BMO Harris Bank

Continue aggressive growth plan amid an increasingly competitive market in an industry experiencing intense consolidation.


  • Adopt a “trusted adviser” brand strategy to differentiate in a commoditized industry.
  • Create an integrated marketing program that created opportunities to:
    • Allow bankers face-to-face access to key customers and prospects.
    • Showcase the bank’s knowledge of key customer pain points.
    • Offer interaction with influential “big thinkers” with whom customers/prospects would not normally have opportunity to engage.
    • Align bank’s subject matter experts with “big thinkers” and position as industry thought leaders.
  • Use program to change brand perception and drive preference.


  • Created successful branding framework that used Big Thinker positioning approach for five years.
  • Altered brand perception of BMO Harris significantly among important emerging major corporate client and prospect base.
  • Generated opportunities for bankers to go from transactional sales to solutions selling to trusted adviser status.
  • Increased brand preference against key competitors according to independent research, pre- and post-program.

ComBlu’s Role

  • Created the framework for the launch and execution for the Big Thinker program.
    • Created quarterly keystone event featuring big names such as Gary Hamel and Jack Welsh.
    • Created a template for supporting thought leadership content created by both the “thinker” and the BMO SME.
    • Developed disruptive marketing materials that ensured high open rate and ultimately event enrollment.
    • Used quarterly event cycle to launch thought leadership sprints featuring topic.
    • Held local meetings with BMO SME to extend impact of keystone event.
  • Executed program from soup to nuts.
  • Researched key topics aligned with customer pain points.
  • Identified associated “big thinker” and handled all negotiations, logistics and event strategy.
  • Created all thought leadership content, event collateral and ongoing thought leadership campaign.