Whatever you do, don't do what this sign says


As we are in the thick of rebranding from Public Service Credit Union to Canvas Credit Union, I’ve spent many hours over the last few months focused on signs of all kinds. The Five Man Electrical Band said it best, “Signs, signs, everywhere signs.”
Even before the rebranding effort, I found signs fascinating. Signs give signals and historical context. Of course, they give direction and the story behind many signs illuminates human behavior that was dangerous or actions that if not stopped could cause someone harm. Generally, these kinds signs cause us to feel a mixture of alarm and gratitude. That was my exact feeling with both of these signs. One I saw last year in Orlando and one I came upon here in Colorado (and have subsequently learned are quite common).  


Other signs tell a much different story. They tell the tale of behavior that caused someone else frustration or hassle. They also give insight into the people that placed the sign. Especially in retail settings, people want a change to occur, but they do not wish to share the direction being given. These kinds of signs impact brand and experience.
Take a walk around your branches and office spaces today. Examine the signs you see and the story that they tell. Are you ordering people to stay at one position in a line? Are you inviting them to engage or inviting them to stop in their tracks? What feeling do the signs elicit?
We often think about brand as tied to the bigger monument signs at the entrance to our facilities or the large billboards we pass as we race down the freeway. However, each and every moment of communication shapes the brand experience of our members. The wrong sign with sharp messaging can be an epic fail for your brand. If there is no imminent danger, you might find that inviting your team to communicate verbally instead of relying on signs creates stronger engagement and ultimately enhances your brand experience for your members.
The next time you are about to create a sign, consider the story behind the sign and the feeling it will create for your members. Will it enhance your credit union’s brand experience?

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