At James & Matthew, we have had the privilege of working with credit unions for the past five years. We love exploring their mission. We love learning about their purpose, their culture, and their goals. We truly love our clients and the work we get to produce for them.

When we start to work with new credit union clients, it happens over and over again. During discovery calls, we’re always surprised at how many credit unions view their brand. They see themselves as a financial brand. While that makes perfect sense, what if we told you that they are more than just that? What if we told you that credit unions are lifestyle brands, on par with well-known brands like Coke and Starbucks? What if you started looking at your business as a lifestyle brand? In our experience, the credit unions that see themselves this way experience more success.

So what exactly is a lifestyle brand? A lifestyle brand is any brand that a person interacts with often. As you go about your daily routine, you are inundated with hundreds of brands every day. More than you probably even realize! Let’s take a look at 3 reasons why you should consider changing your branding mindset.


Think about technology, which literally puts brands at our fingertips. Most people are going to take out a physical card or open their digital wallet and pay with a card that has a credit union’s brand on it every single day. They’ll log onto a financial institution’s app or mobile site on a regular basis to check their balance.

You should be striving for these two things daily: Attention and interaction. Your brand should easily be at the front of a consumer’s mind in order to have undivided attention and engagement. Imagine if you had to drink a can of Coke or get a latte every day. Coke and Starbucks would be pretty excited about that, right? That’s how your company should be positioned.


Your brand likely represents something that people care deeply about. For a credit union, money stirs emotion. It dictates most things in daily life. In a world filled with lots of banking brands, consumers have a choice of where their money is stored. So how is your brand playing to your customer’s emotional needs? Ultimately it won’t matter as much what services you offer, or what incentives you can give… It will be because of how your brand is positioned emotionally—as a necessity or need—that keeps them coming back to you.


Believe it or not, a credit union’s brand inhabits the same brain space that other far less important commodities do. The brain’s Limbic System stores all the urges and desires we have. The area of the brain that dictates our need also triggers emotion, behavior, and action. So the brain sees your brand as a need or a desire. Which means it’s time for you to start seeing yourself as consumers see you!

Being an agency that loves clients and their brands, we understand what makes your credit union great. But we also understand what can make your credit union even greater. You need to begin positioning yourself as a lifestyle brand that commands attention and interaction, one that is actively pursued on a daily basis to serve in every aspect of life. You can be a lifestyle brand, by simply prioritizing what you do best.

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