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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


Feedback Opportunity: Promotional Items

25 Mar


Thanks so much for taking the time to take these polls.

Coming Up: Blog Series

25 Mar

Friday, March 25, 2011

Throughout the months of April and May, I’m going to be featuring a blog series where I’ll focus on mini case studies of marketing and publicity successes and failures. Some stories you may be familiar with while others may not be as well-known. Ultimately, I hope you’ll take some aspect from each of the cases that you can integrate into your marketing plan. I’ll be posting new entries regularly so keep checking back. Better yet, for instant notification, subscribe and you’ll get the news right away. (All you have to do is enter your e-mail address over there to the right and hit “Sign Me Up”! It’s that easy. Or hit “subscribe” below to choose your preferred method.)

Stay tuned: The first installment is about KFC’s overwhelming success in China. Find out how KFC has become more profitable in China than in the U.S. using simple, but thoughtful, marketing strategies.



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22 Nov

Monday, November 22, 2010

During this week of Thanksgiving, I thought I would take a minute to reflect on what I’m thankful for. I’m thankful for the freedoms we still have in this country to run our own businesses. As I’ve said, small business is the foundation of America and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to be part of it. I’m thankful for a free-market economy…and hope that things stay that way! I’m thankful for all of my loyal clients.

I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Remember how lucky we are to live in the United States!


Website Update

13 Oct

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Well, I’m finally back. I apologize for the lack of communication for a few days. I was “out of commission” Monday and yesterday because I was sick. But, today, I’m back to business as usual.

So over the weekend, I decided that I really like this format for my website and am, therefore, closing my other website. So from now on, please do not use as it is no longer available. I hope that you are enjoying the blog updates and and the new format. Keep coming back!! I love all the visits!


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