What healthcare marketing teams can learn from Umpqua Bank
I was going through my old blog posts and came upon this one from 2014. Since it’s likely that not too many people were reading my blog in 2014, and I liked this post, I thought I’d re-post it.
What can healthcare marketing teams – whether a health system marketing team, hospital marketing team or medical practice marketing team – learn from Umpqua Bank? The answer to this question is – a lot.
Because this stand out bank has carved out its own space. In the case of Umpqua, their brand is embedded within the business idea itself. It’s shaped on a different kind of banking vision about how to make lives better, aligned with the values of its customers, and executed meticulously.
For healthcare marketing teams, Umpqua Bank is a very relevant role model.
Why Look To Umpqua Bank
Umpqua Bank doesn’t take its cues from other banks. Certainly there are “table stakes functional benefits” that they need to deliver, as they are in the banking business. So elements like safety, simplifying, organizing and avoiding hassles, are important. Similar to your healthcare organization and the “clinical care” elements of value you deliver.
But what makes this community bank brand stand out among its peers is that it thinks differently and bigger. Umpqua Bank doesn’t compete based on being slightly friendlier, slightly easier to do business with or offering slightly higher rates. In fact, they’ve got so many unique and progressive ideas, it’s hard to document them all here. At the end of the day, they’re significantly different from other banks across the entirety of their brand experience.
According to EVP of Creative Strategies Lani Hayward, “if you as a marketer focus all of your attention on products and pricing, you’re never going to get ahead. You’re not going to differentiate yourself from the competition, because the guy next door or down the street is going to do the same thing tomorrow. You’re never going to win that battle.” I think this is a really important statement that healthcare marketers should pay attention to.
Inspiration For Building A Brand
If your healthcare marketing team is looking for ways to distinguish your organization and deliver new and greater value for customers, here’s why you should look to Umpqua Bank for branding inspiration – whether you work for a health system, hospital or medical practice. From its branding strategies to customer experience, Umpqua is great inspiration for building a stand out brand.
Brand Story. Umpqua’s got a great back story which it actively builds upon. From one branch in 1953, to proclaiming a new banking revolution in 1996, to opening next generation “community center” stores with regular events from movie night to yoga to new intimate and cozy neighborhood stores (notice stores versus branches) – they’re a stylish, sophisticated and yes, even hip bank. Other banks have longer histories. Citi, for instance, was founded in 1812. But I don’t think any build upon their past any better than Umpqua.
Brand Purpose. Umpqua customers know exactly what this bank stands for (the real business they’re in beyond what they do). The banks greater sense of purpose is conveyed through their public manifesto and brought to life through its distinguishing community-based retail experience and socially-driven activities.
Brand Behavior. Everything Umpqua does, every experience they create — with employees, customers, and the public in general — supports and enhances their story and is executed with brilliance. In fact, the key question driving strategy discussions at Umpqua has always been, “How can we get people to drive by three other banks to get to ours?”
Retail Experience. The bank has always looked outside the financial sector for inspiration (as today’s healthcare marketers should always look outside healthcare for branding inspiration). Umpqua’s brand has been heavily influenced by the retail industry. “Retailers know all about impulse buys,” Hayward explains. “But how can we bring that kind of thing (or something similar to it) into the banking world? How can we get people to browse our branches, or at least get them to think beyond errands and transactions?”
Umpqua’s answer has been to make its branches look and feel more like “neighborhood stores.” They include elements like “catalyst walls” (interactive touchscreen displays that highlight products and services) and “refresh bars” that allow customers to grab a cup of the bank’s proprietary coffee blend. Local products — such as bonsai trees, bikes, pottery and even skateboards — are also on display and available for purchase.
Benevolence. Many of the bank’s brick-and-mortar locations host community and civic events ranging from speed-dating mixers for singles to wine tastings and yoga classes. It’s also found success in certain cities with its “Catalyst Series” of speakers, presentations and workshops — an exclusive series of seminars the bank hosts in its branches.
Bonding. Beyond customers interacting with Umpqua during business hours, the brand is a platform for its fans to share with one another – through Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. But it’s also extremely active in its communities, where “community” really counts most. Umpqua creates a community, not just between its brand and its customer, but among everyone who loves the brand.
Bold. By changing the rules of the banking game, the brand continues to surprise and delight at the same time that it provides a feeling of deep, intimate connection. This begins with never thinking of themselves as simply a bank, but more like “knowledgeable neighbors” to quote EVP of Creative Strategies Lani Hayward.
Brand Building Inspiration Summary
As the healthcare category continues to be disrupted, your brand asset is the one intangible that can provide lasting value and become the engine that drives business growth. So if your healthcare marketing team is looking for ways to genuinely stand out from the crowd, create new value for your communities and patients and build a brand that people truly fall in love with, learn from Umpqua Bank.
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