Building Trust... in a Building
Lance Boge in Brand, Retail, Retail, Technology

I recently wrote a blog post about "the space between" — the open space inside a bank between the tellers and the offices that has previously been used for brochures and forms — focused almost solely on facilitating transactions rather than forging relationships. Thanks to smartphones and mobile technology, we consumers increasingly manage transactions online and with hand-held devices, and rarely go into the bank anymore. Simultaneously due to the down economy, we trust big bankers less than ever before. So what does that physical space in the bank become? Is the local bank at risk of becoming obsolete? How can the bank and its customers re-engage?

In August 2010, Gensler conducted a survey to measure our habits, preferences and perceptions as customers of banks. These are some of the things we discovered:

Therefore, as we increasingly conduct transactions outside of the bank, branches have the opportunity to evolve into learning centers connecting customers with knowledgeable experts: building relationships of trust. Brainstorming over lunch with our own retail designers and brand strategists about what this means for retail bank design, we heard keywords like smart, connected, familiar, authentic, comfortable, honest, residential, real, tangible, private and personal. And now we're developing specific design solutions that address these values.

How would you define your ideal neighborhood bank branch? What would encourage you to go back to the bank more often?

Lance Boge is a former design director for Gensler’s global retail practice, and principal in our New York office. With over 30 years of experience in branded environments, prototype and retail design, Lance directed the practice with a keen awareness of the impact that consumer insights, research and trends have on the built environment.
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