Brand Strategy

Your brand is more than your logo, name and slogan—it’s the entire experience that your audience has with your organization, product, or service. And it’s got a lot of moving parts. To keep all the elements of your brand working in tandem toward your institution’s goals, you need a long-term brand strategy to inform every decision along the way. It defines what you stand for, what promises you make, and what personality you convey. In practice, it forms a handy-dandy roadmap to keep your brand on track.



Member One Federal Credit Union came to us with a big problem: it had become the brand equivalent of a Michelin 3-star restaurant with a name no one could remember. Despite being the biggest and oldest CU in the region and serving thousands of loyal, satisfied members, few people were conscious of the extent of Member One’s range of services or could tell you what made them special. Their marketing efforts had become outdated, stale and murky. With the new VP of marketing on board, Ethic worked to redefine Member One’s goals, messaging, and attitude, with a fresh brand makeover to tie it all together.

  • TV
  • Competitive Analysis
  • Brand Messaging
  • Mood Boards
  • Billboard
  • Branding

Trimming Down the Menu

Before we met, Member One had too many cooks in the kitchen; never evaluating or editing their marketing menu, only adding more and more dishes over time. When we came on board, they presented a smorgasbord of styles, messages, and tone, with no clear point of view. Our first job was redefining who they are and what they serve to their large audience of financial foodies.

Member One style

Competitive Analysis

Member One competitive analysis

The foundation of any high-quality brand strategy is research. By analyzing the messaging and visual cues that are present throughout your competitive marketplace today, as well as studying your brand’s own history, we are able to glean context, envision direction, and view the whole world of your brand through an informed lens. This is how we define where you stand and where you fit, which is the first step to honing in on the most effective course of action to determine where you’re going and how to get you there—without guesswork.

Color Research

M1 Prior Brand Colors

M1 Prior Brand Colors

Competitive Market Colors

Competitive Market Colors

Website Analysis

Competition Website #1
Competition Website #2
Competition Website #3
Competition Website #4

In Member One’s case, it was clear that their competition was overrun with a lot of the same colors and styles, and for whatever reason, five-pointed stars. For the most part, the branding, messaging and voice throughout the marketplace were monotonous. We began to see that we could give Member One’s audience something they were sorely missing by decisively humanizing the brand.

Past Marketing Assessment

Member One old design #1 Member One old design #2
Member One old design #3
Member One old design #4
Member One old design #5 Member One old design #6

The idea of keeping the brand approachable was perfectly in line with the direction that Member One had been most successful with in the past—well, one of the directions. While none of Member One’s marketing efforts had been terrible, brand consistency had been an afterthought; colors, type treatments, and branding styles were all drastically different from year to year.

Brand Messaging Playbook

Even with a clear, refined direction of who your brand is and where it's going, you still need to be able to communicate your vision to the world with clarity, which requires first communicating it within your team. Your brand messaging playbook is like a pocket guide to your brand, easily referenced when making branding decisions large or small, and helping answer the question, “Does this fit?”

To create your playbook, we will help you to find a consensus within your organization about how your brand will present itself. We will then develop and define your verbal brand strategy through positioning and messaging that ensures your ability to present your audience with a clear, consistent, and compelling voice—every time.

Tagline Research
Positioning Statement
Mission Statement
Vision Statement
Brand Pillars
Strategic Priorities
Marketing Sample Messaging
Audience-directed Messaging

We can’t share Member One’s finished playbook, but take our word for it: it’s spectacular.

Member One Brand Playbook

Brand Exploration Mood Boards

Mood Board #1
Mood Board #2
Mood Board #3
Mood Board #4
Mood Board #5
Mood Board #6
Mood Board #7
Mood Board #8

A New Image Comes To Life

M1 New Brand Styles
M1 New Brand Styles
M1 New Brand Styles
M1 New Brand Styles
M1 New Brand Styles
M1 New Brand Styles
M1 New Brand Styles
M1 New Brand Styles
M1 New Brand Styles