Being asked by Credit Union Central of Canada to remove the letters ‘CU’ from ‘CUmarketing’ was a bit like being asked if we’d enjoy a slice of lemon straight up. At first. But the truth is, it led us into a truer reflection of who we are, what we do and where we’re going.
We didn’t want to let go of our name, but it was out of our hands. Why not make the best of a bad situation and rebrand? Our process began with looking at what we love most about our company and team. Then we asked ourselves what we love about working with credit unions. Our answers helped us find our centre – the essence of our culture and the truth of our brand.
We looked for ways to describe this essence and truth. We lobbed phrases like ‘outside the box’, ‘pushing the envelope’ and ‘against the grain’ and explored words like ‘disruptive’, ‘supportive’ and ‘innovative’. At one point, someone said ‘third stream’. This led to a pause, a question mark and a conversation. Which eventually led us to our ‘aha’ … and our new name.
Third stream is a musical term that was coined in the late ’50’s to describe an intriguing fusion of classical and jazz. It combines the genius of classical structure with the provocative spirit of jazz to find new heights of expression (think legend Miles Davis). ‘This feels like us’, we thought. We embrace excellence in mainstream business, technology and creative. Then we ask ourselves how we can use it to charter a new course of innovation in strategy, design and marketing for our credit union clients.
We were intrigued by the idea of ‘third stream’. We let it simmer for a while as we considered other possibilities, but we kept coming back to it. It resonated. It fit. It was unusual but thought provoking. It reflected our essence, truth and the future we envision for our company. We’d found our new name and it’s given rise to a fresh new brand.
Keith Ginter, our CTO, loves the shift. He believes that ‘thirdstream reflects our open-to-possibility approach. We take an existing process, one that’s currently flawed, add in our unique vision and voila…you’ve got a new and better way to do things that increases efficiencies and improves the experience for members and staff.’
For our CEO Christian Clapton, thirdstream captures the ‘disruptive’ nature of what we do – which is to push the boundaries to capitalize on new opportunities. ‘As Webtech and CUmarketing, we pioneered the idea of disruptive innovation to improve credit union business processes. Our new name and brand embrace this spirit of ingenuity and deepen our commitment to being thought leaders for credit unions.’
We have to say it. We love our new name, look and feel. So in the end, the constraint did us a huge favour. We were handed lemons. And as we’ve done as a company from day one, we made lemonade.