Umpqua Bank Research


Client: Umpqua Holdings Corp

Business was declining and customers described the feeling at Umpqua Bank as that of a "low end coffee shop," so ZIBA Design was brought in to employ the latest research techniques to shape a new store experience and identity for the Oregon bank. Attitudinal and behavioral research uncovered that what customers actually wanted was a "slow banking" experience--intimate and more personal. The customers were suspicious of financial institutions in general and felt that banks did not value their business. They were longing for respect, and a trusted advisor on which to rely.

Internal Brand Camps (involving bank employees in collaging, card sorting and other exercises) and executive interviews allowed ZIBA to identify Umpqua's essence as that of human-centered banking, and to determine that customers wanted an "explorer/caregiver" character archetype, as opposed to the "ruler/sage" archetype projected by other banks. This explorer/caregiver" feeling is translated into a visual language through the use of active, asymmetric shapes and fluid, organic. open forms, creating a beautiful aesthetic. Once the ideal Umpqua brand had been identified, an improved store experience was shaped, leading to a new store opening only nine months after the research was completed.

The result: an unprecedented one million dollars in new deposits the first week it was open.

Among other things, researchers studied:
Surveillance tapes;
Interactive discussion panels;
Video ethnography and perceptual studies;
Laddering exercises.

"Umpqua Bank believed in the research findings and decided to fly in the face of the banking industry. Now their business is reaping the benefits." - Marty Gage, IDSA, Principal, Rocket

Contact: Jacqueline Sella,
ZIBA Design,

Credit: Ziba Design