to pull key brand messages and eventually combine them into one. The brand had to reflect who Fusion authentically was.
It became clear that the new website would play a key role in the success of the new brand. The online content needed to be designed with members in mind. It needed to highlight benefits over features and offer quick access to the most requested information: rates, branches and promotions.
The timing was crucial. In May, 2018 our team went to work investigating and researching the two legacy credit unions. In July, the name vote was undertaken and brand work began. Website planning and development took place on a parallel path. The brand was finalized in October and material development got underway. In mid-December, the brand and website were launched.
With no brand to speak of, the first step was gathering information and insights from key stakeholder groups, staff and members through interviews and surveys. This information was used to help determine the right character, tone and purpose for Fusion Credit Union.
The major challenge was the complexity of balancing the familiar with the new. It was important for Fusion to build credibility in the process, while simultaneously owning its original roots and keeping loyal customers from each existing credit union.
The logo was designed to represent the desire to make each other better, happier and more prosperous. The circular motion of the dots displayed the positive energy and revolutionary thinking.
The colour palette honours Fusion’s roots, with representation from each legacy credit unions. The colours are exciting and display visual energy, and the palette overall reflects Fusion’s trustworthy and well-considered nature.
The tagline ‘Here for Good’ reflects Fusion’s character:
- We are committed to our communities today and for the long term.
- We are here for the good people we serve and those we work with.
- We are here to do good, to add good, to represent good, wherever we can.
The Fusion Credit Union brand reveal was held in December 2018. The brand reveal was cause for celebration for each member of Fusion Credit Union.
A brand book was delivered to each branch so staff could fully grasp the creative process and the decisions behind the brand elements.
Working closely with the marketing department, we established standards for brand usage, differentiated the tone of voice for social media (more community focussed) from the blog (more financial guidance).
Particularly while the brand launch was underway, and over time, it was also important to differentiate the brand look and feel from the product and service messaging, related to specific campaigns, like credit cards and mortgages.
The brand rollout continues with the development of items from exterior branch signage to Zamboni wraps. While the brand is becoming more established in the communities, the campaigns are keeping the look and messaging fresh and ever-changing.
Most importantly, through their amalgamation year, Fusion has performed well on their major economic indicators and they have grown their membership by over 4%. Their first campaign, related to deposits, achieved its stretch target; the launch of Fusion Credit Cards has been successful; and the mortgage campaign is just underway.
Fusion won the best overall marketing award for 2018 for their new brand, along with best website, radio and brand development awards from a field of over 130 entries from across Canada. The Best Overall – Achievement in Marketing Excellence (AIME) Award was presented at the National Conference for Canada’s Credit Unions Gala Event at the RBC Convention Centre.
Chief Operations Officer, Fusion Credit Union
Chief Executive Officer, during brand options presentation.