BrandPartners takes a strategic partnership approach
with our valued client relationships. More than a vendor, we
consider ourselves stakeholders, fully invested in the ongoing
success of each and every project we implement. To achieve
optimal brand expression, functionality and sales effectiveness,
5 directives guide our efforts as retail strategists, designers and
1. Match, in a thoughtful way the needs and preferences of
customers with the retail experience offered
2. Search for appropriate and relevant points of differentiation
Old National Bank (above) Community First Bank (below)
3. Identify the true spirit of the brand, and infuse that spirit
into every aspect of a store’s look and feel
4. Use the space as effectively as possible
5. Develop a set of environmental tools that
foster a sales and service culture
With this thinking in place, BrandPartners can effectively deliver
unique design solutions that meet the individualized retail objec-
tives of our clients.
Our design team is motivated by the belief
that all of the aspects of a retail branch combine to create
one real experience of a corporation, its culture and customer
commitment. When conceived in a more holistic way, properly
executed branch design can function as the most powerful ex-
pression of brand character that creates a lasting impression.
At its best, a thoughtfully designed program that considers
customers needs, it’s place in the community and the support of
a highly motivated staff can deliver tangibly and consistently on
your brand promise engendering preference and loyalty in cus-
Bank of America (above) Comerica Bank (below)
BrandPartners’ key differentiators can be summed up in
four words; Passion, Innovation, Value and Results.
At BrandPartners we listen carefully to our customers needs
and have a passion for turning the solutions to those needs
into a reality. Our understanding of customer behavior in the
retail environment combined with the development of best of
breed retail design, produces the innovation necessary to allow
our clients to differentiate their unique position in a competitive
Our holistic approach means that we sweat the details on each
and every aspect of a project to deliver the value our clients
VALUE INNOVATION require for bottom line proﬁtability. Providing staff training mod-
ules with our prototype design implementations dramatically
increases cross-sell capabilities between lines of business pro-
viding increased sales results.
We believe in brands made real.
We do our work at retail, where the customer and the brand
We do it with imagination, strategy, design and total realization of
For 25 years we have made brands real for 36,000 ﬁnancial retail
locations in the United States and Europe. Our holistic approach
has been designed to enhance every aspect of the customer
experience helping to make our clients brand promise a reality.
To accomplish this we have enlisted the services of a focused
Minnesota Bank & Trust (above left) The Provident Bank (above right) National City Bank (below) group of dedicated professionals to provide a seamless project
Our our staff of strategists, architects, designers, engineers, proj-
ect managers, analysts, general contractors and implementation
specialists work together to bring the best creative and strategic
thinking to the ﬁnancial marketplace.
BrandPartners believes a retail space must deliver tangibly
and consistently on the brand promise.
BrandPartners teams with ﬁnancial organizations to positively
inﬂuence consumer buying behavior through brand translation,
creative services, retail merchandising, retail digital networking,
design/build and strategic market intelligence. Clients depend
upon BrandPartners’ turnkey services to help maximize a ﬁnan-
cial institution’s most visible often most under-utilized asset – the
Our holistic approach has been designed to enhance every as-
pect of the customer experience helping to make our clients
HSBC (above) Integra Bank (below) brand promise a reality. To accomplish this we have enlisted the
services of a focused group of dedicated professionals to pro-
vide a seamless integration of the following services:
• Strategic market intelligence
• Store design and construction
• Brand and retail positioning
• Customer experience mapping
• Environmental graphic design
• Retail merchandising display programs
• In-store POS communications
• Field installation and de-merchandising services
• Program maintenance and web support services
The heart of our design process is a based on our holistic
approach which we utilize in all client projects. This approach guides
the efforts of a multidisciplinary team of experts all working to bring
to life a compelling, three-dimensional embodiment of a brand.
