Umpqua Bank is more like a retailer than a bank, says Lani Hayward, EVP of creative strategies. Customer experience is paramount at all 147 West Coast branches and it has a strong identity as a community resource.
Umpqua asked its longtime agency Lane PR to help it reach small business owners, drive new business deposits, and reinforce its identity. "The Lemonaire" concept was developed to play off lemonade stands - a classic first small business experience.
"Umpqua... wants people to think differently about a bank," says Eve Callahan, VP of Lane PR.
The team decided to involve the community by giving away take-home lemonade stand kits and offering 20 professionally designed large stands for kids to operate in their neighborhoods.
"It explained small business in a way all of us can relate to," Hayward says. "It was driven by public interest and came down to a desire by kids to get involved."
Callahan adds, "We wanted to engage the community, remind them that business can be fun."
Media relations would drive stories about Umpqua's take on banking relationships and its innovative marketing practices.
The team gave away more than 2,100 lemonade stand kits. Kits included tablecloths, how-to business booklets, branded cups and napkins, signs, and $10 in start-up capital. The 20 large stands traveled around communities as different kids won time operating them.
Media kits included a "How to Become a Lemonaire" guide, branded cups and napkins, lemonade mix, and Popsicle sticks to a make desktop lemonade stands.
Photo testimonials, recordings of kids' lemonade stand stories, and letters from parents highlighting lessons learned were also available to media. Videos of kids and stands were posted on its Web site.
Callahan says the popularity of the kits helped break through to the media (some journalists even featured them in coverage).
Umpqua reports that 1,000 new business relationships and 2,331 new account openings during the campaign, with deposits totaling $113 million. The team also reports that the effort garnered 63 media placements, including The New York Times, AdAge, Brandweek, and US Banker.
"It moved the needle and continued to [show] that Umpqua is a different kind of business," Hayward says. "The campaign and the stories were so good because it was authentic."
Umpqua will keep working with Lane PR. This summer, Lemonaire efforts will be focused on Sacramento. The team has also planned a campaign to draw new customers that will involve nontraditional tactics, such as sign-up crews operating out of mobile vans and at stands at farmer's markets.
The results speak for themselves here. This simple campaign managed to encompass the bank's identity, teach small business principles, drive deposits, and garner national attention.
Hayward says the campaign also resonated with employees - an important element in driving community excitement and participation.
Umpqua clearly values innovative marketing and community involvement, and it's great to see how well this campaign paid off.
PR team: Umpqua Bank and Lane PR (both Portland, OR)
Campaign: The Lemonaire
Duration: July-August 2007
Budget: about $40,000