Verity Credit Union Collaborates With Local Artists on Truth Campaign

Watch Seattle-based The Gods Themselves as they represent what truth means to them in a 30 second song. You can view all of Verity’s Truth spots on their website.

A mysterious series of television advertisements has been airing in communities north of Seattle’s Lake Washington Ship Canal. Each spot features a different local artist performing a new original song.

The performances are filmed in the iconic Sunset Tavern, a live music venue in the heart of Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood. The first clue to the commercials’ origin is that each song includes the word “verity,” which is rooted in the Latin word for “truth.”

As the performances end, Verity Credit Union’s recently refreshed logo appears onscreen along with its new tagline: In the community, by the community, for the community.

“It’s not a small thing to change the way you’ve always marketed,” said Melina Young, Verity’s director of marketing.

In May of 2014, Verity’s board of directors and executive team created nine guidance statements for the credit union. Seven of them, said Young, had immediate impact for its marketing. “It was clear that we had to modify the way we marketed to try and encompass all of those credit union goals,” she said.

Young worked with executive team to build a strategy. “In a competitive industry,” she said, “we realized that focusing on the ‘credit union’ of us is not going to get us as far as focusing on the ‘Verity’ of us. In order to increase brand awareness it was clear that we needed to transition from what we had always done — talking about a different loan product every month — and start focusing on the brand.”

The inspiration for the campaign came from a session at 2014’s Amplify Convention, where Spokane-based Boom Creative and Global Credit Union described a campaign they created together.

“We worked with Boom Creative to do full brand audit and figure out our level of brand awareness,” said Young, “and they came back with recommendations on how to proceed.”

Verity selected the recommendations that would work best for them, and charged ahead. They conducted interviews with residents of North Seattle, where they are headquartered and have the greatest footprint.

“When we asked people, ‘What do you do?’ a really surprising number led with what they are passionate about,” said Young. “They would say, ‘I play bass; I’m a sculptor; I’m a painter,’ rather than telling us their profession. It was really strongly correlated with the arts.”

They also asked people if they knew what the word “verity” means. “We had a lot of people who said ‘truth,’ which was really exciting,” she said.

This all culminated in Verity’s Truth campaign. They asked six local artists — two visual artists and four musical artists — to show what truth meant for them. The visual artists were asked to incorporate Verity’s “V” and its brand colors, blue and orange. And the musical artists were asked to create 30-second songs using the word “verity.”

The television ads feature the songs created by the local artists. “Twenty seven out of 30 seconds is just the band,” said Young. “We really wanted to highlight their work because we think that all ships rise together.”

Young said that this is all part of the new brand direction they have been developing over the past year. “It’s been a great experience internally for us,” said Young. “We’re making sure this isn’t just one of those things that lives in the marketing department. For instance, we’re making sure branches have flexibility to determine what’s important in their community and be involved in those things. One of the great things about Seattle is that every neighborhood — Wallingford, Capitol Hill, Northgate, Greenwood — is so unique. Our branches are part of those communities.”

Verity is preparing to open a branch in Seattle’s fast-growing Ballard neighborhood. Young said that Verity CEO John Zmolek summed up the strategy best when he said, “We’re not building Verity’s Ballard Branch, we’re creating Ballard’s Verity Branch.”

View all of Verity’s Truth spots on their website.

Questions about this story? Contact James Pearson: 206.340.4790, jpearson@nwcua.org.

Posted in Marketing & Communications.