We achieve these directives by carefully helping our clients fol-
low the path of our 4-D strategic process:
brand current network
DELIVER DEFINE brand positioning customer experience
placement strategy communication strategy
architecture & furniture environmental graphics
merchandising ﬁxtures POS communications
signature elements retail windows
program management construction management
print production & fulﬁllment rollout
BANK OF AMERICA | Countrywide conversion
• Brand Strategy Program Integration Areas evaluated were: the current (and desired) retail experience, all point
• Environmental Branding Program Management of sale , communication needs, associate sales tactics, as well as various
• Architectural /Interior Design Design Application architectural assets.
• Retail Systems / Displays Space Planning / Design
Deﬁne (Phase Two): BrandPartners developed Customer Experience Zones,
PROJECT SUMMARY weighing unique activities such as making payments, private consultations,
BrandPartners has worked with Bank of America Corporation (BAC) since the deﬁning how customers enter the space, work with mortgage loan ofﬁcers and
early nineties. Initiatives like the branch revitalization SMART Program (Strategic transition to consultation rooms.
Merchandise and Refurbishment Team) and the Fleet Bank conversion ﬁrmly
established BrandPartners as one of Bank of America’s key strategic partners. Design (Phase Three): Working under an extremely tight deadline based on
Managing the hardware design and deployment for all of the Eastern States conversion initiatives, BrandPartners Strategy, Design and Engineering teams
made BrandPartners a natural choice when BAC was challenged with a speedy collaborated to deﬁne the desired future state of Bank of America Home Loans.
re-branding of the Countrywide Home Mortgage Ofﬁces. It was especially challenging to carry the Master BAC design into the space as
a distinct yet separate look and feel for the new Mortgage Divsion. The end
The primary communication goals were to bridge the challenged Countrywide result was a cohesive family of wall frames, entrance signage, counter displays,
Brand to the strength and stability of the BAC brand by effectively promoting payment covers and transition area signage to harmonize with architectural
Bank of America’s home mortgage product and services. With only seven assets and furniture systems already in place.
months until turn-over and a ﬁrmly established budget, cost containment and
speed to market were critical factors in the program’s design and execution. Deliver (Phase Four): The battle cry soon became: “7 months cradle to grave”…
all required site analysis, site recommendations, program forecasting and
SOLUTION estimating netted in the design, engineering, manufacturing of 18,000 display
Discovery (Phase One): Upfront strategic development quickly became the faces, 12,000 pockets incorporating 20 tons of acrylic, 4 acres of steel and
foundation to the program’s success. Extensive site visits, store analysis, 10,000 pounds of paint powder for 2,200 nationwide stores. In collaboration
facilitated discussion, and interviews were employed by BrandPartners to with the Banks’ West Coast partners, BrandPartners completed the deployment
better understand the existing Countrywide Experience. Understanding critical under budget and ahead of schedule.
nuances of the life of the BAC Home Mortgage lending process was of upmost
importance. The space differs greatly from a banking center as there are no
traditional teller lines, drive-ups or cash available on site.
BANK OF AMERICA | interior design enhancement strategy
SERVICES PROVIDED Methodology: Enhanced customer enjoyment experienced through inviting
• Brand Strategy Program Integration retail banking spaces will drive an increase in wallet share and customer
• Environmental Branding Design Application loyalty. As a foundation to the program’s development, BrandPartners
• Architectural/Interior Design facilitated an interdisciplinary design workshop for key Bank stake holders.
• Program Management Through consensus building, the multidisciplinary team deﬁned the IDES
• Retail Systems/Displays program design as requiring the following tenets: clever, compelling, surprising,
• SpacePlanning/Design dynamic, dimensional, educational and most importantly warm and welcoming.
PROJECT SUMMARY Design Strategy: Help ground the newly embraced in-store strategy; develop
After completing a standard round of basic renovations such as paint, paper a practice of more emotive selling through associative retail zones; conduct an
and carpeting, Bank of America realized they really needed more of a design extensive “discovery” process of store visits, involved interviews with Bank staff,
enhancement to drive customer engagement and loyalty. So they reached out to and a review of Bank of America’s communication goals to develop design
BrandPartners to come up with a design that would “Through visual and tactile attributes that would strengthen the customer experience at the Banking
executions, encourage customers to enjoy and look forward to their visits to a Centers; simplify and organize the space by inspiring and delighting customers.
