How New Brand Essence defined The Mac Credit Union's culture, standards and behaviour

Published On
May 17, 2024

Your unique Brand Essence represents the “heart and soul” of your brand.

It’s the one intangible (beyond product, service or price) – that really makes your company ‘tick’. Your Brand Essence is an internal driver of culture – usually encapsulated in two, or maybe three words, but never more, and is best expressed as “adjective/noun.”

Importantly, your Brand Essence does NOT become the brand tagline or slogan – although it can help inform the tagline - it must be authentic and come directly from your company’s embedded culture and Brand Story. Your Brand Essence drives behaviour and response (internal and external), it can be at the core of product or service developments and should even help inform hiring (and sometimes ‘firing’) decisions.

BrandQuest developed the Good Neighbour brand essence for their client The Mac (formerly the Macarthur Credit Union) that is now inculcated throughout their management and staff.

Started in 1971 as a credit union in Sydney’s outer west as a response to providing the banking needs of local miners, truckers and blue-collar workers who were largely ignored and eschewed by ‘the big banks’. The Macarthur Credit Union as it was then known epitomised what a ‘local bank’ used to be and how it served the needs of its customers.

Over the years and into 21st century, through the tough times and the good, the Credit Union had stood beside its local customers, helping them out when needed, always there for its customers…not just there for profit. In fact, during the BrandQuest brand strategy process, a ‘throwaway line’ from a manager that “we have never, ever foreclosed on a customer’s home loan” struck a chord with BrandQuest.

It was a remark that went to the very heart of The Mac’s culture, which led to the adoption of ‘Good Neighbour’ as the brand essence.



When these two words were first presented to the entire Mac staff, one excited member jumped to her feet, pumped her fist in the air and shouted with glee; “Go the Mac, you good neighbour!” This response – demonstrated that 50 years of embedded history, culture and brand story had just been crystallised into two memorable words!


a quote about brandquest from the mac ceo
Dave Cadden, CEO, The Mac about their Brand Essence - Good Neughbour

As Chief Executive Officer, Dave Cadden explains:

The heart of our brand? We didn't really know at the time what the brand essence was, what it meant, let alone what it should be. And I think the process BrandQuest took us through, helped us to identify that our brand essence is really important. It's not just a throwaway line, it's actually who we are.

And you helped us to identify our brand essence as Good Neighbour.

And the authenticity to those two words was that when you look over the back fence in your neighbourhood, you don't see Brad Pitt, unfortunately, you see a face like mine.

And once we acknowledged that, then it was just a simple process to then say, you know what? We are Good Neighbours.

What would a good neighbour do in certain circumstances? Not just in good times, but in challenging times. And that was our inherent DNA. The brand essence brought that to the surface and we now use that constantly for internal discussions and external discussions.

And those two words ‘Good Neighbour’ sum us up perfectly and really resonate with people.

Because that's what our community wants. They just want to deal with a good neighbour.


Or more importantly, does every member of your staff understand what drives the business, how they should act and respond?

Every organisation has a BrandEssence – some remain undiscovered and latent, yet when revealed and inculcated within your business, the Brand Essence becomes a potent addition to your cultural and commercial success.

As part of an underpinning brand strategy, BrandQuest has developed over 150 Brand Essence statements for their Clients.

Could your management and staff benefit from being galvanised around just two words?