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Success Stories: Marketing a Merger — SC Telco FCU Joins Forces with AFCU to Become Spero Financial

March 1, 2021
  • Artist Jared Emerson unveiled the logo through an incredible speed-painting display.

  • Rossie and David Koss, Spero Financial Members since 1972

  • Spero launches its new website along with its new brand.

  • Member Crystal Calhoun and her son are spotlighted in Spero Financial’s marketing collateral.

Success Stories

Marketing a Merger

SC Telco FCU Joins Forces with AFCU to Become Spero Financial

By Donna Adinolfe

In an effort to expand their product offerings and help more members achieve their financial hopes and goals, Anderson Federal Credit Union recently joined SC Telco Federal Credit Union, forming Spero Financial, based in Greenville, SC.

While the official merger did not take place until early February of this year, SC Telco took on the new name in November of 2020. The weeks leading up to the rebrand and merger were very exciting for both organizations. The marketing team was very busy orchestrating the details of the rebrand launch, while ensuring all employees in both organizations were completely immersed in the new brand — Spero Financial.

Launching a new brand isn’t easy, but Spero Financial Marketing Director Bethani Williams says that seeing the countless hours of planning and strategizing come to reality was “truly inspiring.”

What they did:

“In search for our new name, we wanted to select a name that had meaning and an origin in the legacy of our organization. When launching the brand, our goal was to bring the brand to life — ultimately using our members to tell the brand story: a story about hope, unity, and improving financial lives,” Williams said.

The rebranding kicked off with a market survey to discover how SC Telco’s name was perceived in the marketplace to measure brand equity. Staffers shared the data with a national branding agency to determine the four pillars of what the new brand should encompass: an unchanging mission and core values, history and stability, growth and forward thinking and community impact.

The name Spero Financial was chosen as it has its origins in South Carolina’s motto Dum Spiro Spero, meaning “While I breathe, I hope.” The name Spero means hope. Pronounced “sparrow,” the name and logo exemplify the agile and adaptable qualities of the bird, while also symbolizing the strength that is found in community.

“The new logo was created with the formation of an arrow in the dead space under the bird’s wing to represent the credit union’s constant forward trajectory,” Williams said.

As brand ambassadors, the credit unions’ employees met virtually with CEO Brian McKay. The leadership team appeared in a video showcasing the meaning behind the name and to reveal the new brand that represents who they were, and who they are becoming as a unified credit union.

During the virtual event, artist Jared Emerson unveiled the logo through an incredible speed-painting display, and an education curator from Greenville Zoo, Lynn Watkins, spoke about the unique characteristics of the sparrow.

In addition, launch parties were held in all the branch locations, a fun celebration for members to pick up new Spero swag.

Results: 

To launch the new brand in November, the marketing team asked members to be part of Spero’s story by sharing their own stories. Participation was strong and far exceeded expectations.

“Our goal with the brand launch was to make our members shine,” Williams said. “Spero Financial is all about hope of a greater financial well-being.”

Fifteen members participated in a photo shoot and two were featured in inspiring videos to share their stories of how the credit union had made a difference in their lives. The photos and videos are featured on all marketing collateral including emails, the new website, spero.financial, billboards and digital advertising.

Internally, department heads were called upon to document how the rebrand would affect their department. They met bi-weekly, laying down the foundation for a smooth transition in updating all internal systems, member communications, documents, etc. to the new brand.

Lessons learned:

  • A rebranding is much more involved than just a name change. It is creating a strategic brand identity for the organization with specific goals outlined to measure success.
  • Using a reputable and specialized attorney is key, especially when trademarking the name/logo, as the process alone can take up to six months.
  • In selecting a new name, full due diligence of available domains and social handles need to be conducted to ensure the name is available across all channels.
  • Your organization’s IT department will be instrumental in making the rebrand a success, as they will aid in changing the domain name on staff email addresses, updating the company name on caller IDs, and so much more.