Creating a visual vocabulary that stands out 

In a world of photos with quirky millennials trying to act “normal”, professional women posing with arms crossed and a confident expression, and abstract images of a retiree lounging in front of a seamless pool, one financial institution dares to break the mold.

Texas Dow Employees Credit Union (TDECU), the largest credit union in Houston, came to us looking for a brand transformation. From the beginning, our approach was simple—bring TDECU’s culture and values to life by showcasing unique people receiving individualized service tailored to their personal goals and needs.

Through GDC’s Ideation process, we developed compound messaging that not only called attention to current and potential members, but also introduced distinctive personal attributes within their headlines. In every instance, our goal is to keep TDECU’s messaging simple while adding a little tongue-in-cheek humor. Additionally, all body copy is created to read as if a viewer were simply chatting with their best friend. The tone is easy to digest and very conversational, something that TDECU is known for.

To create a look that worked with the friendly tone of the copy, we developed a visual vocabulary that brings the viewer into the action—up close and personal.

We engage viewers with bold headlines and cropped images to give the imagery a first person perspective. We really want the audience to feel like they are experiencing the action of the photo they’re looking at. To push our visuals beyond those of standard financial advertisements, we developed an exclusive treatment for all of our photos to create an organic, original feel.

The new brand look and feel was also spread throughout TDECU’s mortgage, real estate, wealth management, business services, and insurance business units.

When TDECU bought the naming rights to the brand new football stadium at the University of Houston, their commitment to the university and supporting education initiatives in the community was displayed loud and clear. With their brand new look, tone, and feel, our next challenge was to show the credit union’s relevance to the students, staff and faculty at the University of Houston. We developed a robust member acquisition campaign that targeted all members of the university community.

TDECU continues to prosper, adding new members daily, and is on pace to meet all of its growth goals for FY14/15. In 2014 alone, TDECU added 34,000 new members, surpassing the 200,000 mark—a growth rate of 17 percent. With the new brand voice and visual vocabulary, we positioned TDECU to be more accessible and attainable to all the members of the communities it is proud to serve.