TAPCO CU’s New Brand: A Perfect Blend of “Where We Came From and Where We Are Going Together”

Two years ago, TAPCO’s senior leadership team took a step that some less inclusive businesses might never have taken. They tasked their employees with developing a new mission statement for the credit union. The passionate, member-focused team was well versed when it came to articulating the credit union difference and, according to Marketing Director Amy Tolzmann, what they came back with was a statement that “was all about the people. It embodies the spirit of the people helping people philosophy.”

What evolved was “For the Love of People.” That may not be a tagline other financial service industry businesses would embrace, but for a credit union, it is so appropriate.

“For us internally, the word love is about living our values every day,” Tolzmann said. “If we are living our values, we are serving our members.”

The mission statement was just part of a long, well thought out and inclusive process the 24,000-member, $300 million-asset sized credit union used to determine its brand and refreshed logo. Employees and the board were consulted. The members were surveyed. The community was tapped for input. And, in keeping with its local focus, TAPCO looked not to New York or Los Angeles, but to a Puget Sound-based agency, Hemisphere Design & Marketing, for further expertise. It was clear that people valued the fact that TAPCO was the first credit union in Tacoma.

“It was important to us to honor the past 82 years of service to Tacoma and Pierce County, while looking forward to future growth,” said Carlyn Roy, CEO of TAPCO. “We feel we’ve created a new look and feel that allows us to celebrate both.”

Since Roy took the reins as CEO five years ago, the credit union has invested extensively in staff development, shared branching and new technology, including Apple Pay. The timing was right for a brand that Tolzmann notes is a blend of “where we came from and where we are going together.”

The result is a logo that is both familiar and forward looking. TAPCO’s branches have been refreshed—all with messaging that ties back to “For the Love of People.”

A video that celebrates TAPCO’s local heritage is also part of the new branding rollout. It features real TAPCO members and was shot in businesses owned by members—another “authentic and local” outcome of the process.

For credit union teams, rebranding or refreshing a brand is both an invigorating and challenging process. Tolzmann’s advice?  Research and engage leadership, Directors, employees, members and community.

“We had some great discovery and discussion. It was truly a team effort,” she noted.

Questions about this story? Contact Eric Horvath: 503.350.2222, ehorvath@nwcua.org.

Posted in Around the NW, Industry Insight, Marketing & Communications, NWCUA.