Brand Refresh // The Commerce Bank of Oregon

A partially-owned (now wholly-owned) subsidiary of the Zions Bankcorp, The Commerce Bank of Oregon is a boutique business bank with big bank capabilities.  At first glance, The Commerce Bank of Oregon did not stand apart from any other bank in the Portland Metro area – or from many other banks anywhere, from that matter.  But as a business bank that relied on their relationships with local businesses, the Commerce Bank needed a way to bridge the gap between professional and personal.


Dee Heffernan  was retained to help the Commerce Bank conceptualize and execute a  brand refresh, which included a re-articulation of the bank's core values, mission statement, and vision statement;  updating of the brand identity, marketing collateral, and website; and standardization of style guidelines and identifiers of the newer sharper brand.  Throughout our engagement, Dee also assisted with the development of messaging for the CEO and bank Relationship Managers as they re-introduced their brand to the public.   


The brand refresh was multidimensional, and began with internal vision and values development (you can view that here).  This was a critical step in being able to understand and define the brand's core attributes and unique value proposition - to which the refreshed identity and marketing strategies would anchor.

The success of this project was driven by taking a deep dive into the core attributes that differentiated the Commerce Bank of Oregon from other local banks in the region.  From the start, I knew that the aesthetic needed to be sophisticated and polished well beyond what is typical of a bank's marketing collateral.  Working closely with the CEO as well as the Executive Leadership and Relationship Managers to gain a full understanding of the bank's sales cultivation process allowed me to pinpoint the areas where showing up with a polished brand would make the biggest impact.  In doing so, we identified a marketing collateral packet to be a medium through which the bank could make an Exceptional first impression...


I'll let the client's testimonial speak for the outcome here.  As well, we were awarded more work when it came to launching an ad campaign to re-introduce the bank into the market.  You can view a sample of that work here.

"We are extremely pleased with the brand identity that Dee has helped us achieve for The Commerce Bank of Oregon.  Dee helped us think outside the box about the kind of bank we want to be, and guided us through the process of refreshing our core values, mission/vision statements, and brand imagery.  Her work has helped us stand out as the Exceptional business bank that we are, and 5 years later, the powerful imagery, messaging, and guidelines that Dee created for us are still as relevant as when they were first created."

Terri McKinnis
SVP Operations

The brand's new tagline is "An Exceptional Business Bank". 
I sized the folders such that they would double as a presentation folder as well as a hanging file folder, complete with an identifying tab.  I chose  Clear Foil for the word Exceptional, and overlaid white foil for the logo.  The effect is shimmery, while still warm and classic.
A presentation folder should tell a story, and the story we wanted to tell was about how the bank is Exceptional.
For paper stock, I used thick card stock coated in a "soft touch" finish, which enabled the folder to extend the brand experience through touch.
The business cards are also embossed with clear foil for the word "Exceptional"
The centerpiece to the collateral family was this Z-fold brochure, coated with "soft touch".  It explains, in the bank's new language, what it means to be an Exceptional Business Bank.  I felt it was important to use this as a public piece, not just an internal training tool, because it is so uncommon for financial institutions to lead with their values.
Brand Attributes encapsulate the core beliefs of an organization; they are the characteristics that make it unique.  
Each provides a crucial ingredient that makes the whole distinct and allows employees, clients, shareholders, prospects, and community members to better understand the brand and what it stands for.

The Commerce Bank of Oregon’s Brand Attributes define the bank today, and provide the building blocks for growing the bank tomorrow.  They are actual and aspirational, internal and external. Together, they tell the story of The Commerce Bank of Oregon.
We used more foil for the logo on the bank's envelopes and letterhead.  
An effective brand originates from the foundation of a thoughtfully executed and implemented visual identity. The core components of a visual identity (logo, color palette, typefaces, graphic elements) are the basic building blocks of a brand. When applied consistently, a well executed identity will do more than identify -  it will become synonymous with the values, mission and character of your organization.

Of course, brands are not made overnight. The relationship your identity creates with your audience is the result of thoughtful and consistent application. Consistency establishes familiarity – providing your audience with a comfortable reference point for hearing your message. I created brand guidelines to help the bank take the first step toward building an effective and sustainable brand.
The website portion of the refresh focused on making small changes with big impacts.  We updated the brand's colors (brighter), photography, and typographic styles.  I removed stock photos and instead hired a photographer to take on-site photos of the team, eleminating the feel of a generic stock bank. 
I  incorporated the attribute messaging onto each main section of the site. 
In the headers, we tied in messaging from the brand attributes, and used imagery of Oregon nature to help the brand more closely connect to the local market. 
Brand Refresh // The Commerce Bank of Oregon

Brand Refresh // The Commerce Bank of Oregon

Brand Refresh for The Commerce Bank of Oregon, a premier business bank located in Portland, OR. This was the first refresh since the bank's incep Read More

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