Changing customer perceptions by changing name and logo from Defence Force Credit Union to Defence Force Bank

Changing Your Category to change Customer Perceptions


Have you ever wondered how businesses get ‘pigeon-holed’ into categories and how their customer perceptions of them can be influenced by the category they operate in?

Well to be frank, neither had I!

Not until I came upon an interesting article recently. The article was an interview with John Linehan MD of the Defence Bank in the Australian Financial Review.

Of course the Defence Bank might not be in your lexicon or frame of financial reference as The Defence Bank is primarily (but not exclusively) the bank established for our defence force personnel.

Until recently and historically, the Defence Bank was known as the Defence Force Credit Union Limited (or Defcredit) and has 40 branches across Australia serving 91,000 members – almost half of whom are NOT Defence personnel.

Now, here’s how a change of category changed customer perceptions.

The article states that the then, Mutual Credit Union was one of the first Credit Unions in Australia to qualify for ‘Bank’ status – This change was seen as an opportunity to assist growth given many of it’s younger customers “didn’t really know what a credit union was”

The article quotes John Linehan, MD; “Before the name change we’d often get calls and people would ask for product disclosure statements and so forth to check us out”

“But, after the name change we never had a call for that. People instantly understood what we are”. He said.

A simple change of name to Defence Force BANK changed people’s perceptions and behaviours. No more enquiries from potential customers questioning what they do or their validity and integrity. By becoming a Bank, then say no more – Trustworthy, safe, dependable and here for the long term.

Have you questioned your positioning or market definition? It could change the way potential customers think of you, react to you and engage with you.

Who knows? You might be laughing all the way to the……….

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