Big QuestionsOur work related to complex challenges.

The Challenge

Bolster Umpqua's already strong brand, deliver new services for associates and customers, and unite the bank with its new partner amidst a merger that doubled its size.


A revitalized brand story, including 15 different concepts to express it both internally and externally.

Imagine this: Your company has just gone through a $2 billion merger. You show up at work to find an invitation from the CEO asking you to help shape the bank’s future. This is what happened when Umpqua acquired Sterling Financial Corporation in 2014, doubling its size and resulting in the creation of the West Coast’s largest community bank overnight. With a mission to be “the world’s greatest bank,” CEO Ray Davis seized the moment to reinvest in design across the organization.

Umpqua asked IDEO to help examine the brand they had and take it to a new level. They wanted to find out: how can we leverage our strength and reputation by activating the brand in new ways to deepen employee and customer engagement and foster continued growth?

IDEO identified three core brand opportunities and a newly articulated purpose statement that became a launch pad for more than 15 different concepts to express the brand internally and externally.

Inside Umpqua, company evangelists handed out notebooks with tips on “how to be better-makers,” and associates now participate in collaborative design challenges through an internal tool built on IDEO’s OI Engine, software that fosters open innovation. The design challenges are drawing unprecedented participation of 84 percent among employees and are having a real impact on the organization. Of the five they’ve run in two years, the company has implemented three winning ideas including a buddy program for new hires or transferees that upwards of 1,000 associates could experience over the next year.

IDEO was an important partner in helping us leverage our brand at a pivotal moment. From new digital experiences to an internal innovation platform, their work was instrumental in propelling us forward.

Ray Davis, CEO, Umpqua

IDEO also worked with Umpqua’s team to conceive digital products including a new digital app called Raindrop that lets people bank in the way that they think about saving and spending, not the way a bank does. It’s due for release in 2016.

To introduce all of this work, IDEO set up an immersive exhibition at Umpqua’s headquarters in Portland. Teams large and small, including the executive and associates from across the company, walked through the exhibit and witnessed how the brand impacts every aspect of their business, from employee engagement to product development. It was signed on the spot by Davis, who invited employees to sign their names, too.

Umpqua Bank on using the OI Engine platform

Financial Services
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