How a Change In Emphasis Brought a Team Together

 Uniting Bank of Montreal's Technology Culture

From Many To one

We were invited to develop a internal culture brand help the Bank's technology people come together as one.


Each different operating unit had its own technology group. This resulted in vast duplication of resources and lack of cooperation across business units – slowing down the Bank's metabolism and frustrating implementation of enterprise strategy and standards.

Symptoms of this Balkanized condition were both an allegiance to the local business unit and a somewhat bureacratized culture resistant to change. The goal of the technology brand initiative was to create an overall allegiance to the Bank and to inculcate an attitude of achievement that would overcome ingrained risk aversion that stymied change.

We faced two key challenges:

  • First, there was no one identity that united the disparate operations of the Bank. The investment side operated under Nesbitt Burns and other brands. The retail banking side operated under the Bank of Montreal brand. The US operations operated under the Harris Bank label. And that was only the major business units.
  • Second, the brand positioning of the Bank's major units was strictly advertising-based. It said nothing about service, either to the internal or external customer. 

The development of the Emfisys brand was a galvanizing event.


The slogan, With Emfisys Anything Is Possible expressed a new attitude and the identity offered a flag for the organization to rally around. 

Key to the success of the initiative as the development of a core set of cultural principles to govern the behaviour and attitudes of the staff, along with the artifacts of culture such as lapel pins, sweatshirts, posters, briefcases and the like that expressed their allegiance to the first trans-enterprise business unit.

The Team

Brand strategy, naming, strategic direction: Harry Cornelius (Sideren)
Design partner: Ove Design and Communications/Dwayne Brookson