September 27 2016

Illuminating a Financial Institution’s New Brand Online

Generating a significant amount of buzz among conference attendees on The Financial Brand Forum 2016 floor, Firefly Credit Union’s recent website redesign is a prime example of a new website that successfully promotes a totally reimagined brand. Working with Weber Marketing Group, US Federal Credit Union – one of Minnesota’s largest financial cooperatives since 1925 – rebranded itself to Firefly Credit Union in March 2016, complete with a contemporary, new name, logo, tagline, positioning and style. With more than 70,000 members and $1 billion in assets, the venerable, well-known credit union determined that a rebrand was necessary to reflect the changing needs of its membership base, as well as to coincide with the modernization of its web presence.

Reimagining the brand
Based on in-depth client consultation, extensive market research and over 25 years of financial marketing expertise, Weber collaborated with the credit union to invent an enigmatic, authentic brand strategy for the new Firefly Credit Union. Exemplified by a dynamic new logo and “Life Illuminated” tagline, Firefly’s brand essence and promise is about providing guidance to its members. To launch and maintain the new brand, Weber developed a comprehensive brand guidelines book for the renewed Firefly Credit Union. Focusing on Firefly’s brand strategy, the guidelines also included the credit union’s mission and values, key message themes, culture and action, as well as target audiences. Furthermore, Weber was able to prescribe Firefly’s design specifications, detailing the proper use of the logo, typography, colors, tagline, photos, copy and design. The brand guidelines dove deeper into providing real-world examples of how the brand should be presented along with guiding principles for keeping the brand consistent, while allowing for future exploration. Through the branding work of Weber, Firefly now had a new brand that truly reflected what the credit union meant in the minds of its members.


Extending the brand to a new website
With Weber giving life to this new brand, Firefly turned to ZAG Interactive to make it shine with the credit union’s site redesign. During thorough consultation, discovery and planning with Firefly, ZAG heavily referenced the brand guidelines, which served as fundamental principles of the site strategy – particularly during the site architecture and design phases.

Adhering to the newly established brand standards, ZAG designed the new site to deliver on the brand promise of providing a guided member experience. Keeping members’ needs in the forefront, ZAG’s marketing and copywriting teams developed a content strategy aimed to assist visitors with their financial decisions by providing a wealth of educational information throughout the consumer journey. Promoting online member applications loan applications and account openings, the site’s self-service channels and user-friendly design allow members to effectively take action when they are ready.

Animated image of the before and after screenshots of the Firefly Credit Union site

Introducing the new site
To reinforce the new brand and introduce the leading functionality, newcomers were welcomed to the new site with an interactive tour of the redesign. Saving time and effort, members can quickly log into online banking from every page of the website. Additionally, visitors have quick access to the most popular tools from the site header – from locating a nearby Firefly branch or ATM, to checking current rates. Helpful smart tools – dedicated bands of contextual rates, tools, education, and more – also aid members in making their financial decisions on relevant pages throughout the site. Additionally, simple and direct global navigation lets motivated current or prospective members open and account or apply for a loan right away. From the uplifting design aesthetic to the user-centric technology features, everything on the new Firefly site promotes the brand and guides the user along their financial discovery.

ZAG’s team stayed true to Weber’s vision for Firefly, ensuring the look, feel, tonality and spirit of the reinvigorated financial institution was carried through on the new site. From the positive, uplifting language, to images accentuated with light, the “Life Illuminated” branding was actuated in the new site design. ZAG extended Weber’s imagery to create custom iconography for the new site that stayed on brand, while also making sure that the new brand colors translated safely on web in accordance to ADA compliance standards. A successful collaboration between branding firm, digital agency and credit union, Firefly’s new site is a prime example of how a financial institution can fulfill its brand promise online.


Working with a branding and digital agency
As evidenced by the energetic enthusiasm and information exchanged at the Forum 2016, it is indeed a very exciting time for financial institutions, especially those that dare to be different. Breaking away from traditional banking, financial marketers must find ways to be distinct, particularly online. Working with a branding firm and a digital agency can assist financial institutions in re-establishing its overall presence with the consumer-facing site being a focal point for the brand.

  • Branding
  • Website

ZAG Interactive is a full-service digital agency in Glastonbury, CT, offering website design, development, marketing and digital strategy to clients nationwide. See current job openings.
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