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The Future of Branches

“The Future of Branches” is another presentation by Jeffry Pilcher, Publisher of The Financial Brand and President/ICONiQ. It takes a look at trends in retail branch design, and examines the best practices for engineering a branded financial environment. The presentation features 50 photos and dozens of examples. Here’s a summary of the main points.

  • With your next branch, be deliberate, strategic and intentional.
    Don’t just do “what you’ve always done.”
  • You need to build your branch around interactions, not transactions.
  • Think like a retailer. Move from “fortresses” to “stores.”
  • Cross-sell your financial products and services.
  • Think in terms of retail zones. Create retail destinations.
  • Create brand theater.
  • Have a retail street presence.
  • You can create a secure environment without compromising your retail focus…
    and without turning into Fort Knox.
  • Make it enjoyable.
  • Make it memorable.
  • Differentiate.

“The Future of Branches” is one of four presentations available from The Financial Brand that have been built specifically for financial institutions. The other three presentations include “The 7 Deadly Branding Sins,” “Results 2.0,” and “The 11 Cs of Breakthrough Brands.”

All content © 2017 by The Financial Brand and may not be reproduced by any means without permission.

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  1. Tim McAlpine says:

    Another great deck. Do you sleep?

  2. Yes. From around 10 pm to 6 am. But as long as my eyes are open, I keep them peeled for things you guys will (hopefully) be interested in πŸ˜‰

  3. It’s too bad you couldn’t hear the script Ron. One of the first points I made were about “the lonely souls” who simply like the social interaction they get by going into branches. I also point out that staff are the most important aspect of the in-branch experience (see slide 11), but that was an entirely different 60-minute topic and beyond the scope of this particular presentation (something else I mention in the script).

    Yes, the presentation was focused on design, as promised in the presentation’s title, “The Future of Branches – Trends in Retail Financial Branch Design.” And I believe there were a number of tips in the presentation about how to use branch design to maximize sales. I should also point out that the examples included in the presentation aren’t necessarily recommendations. They are used for illustrative purposes only. Many are included simply to show extremes. And some are examples of what not to do (such as UNCB’s Starbucks-style “Gold Cafe”).

    The presentation was never designed to be an all-encompassing exploration of branches. I only had 1 hour, so I packed what I could into this webinar (which was intentionally built to be visually-based). I’m sorry it doesn’t address your issues concerning staff and the strategic role/purpose of branches, but those are both excellent ideas for future “Future of Branches” presentations.

  4. Ron Shevlin says:

    So what that 60% of people go into a branch every month?

    A large % of them may be elderly people who go there because they get their social interaction that way. Another large % may be going there simply to deposit their paycheck and get out (cuz’ they don’t want to use the ATM and RDC isn’t widespread yet).

    You’re on the right track by focusing on the transition from transaction to interaction. For most people, banking is a CHORE. But fancy-shmancy branches don’t change that.

    What’s at the core of this transition is moving a customer up the “value chain” from managing an account to managing their financial life. And there a lot of firms working on that — firms like Mint, Wesabe, Geezeo, FinanceWorks, etc. ONLINE firms.

    There are too many people in the banking industry who get confused about what a “branch” is. Vernon Hill (ex-CEO of Commerce Bank) argues that nobody wants a relationship with their computer. I’d argue that nobody wants a relationship with a brick, either. A branch — historically, at least — has been nothing more than a place to have a “face to face” interaction. It’s the access to PEOPLE that has made the branch important — the ability to do things there that can’t be done (or done well) through other touchpoints. Technology is changing all that. Technology is making it possible to not only have that “face to face” contact without having to go to a physical place to do it, it’s making the support and account opening interactions better.

    Some banks have tried the retail-driven, Starbucks-inspired branch design. It’s not a panacea, and it’s been a waste of money for at least some (if not most) of them. And I think you’ve mis-characterized retailers’ objectives with store design. They don’t necessarily try to make shopping “enjoyable” — they try to maximize sales.

    Some banks have tried the retail-driven, Starbucks-inspired branch design. It’s not a panacea, and for many other banks and CUs, following that path may very well be a complete waste of money. Especially for those who are trying to acquire more younger consumers.

    It’s a very well designed presentation, Jeffry, but I question whether it represents the “future of branches”. You’ve focused on the “design” of branches. A more important question that banks and CUs must address is the “purpose” of branches. Any bank or CU that puts money into the design of a branch before addressing the purpose question is wasting its money.

  5. Haider A Rashed says:

    I have seen The Future of Branches presentation on Slideshare would apprecaite a copy of your presentation by email.

    best regards
    Haider A Rashed
    GM – Operations
    Alinma Bank (Under establishment)

  6. Fred Goodwin says:

    All I can say is WOW!!!
    This is something we have been talking about here for a couple of months, have you been spying on me again πŸ˜€

    One idea I have been trying to float, which is an extension on what you have typed (so you might have said it) is to design the branch to the demographic it will be servicing. That is, if it is is in the middle of a shopping centre go Retail, if it is near Light Industrial Areas, perhaps you have a different design to allow busineses to do what they want to do.

    Of course this might be hard to get right.

  7. Jeffry Pilcher says:

    Thanks for the feedback Fred. It’s my hope that we can meet in person some day.

    I like your approach — environmentally contextual.

  8. An interesting article about the pros and cons of a retail branch strategy.

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