GOOD JOB: Umpqua Bank

Written by on November 7, 2012 in Good Job, Strategy - No comments

Way back in 2006, the New York Times featured one organization’s unique approach to banking.

Since then, Umpqua Bank has continued to grow and thrive throughout the Pacific Northwest because of its highly differentiated banking experience.

From the company’s promotional materials:

“Dubbed ‘Starbucks with tellers’ by the New York Times, Umpqua Bank is recognized nationally and internationally for pioneering the concept of bank branch as retail store. Its locations are inviting spaces designed as both financial hubs and communal gathering spaces for consumers and businesses. Staffed with Ritz Carlton-trained associates focused on providing an unparalleled customer experience, Umpqua’s stores encourage visitors to read the paper, enjoy a cup of coffee, host a meeting and surf the web.”

Don’t know about you, but that’s not exactly the way I’ve been doing banking.

It’s tough for a bank to stand out with the financial products it offers. But it can dramatically distinguish itself by the way it packages those products, the quality of service it provides and by the experience it creates for its customers. Umpqua deeply believes it is a community hub, not a traditional bank. As a result, the company doesn’t refer to its locations as “branches”, instead calling them stores. Their website doesn’t feel like a bank either. It’s fresh, dynamic and inviting. Friendly even.

Umpqua has never asked how it could be a better “bank” but instead focused on how it could be “better.” That’s creativity. And innovation.

There is likely a plethora of competing organizations in your space, who offer similar services or have similar missions. What if you were to think differently about your company or cause? What if you freed yourself from the chains of your specific niche or sector and the business and social norms it imposes? It might just help you create a different kind of experience for the people you are engaging. It might just lead to a truly unique position in the marketplace. And lots of success.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.