When it comes to choosing a financial institution, chances are you’re looking for credibility and convenience—not confusion. MECU, Baltimore’s Credit Union, faced not only a brand awareness problem (“What’s MECU?” “Is it ‘meck-yoo’ or ‘mee-Q’?”) but also category confusion (“What’s a credit union?” or “Do I have to work for the city of Baltimore to join?”).
Awards & Recognition
- 2020 Credit Union National Association Diamond Awards
Best Re-Brand/New Corporate Identity
- Integrated Marketing
- Strategic Planning
Founded in 1936 as the Municipal Employees Credit Union, MECU evolved to offer financial services to anyone who lives, works, worships, or attends school in Baltimore. Despite broadening the eligibility requirements, the brand was experiencing stagnant growth—particularly among younger demographics and those with middle to high incomes. User research revealed those in their target markets either didn’t know what MECU—or credit unions in general—were, or they assumed they were not eligible due to the financial institution’s legacy of serving city employees.
To change perceptions and create distance from their legacy as “just a credit union,” U.Group started by removing the acronym and branding them simply as “MECU.” We then developed a new visual identity that introduced a playful color palette, iconography, and modern typeface, as well as devised a messaging platform that drove home the credit union’s core value proposition. The brand launch included a new website, TV spot, and $600,000 cross-platform media buy including transit, out of home, digital, print, and mobile ad placements.
MECU’s new brand design and messaging platform enabled them to communicate its services and values to Baltimore residents like never before. With U.Group’s help, MECU’s paid media campaign earned tens of millions of impressions and resulted in tens of thousands of visits to its website.