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For Credit Unions, Game-Changing Leadership Starts With Inspired Brand Positioning

November 2022
William Brewer, CCP
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All leaders should aspire to be game changers.

For some, this comes easily. Many industries attract dynamic, visionary leaders who strive to outshine one another in innovative ways. Professional sports are one good example that comes to mind here. The marketing industry is also full of forward-thinking pioneers. 

Other industries lend themselves less to the natural development of exciting, innovative executives. For instance, Financial Services is a venerable industry with a clear focus and a set way of doing business. It takes an exceptional person to operate as a game-changing leader within the Financial Services industry.  

And yet, that’s precisely the kind of leadership that financial institutions, including credit unions, need if they want their organizations to keep pace with their peers and find success in the 21st century. 

Going Above and Beyond as a Leader in Financial Services

If credit union C-suite members want to find sustainable success, they must strike a balance between the expected and the unexpected. For the former, every credit union CEO, COO, CFO, CHRO, CIO/CTO, Chief Risk Officer, Chief Lending Officer, Chief Credit Officer, and the rest of its executive leadership team must be able to adhere to the prerequisites and expectations of all Financial Services leaders. This includes the ability to run a tight ship and follow all laws and regulations along the way. 

While this is a good start, it’s just the beginning for those who want to truly bring a game-changing mindset to their organizations. Credit union executives must also look for ways to move their organization forward in innovative and unique ways. One of the best ways to do this is by focusing on brand positioning. Honing in on how they want their members to perceive them is a great way for credit union leadership to differentiate themselves from the competition (i.e. banks, online lenders, other credit unions).  

The key here is going deeper than the formulaic. You can’t just tick off a brand positioning cheat sheet and call it a day. 10,000-foot view elements, like a member-centric approach to banking, can help a credit union separate itself organization from more traditional institutions, like banks. They can even go further by emphasizing things like high-quality member resources and services to show why they’re superior to other credit unions. But in an era defined by personalized service and unique brand positioning, these broad differentiators are no longer enough.  

To be true game-changers, credit union C-suite members must take these obvious brand position elements and find innovative ways to integrate them into their company’s strengths.  

This requires an intimate knowledge of how their credit union is run and an ability to pinpoint strengths and connect them to brand positioning elements. For instance, a credit union might be particularly good at providing member resources. They might also operate in an area with a significant number of retirees and seniors. They can use these factors to create a brand position that hones in on providing elite financing resources for seniors, including everything from financial expertise to online content, retirement fund, and anything else that reinforces this unique angle of strength. 

Even at this point, a good leader isn’t done. They need to take this information and form it into a clear and communicable brand position that employees and members alike can easily understand. 

Providing game-changing leadership from the upper tier of a credit union isn’t formulaic. You can’t just follow the steps and do a good job. You need to bring an innovative mindset to your brand position. Find those special angles that enable your financial institution to stand out not just from a portion but all of your competition. 

Working With a Game-Changing Executive Recruiter

Building a credit union customer base and maintaining success in the Financial Services industry isn’t an easy task, which is why you want to hire the best candidate for each credit union C-suite position to set yourself up for success from day one as well as future C-suite leaders. That’s where working with a quality recruiter who specializes in the finance industry comes into play. 

“You want to hire the best candidate for each credit union C-suite position to set yourself up for success from day one as well as future C-suite leaders.” 

At Stanton Chase’s Los Angeles office, our team has spent years collectively learning about executive recruitment in the finance industry. We’ve created a proven strategy built on past success that helps us identify top-tier talent and efficiently place candidates in key positions in a short time frame. This gives our credit union clients cost-effective access to premier talent. 

The world may be in a constant state of evolution, but finance is one thing that isn’t going away any time soon. As an integral part of both the present and the future, it’s essential for credit unions to put strong leadership teams in place who can provide a steady presence in the here and now while also maintaining a game-changing mindset for your organization in the future, as well. 

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