Archive | May, 2011

Series Wrap-Up

30 May

Monday, May 30, 2011

Whether we ever recognize it or not, public relations and marketing affects pretty much every aspect of our daily lives. It’s the underlying motivation of why we purchase one product over another. And their foundational principles can even be found in entertaining performances.

To wrap up the blog series, “Exploring Marketing Triumphs and Failures”, I offer this final entry. Public Relations Rogue, a fellow wordpresser, has put forth an insightful list of thoughts on communications that were learned from, of all places, a Blue Man Group show. It just goes to show you that you can learn something about PR and marketing anywhere. Hopefully you’ll take the opportunity to recognize these principles wherever you go. 

Thanks to everyone who has stopped by. Stay tuned for more exciting entries!!

I just wanted to take a moment to publicly acknowledge the men and women of our armed services that unselfishly protect our freedoms on a daily basis. And they do it by sacrificing time with their families and friends and and sometimes, ultimately, their lives. Thank you each and every one of you…and for your families who support you. Happy Memorial Day! And God Bless the United States of America. 

Bird-Watching: It’s Not Your Grandmother’s Hobby Anymore

23 May

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Audubon Society has long been known for its older generation of bird watchers – you probably are familiar with the organization because of your grandparents’ involvement. But today, The Audubon Society is after the elusive ‘young birder’, someone who breaks the traditional ‘senior’ mold. The ideal candidate? Twenty- and thirty-somethings with a penchant toward nature. And believe it or not, they’re out there and they’re getting connected.

And just how do they intend to capture this new demographic? How else? Well, social media, of course. Technology is the future of the organization. They’ve already tested out their new strategies with their California chapter by inviting members and non-members alike to attend  Audubon-sponsored events. For just one event, they had over 300 responses. “…[N]ew birders and their technology are welcome. Organizations need to keep appealing to new generations to stay relevant,” says Garry George of California Audubon.Young birders also bring new opportunities to an organization that has always catered to an older generation. For instance, birders can download apps to their mobile devices which allow them to identify bird species as well as examples of bird calls.

Now it’s easier than ever to keep track of Audubon events, information and updates by following their Twitter feed: @audubonsociety. If you want more, you can also connect with other enthusiasts on the National Audubon Society’s facebook page. Be part of the conversation or sit back and be informed. 

Their ultimate goal is to connect people with similar interests to the beautiful world around them. “This isn’t your grandmother’s Audubon anymore,” says Audubon President, David Yarnold.1

*Logo courtesy of

1 NPR’s Marketplace


More posts from this series:
Winter Classic: Save!
GAP’s Branding Blunder
Success in China: KFC
Coffee, Wii Bowling, Yoga and…Banking?

Coffee, Wii Bowling, Yoga and…Banking?

3 May

Tuesday, May 3, 2011


A natural sequence, right? Not exactly. It’s probably pretty likely that, unless you grew up in the Pacific Northwest or have spent extensive time there, you’ve never heard of Umpqua Bank. That’s ok, but the people in the area definitely have. They have quite an amazing little branding story. A bank? Read on…

The mid-sized bank in Oregon first opened in 1953 with one branch, six employees and $70,00. In 1995, the new President and CEO Ray Davis shifted the company’s focus to retail-oriented banking, a relatively new innovation in the financial world. So what does retail banking entail? It means that branches are “stores” which host community events, movie nights, coffeehouses and yoga. It means that customer service is the backbone of their philosophy, the basis for all the activities they conduct. “The store[s] focus on intimate, cozy banking for walk-in traffic.”1

The key to their success? Well it could be that “it’s becoming a pretty big bank by acting small.”1 They focus on making banking an experience, not just an errand. They’ve integrated into the funky Portland scene with a cool coffee house vibe and eco-friendly services.

They have also branded themselves as a community presence as the friendly, hip neighbor who knows everyone and everything that’s going on. In 2004, the first Umpqua Bank ice cream truck which delivers free ice cream was introduced to enthusiastic fans. In 2007, “Umpqua open[ed] the Innovation Lab in Portland’s Southwest waterfront…a [o]ne-of-a-kind store [that] blends state-of-the-art technology into the customer experience, experimenting with new ideas and initiatives.”1 They even launched an album showcasing the talent of local artists.

What does your bank do? Maverick CEO Davis says that “[b]ank products are a commodity. Everyone has different-colored checks and terms on a loan, but basically the same products. We weren’t going to out-resource or outgun the bigger fellows. So how do you differentiate a bank?”2 In Portland, one of the stores, which is also available for community meetings and even a concert by the Metropolitan Youth Symphony, opens its doors for a monthly Wii bowling night on the bank’s big screen TV. 

Note: Umpqua Bank has grown to nearly 200 stores and $12 billion in assets with acquisitions in California, Nevada and Washington. 

Discussion: What services/aspects do you value from your bank?

*Umpqua Bank logo from Umpqua Bank.

1 Umpqua Bank
2 NPR’s Marketplace 

More posts from this series:
Winter Classic: Save!
GAP’s Branding Blunder
Success in China: KFC
Bird-Watching: It’s Not Your Grandmother’s Hobby Anymore


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