Bank of America Banking Center” and help the bank to develop a tiered approach
for utilizing both existing and new BrandPartners’ environmental solutions. SOLUTION
BrandPartners developed an integrated space with a prioritized visual
The goal of Bank of America’s Design Team was to increase warmth, create a language that effectively projected Bank of America’s identity using the
welcoming environment through the richness of texture & comfort, and retroﬁt a following key components: new branding and visual focal points, new
signature look into cavernous banking centers and remote ATM. The Bank also merchandising solutions, new wall texturing & treatments, millwork solutions,
wanted to “own red” in the banking space, particularly the feelings of warmth enhanced lighting and furnishing concepts for deployment to approximately
that red invokes. Ultimately, the desired customer reaction was “Wow! I like the 113 newly renovated banking centers in key markets. The solution required
new look and enjoy coming to the bank. I didn’t know banking could be like this.” the modularity and ﬂexibility for deployment to a variety of architectural
conditions and ultimately incorporation into new store construction.
BrandPartners embarked upon an extensive collaborative process that
leveraged the following two principles: enhancing the customer and staff store The environmental designs have been deployed in numerous locations :
experiences, and continuing to meet all the Bank’s communications needs of New York City, California, Chicago and Charlotte NC – Bank of America’s
brand & channels as deﬁned through the strategic design process. headquarters city.
NATIONAL CITY BANK | windows program
• Communication Audits BrandPartners has conducted multiple campaigns for National City. The first paired Na-
• Environmental Branding tional City’s support for breast cancer research with their sponsorship of the Cleveland
• Environmental Graphics Browns in “Real Men Wear Pink.” Several years of successful windows programs have
followed and today the program has been expanded to six additional sites with window
PROJECT SUMMARY merchandising campaigns promoting a holiday gift card program, a savings program
After successfully completing a network-wide remerchandising program for National and a points program.
City Bank, BrandPartners embarked on the transformation of a previously overlooked
opportunity residing right in the bank’s Cleveland headquarters building; its prime
window real estate. The project began as a design challenge to connect the bank
sponsored NFL team with breast cancer awareness. The “street-level billboards” have
garnered the bank media and community attention as well as making a significant
contribution to the city’s downtown beautification project.
National City’s window merchandising has come a long way since its inception. In the
first two years, BrandPartners worked with National City to transform the traditional
look of the massive windows in its Cleveland headquarters into a
showcase for effective merchandising.
Ten windows, each more than 23 feet by 12 feet, were transformed from mini-blinds
to a series of stylish window merchandising displays. The windows now act as free,
street-level billboards along one of the city’s major intersections. With dramatic evening
lighting, the displays project the banks image and promotions 24 hours a day, seven
days a week.
To further capitalize on the windows, BrandPartners suggested taking advantage of the
upper and lower window segments to create a brand message on the top tier of the di-
vided windows and use the bottom tier for current promotional messages. The branding
remains in place as promotional messages are changed out on the lower windows on
a regular basis. This allows for both consistency and the ability to keep the messaging
and displays fresh.
NATIONAL CITY BANK | Florida expansion
• Environmental Graphics a Florida Mediterranean design style with a distinctive, welcoming front porch at the
• Market Analysis entry, “Main Street”-style oversized retail windows, multiple levels of Spanish tiled roof-
• Architecture / Interior Design ing that holds up to unpredictable weather conditions and four main gable forms giving
prominence to building signage.
