Launching a Brand during COVID, and Winning

As COVID lockdowns began in early spring, the world seemed to grind to a halt. Schools closed. Planes grounded. Highways and subways emptied of traffic as the world of daily commerce and activity seemed to sit still, watching and waiting for safer times to return. 

Of course, business did go on – just differently, adapting to the challenges of social distancing and the realities of our shared new normal. Case in point: Citadel Credit Union, a financial institution with over $4 billion in assets located outside of Philadelphia, had been preparing to launch its new brand when COVID hit. Rather than halt its progress until COVID passed, Citadel’s leadership made a bold decision: The brand launch would continue as planned – even more relevant now than ever with its promise to members and communities around Building Strength Together.

Once the decision was made, the question became not if, but how. Key to the success of any rebrand and the foundation for a strong culture is launching to employees – those people closest to the organization and most invested in its success. During ‘normal’ pre-pandemic times, employee launches bring the entire organization together to learn, celebrate, connect and train around the new brand. So how does an organization best build and reaffirm those essential connections at a distance?

The answer was a meticulously planned virtual brand employee launch, designed to spark real engagement and help employees meaningfully engage with the new brand and with each other. The 75-minute session included varied content that held employees’ interest through pre-recorded messages from leadership; video recaps of the rebranding process; and a well-paced, step-by-step story that brought employees along on the journey of creating brand elements and new touchpoints. The recorded presentation culminated in a live Q&A session, where the executive team answered questions employees posed during the session from a live video feed. 

The intuitive virtual platform made it simple for employees to join, participate and interact. An easy-to-access link allowed employees to join in from anywhere, and nearly all 500 employees did just that. Throughout, the ongoing chat reflected a vibrant experience: Employees shared 436 interactions, from questions to comments to emojis to simple, all caps “YES!” messages, expressing support and excitement.

While we’re all looking forward to returning to live gatherings, the Citadel Virtual Launch was an unqualified success in a challenging time. After the launch, employees rated how they felt about the new brand, giving it a 90% rating – up from 57% just the year before. During an unsettling time, giving employees a chance to come together to celebrate an exciting new vision is perhaps more meaningful than ever – and yet another reason to believe in banking.

To learn about how your brand can build employee engagement, virtually and beyond, email