It’s Refreshing! Building Strength By Rebranding, Part II

Exploring examples of financial institutions with ownable names and positive equity and how refreshing their brands positioned them for growth

In part four of our series on brand name changes, we explored banks and credit unions that kept their names but refreshed their brand identities to achieve the same or even more growth.

As we discussed in our on-demand webinars to community banks and credit unions, expansion is essential for financial institutions in our competitive pandemic environment. For brands that keep their names, rebranding makes them more modern and relevant and deepens their relationship with their audiences. Names are so important because of their staying power – a moniker generally lasts as long as the brand does, so it’s critical to get it right. On naming, the American Marketing Association says “Ideas should be meaningful – rooted in brand strategy, informed by a deep understanding of customers. Strategic names are also distinctive – they stand out against the competition – and [are] adaptable enough to stretch as a company or product grows and changes.” These examples show brands that had the right name, but needed new expressions of their promise and values.

Time to Refresh: Ownable Brands

For Citadel Credit Union, rebranding focused on thoughtfully updating their identity to ensure it’s a more resilient, resonant brand, today and into the future. The refreshed brand and platform delivered on a strong core – as the institution reached deeper into existing markets and broader into new ones. Describing the rebrand in CU Insight, Adrenaline’s CXO Gina Bleedorn says Citadel is a “forward-thinking organization” that understood the “importance of brand” to their business and their people. On building on their ownability, Gina says, “We only helped craft and clarify what was already there.”


With Arrowhead Credit Union, this brand needed an updated identity and messaging to better convey their core institutional values. A service-oriented brand with a strong existing culture, Arrowhead was a recognized name among its generations of members, but their brand presence didn’t reflect the more modern progressive values the credit union was growing to embrace. Looking for a complete brand evolution that remained true to their values, Adrenaline’s team delivered a new logo, website, collateral, brand guidelines, and an advertising campaign to announce the brand update.

Arrowhead Before and After

Time to Refresh: Enough Positive Equity

While some brands may not have ownable names, they may have enough positive equity and awareness to make keeping the name and refreshing their identity the best brand decision. But how do you determine this? Gina Bleedorn says research is key. “In addition to corporate alignment, discovery, and brand strategy, consumer research, member research is a great way to figure out whether you have enough measurable positive equity, especially to overcome the non-ownable name barrier.” That’s what GTE did in their rebrand, leaning on aspirational brand attributes molded into a powerful positioning statement and supported with the “financial” designator. 

It’s Refreshing! Building Strength By Rebranding, Part II – GTE Financial

Under the Baxter Credit Union name and a dated 35-year old brand, this credit union was experiencing sluggish membership and were unable to appeal to select employee groups (SEGs) that were the engine of their growth. Again here, data showed there was a blank slate of opportunity for the credit union to seize, but only if they had the right brand, positioned in the right way. The CU needed renewal and repositioning to grow. Through a holistic brand platform and new B2B communications strategy, Adrenaline helped reinvent BCU’s visual identity, which resulted in opening opportunities for rich and engaging brand storytelling.  

Baxter Credit Union Before & After

For more information about naming, refreshing and rebranding services, particularly for financial brands or to speak to one of our branding experts, contact us at

Adrenaline is a brand experience company that creates and implements end-to-end branded experiences through creative and environmental design. We enhance our clients’ customer experiences across digital and physical channels, from their branding and advertising to design and technology in their spaces. After transforming an organization’s brand, Adrenaline extends it across all touchpoints — from employees to the market to in-store environments. And, we focus on serving industries that sell human experiences including financial, healthcare, sports and entertainment.

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