When Cleveland-based National City Bank purchased two sizeable bank networks in The interior design includes a lower ceiling over a “Living Room” area to create a more
Florida, the nation’s sixth-largest bank was faced with entering a market where it en- comfortable and defined waiting area for an aging demographic, and incorporates mill-
joyed little brand awareness. National City wanted to aesthetically integrate their brand work consistent with Midwest designs, yet using a lighter wood tone consistent with
attributes into the branch environments of its new geographic footprint while being Florida attributes.
respectful of regional conditions, demographics, and architectural styles. The National
City project included recommendations for both interior and exterior color palettes,
interior design refurbishment recommendations, and a new prototype branch design to
support their Florida expansion plans.
Using field photography and floorplans from a merchandising rollout already in prog-
ress, BrandPartners made interior design recommendations for converting the exist-
ing branches into environments more consistent with National City’s brand attributes.
BrandPartners created a master interior materials palette, consisting of refreshing, lu-
minous colors of beach glass, the ocean, and sea shells, then delivered refurbishment
floorplans for each of the branches, indicating design specifications for walls, flooring,
and millwork. The recommendations all tied back to a Decision Tree Matrix that es-
timated refurbishment costs by component and by branch, allowing National City to
make informed budgetary and scheduling decisions.
To support National City’s desire for future Florida expansion, BrandPartners de-
signed a branch Prototype that takes into consideration Florida architectural styles
and colors, as well as demographic and climate challenges. BrandPartners created
WACHOVIA | branch synchronization strategy
SERVICES PROVIDED Phase 2: involved the process of strategically deﬁning a program that would
• Brand Translation synchronize the operational and brand needs discovered in Phase 1 with
• Strategic Environmental Branding the remaining system network. This process involved mapping a new Wa-
• Site Reconnaissance / Analysis chovia customer experience, deﬁning an extensive system of branch sig-
• Retail Readiness Conditions Audit nature elements solutions that maintained the most cost effective program.
• Environmental Communications
• Merchandising Systems Design Phase 3: aimed to design and reﬁne the visual platform for all the necessary
• Exterior / Interior Signature Elements Design branded branch components.
• Atmospheric Design
• Program Management BrandPartners developed a template design integrating all aspects of the branch
• Implementation (suspended due to merger) translation exercise: architectural features/assets, environmental design oppor-
tunities, branding, merchandising, communications tools and general signage.
Wachovia was seeking to address challenges surrounding the issues of adapt- Phase 4: The ﬁnal delivery phase outlined the program management approach
ing their established ﬁnancial center proto-model brand in an effective and ef- for the holistic, turnkey delivery that integrated internal and external partners in
ﬁcient manner. BrandPartners was requested to design and deliver a branded the execution of the branch remodels by the year-end 2008.
environmental system that would allow Wachovia to express their brand over
more of their traditional network. Implementation of this program is subsequently awaiting the details of the
Wells Fargo merger.
BrandPartners followed a focused and deliberate four-phase process that in-
cluded the following:
Phase 1: uncovered business, brand and design fundamentals that propelled
the original branch remodeling program. A BrandPartners team composed of
strategists, designers and analysts gathered crucial information for the de-
velopment of a holistic environmental program including; the Wachovia busi-
ness model, brand positioning & implementation strategies, customer expe-
rience strategies, segmentation strategies and communication opportunities.
H&R BLOCK | branch experience design & merger rollout
SERVICES PROVIDED SOLUTION
• Brand Strategy BrandPartners began by building on H&R Block’s strong brand equity, integrat-
• Communication Audits ing the mortgage and brokerage businesses through the creation of financial
• Environmental Branding centers using bold color keys to identify and showcase each business.
• Architecture / Interior Design
• Construction Services BrandPartners designed and constructed 12 new prototype sites. The two
• Space Planning / Design phase construction and interior finish program consisted of 300 Olde sites
• Contract Furniture with an initial exterior sign replacement at all locations. Each phase, 72 exist-
• Project Management / Installation ing H&R Block branches and then the conversion of 120 Olde branches was
• Kiosks & Displays executed in an efficient four to six week construction and rebranding imple-
• Environmental Graphics mentation schedule to “open for business” branches.
