Vancouver City Savings Credit Union has been chosen by the B.C. Chapter of the American Marketing Association as the recipient of its 2005 “Marketer of the Year” award.

In a unanimous decision by the judges, Canada’s largest credit union was selected for its work in linking its strong reputation to its branding strategy.

The BCAMA will honour Vancity at an awards dinner, which takes place tonight in Vancouver.

“Vancity has always generated positive feelings towards its brand, but by linking its brand strategy to its strong reputation, the organization has been able to turn those feelings into business results,” said Janet Andersen, BCAMA past president and chairwoman of this year’s judging committee.

Vancity’s branding work kicked off in 2003 with a goal to attract new members and generate deeper loyalty among its current membership. The first step was to embark on a revolutionary process with a West Vancouver firm called Envisioning + Storytelling to identify and capture the true essence of “who” the organization is and what makes it so special.

The credit union’s first TV ad campaign in seven years under the tagline “Expect Better” launched Vancity’s new approach. Other efforts, such as mass media, direct marketing, guerrilla activities, print, radio, and street teams created momentum.

Marketing strategies directed at youth and the gay and lesbian communities, as well as Vancity’s focus on developing innovative products and offering best pricing, have added to the organization’s success. The results have been impressive, contributing to another strong year for Vancity’s bottom line and membership growth rates.

“We are proud of the work we’ve done and are thrilled to be recognized by the BCAMA. We think we have a great story to tell and we now have all the tools we need to keep telling it in a revolutionary way,” said Kari Grist, Vancity’s vp of marketing.