When H&R Block wanted to accelerate its transformation from a well-known
tax preparation company to a financial services provider offering investments
and mortgages as well as its tax preparation services, they turned to the exper-
tise of BrandPartners. With their recent acquisition of Olde discount brokerage,
H&R Block also wanted to convert a portion of Olde branches, and new loca-
tions, into rebranded H&R Block Financial Centers.
With the re-branding, H&R Block also wanted to transform customer and gen-
eral public perception from just a tax services provider, to a provider of addi-
tional financial services as well as cross-selling its new business products to its
existing tax customers.
SUNTRUST | branch experience design
• Brand Strategy BrandPartners also developed modular standards to address SunTrust’s variety
• Communication Audits of traditional, storefront and in-store branches. Using “signature” architectural
• Environmental Branding elements, a consistent retail environment is created that was easy to apply to
• Architecture / Interior Design all branches.
• Millwork / Signature Elements
• Audit & Analysis With a more standardized construction processes and product delivery,
• Environmental Graphics SunTrust was able to shorten the time needed for new ofﬁces to achieve
• Marketing Collateral proﬁtability. Flexible design elements also allowed the bank to make easy and
inexpensive modiﬁcations to existing locations.
When you’re one of the nation’s largest retail banks with a demonstrated re-
cord of growth from both expansion and proﬁtability, why tamper with success?
SunTrust recognized that to manage its growth, the bank needed a new re-
tail prototype to use for its continued branch expansion. With the new proto-
type, SunTrust also wanted to ensure the success of the business model it had
worked long and hard to develop.
SunTrust looked to BrandPartners to design a branch prototype to extend
throughout its existing branch network. The resulting design is a multi-layer
customer experience that guides the customer’s interactions with the branch’s
physical space and SunTrust products.
The ﬁrst impression conveys excitement for the SunTrust brand and provides
a compelling look at all SunTrust services. A key component to the design
is the customer quick-assist point, which complements SunTrust’s new lob-
by management stafﬁng model. A stand-up staffer is the ﬁrst to interact with
customers creating an immediate connection with the staff.
FLAGSTAR BANK | branch experience design
• Brand Strategy As a new player in Atlanta, Flagstar gained valuable visibility with BrandPart-
• Environmental Branding ners’ eye-catching exteriors. Extra-large windows allowed backlit graphics to
• Architectural / Interior Design stand out and be easily seen at night. The renovations proved quite successful
• Construction Services as the Mt. Vernon, GA, branch had the most successful start of any new Flag-
• Contract Furniture star branch ever built. BrandPartners also created a regional banking hub in
• Project Management / Installation Dunwoody, GA, and the prototype, in Duluth, GA, would be the model for the
• Kiosks & Displays future development of the Georgia network.
• Environmental Graphics
• Marketing Collateral
• Branch Training
Most of Flagstar’s growth in retail banking had been in Michigan and Indiana,
but Atlanta was calling. As one of the fastest growing areas in the country, and
with a positive community banking climate, the Atlanta metro market was one
area where Flagstar wanted to plant its mark in 2005 and beyond.
When Flagstar sought to enter the greater Atlanta retail banking market,
BrandPartners helped the well-known Midwestern bank turn locations such as
a former pizza parlor and ofﬁce condo into high-growth retail banking centers.
To enter this new market, Flagstar worked closely with BrandPartners by
conducting a strategic market analysis to identify the best locations for a de-
novo network, and then by drawing upon the BrandPartners’ Brand Blueprint
to ensure brand continuity in the new market. The Flagstar Freedom Pledge,
developed during the Brand Blueprint sessions, was prominently displayed in
each of the their banking centers.
M&T BANK | branch experience design
• Environmental Branding program, slated to appear in 50 locations within the ﬁrst year. The essence of
• Architecture / Interior Design the branded merchandising program has also been spread across the entire
• Kiosks & Displays network through a cost-effective retroﬁt program, with additional enhanced
• Environmental Graphics components planned for key growth markets.
• Marketing Collateral
• Branch Training
On the heels of an identity refresh, M&T Bank knew they needed to extend
their new brand attributes to their growing retail network. M&T selected Brand-
Partners to design a new branch prototype interior that was in line with their
new positioning. In conjunction, BrandPartners was tasked with developing a
branded merchandising package that would infuse the new brand look and
communication style into their 650 existing branches.
BrandPartners began the branch design with the customer experience as its
foundation. Through in-depth working sessions with M&T Bank executives, op-
erations, facilities and front-line staff BrandPartners documented the key cus-
tomer interaction points, and designed architectural, visual and communication
elements to facilitate the desired experience.
A signature teller-line and customer service counter were designed to anchor
the lobby and create a natural path through the branch, ideally leading transac-
tions into conversations. The M&T Bank brand was translated into the environ-
ment through colors, materials, and communication devices strategically placed
to unfold a story as the customer journeys through the branch. The new branch
design immediately became part of the bank’s aggressive build and renovation
SOVEREIGN BANK | branch experience design
• Brand Translation By focusing on designing an environment that was consultative rather
• Program Management Services than transaction-oriented, we were able to develop a prototype design that
• Environmental Graphics epitomized the neighborhood feelings of community and belonging. Zones
• Branch Prototype Design such as the front porch, marketplace, town common and community bar were
• Architectural Services clearly deﬁned focal points that engaged customers with the space. It is a multi-
functional design that allows for self- services as well as traditional banking
PROJECT SUMMARY services. For instance, ATMs were placed in the front lobby of the branch so
In an effort to more effectively differentiate themselves in the marketplace, customers could feel included in the environment, while teller lines were placed
Sovereign turned to BrandPartners to develop and design their branch of the in the back, visible and accessible yet allowing customers to explore at their
future. own pace.
BrandPartners kick started the process by conducting a brand translation
with the team at Sovereign. The purpose of the exercise was to gain a deep
understanding of the Sovereign brand so that it could be transformed into
a powerful physical brand expression that would create an association, and
emotion, and an expectation of what it meant to do business with Sovereign.
The essence of the ideas that came from the translation exercise centered
around a simple neighborhood concept. People associate very strong and
positive emotions with the idea of neighborhoods — a sense of community,
trust, belonging, and so it was only natural that the Sovereign brand was reborn
as “America’s Neighborhood Bank.”
The rest of the challenge lay in effectively transforming the Community Banking
Ofﬁce’s functions into a space that was all at once efﬁcient, ﬂexible, adaptable,
inviting, and dynamic. To the design teams at BrandPartners, it was a challenge
KEYBANK | branch experience design
• Audit & Analysis communications and provide the opportunity to synchronize that message in
• Kiosks & Displays the branch and across the network.
• Digital Signage
• Environmental Graphics BrandPartners began the KeyBank initiative with the de-merchandising and
• Marketing Collateral installation of new program components in 70 locations. In addition, BrandPart-
ners re-branded 31 branches of Union State Bank, a bank recently acquired by
PROJECT SUMMARY KeyBank, with a staged rollout to 146 existing sites and 18 denovo locations
Cleveland-based KeyBank is a $92-billion asset company with nearly 1,000 through 2009.
branches. When the bank needed a merchandising partner to design and de-
ploy a unique, branded environment to improve the customer experience and
deliver on the KeyBank promise, they chose BrandPartners to make their vision
The remerchandising program, described by KeyBank as atmospheric brand-
ing, is one layer in their new approach to retail banking and creates a distinctive,
branded retail environment that is easily repeatable across the branch network.
The program is uniquely associated with the KeyBank in-branch experience
and has the ability to deliver consistency across the entire network.
With the primary functions of communicating the KeyBank brand promise and
encouraging customer interaction through informational and educational sig-
nage as well as branded displays, the KeyBank rollout integrates strategic as-
pects of customer banking behavior, ease of use and leverages environmental
and architectural opportunities. It also balances all the assets of the branch’s
physical space, with the proper creative content to add to the customer experi-
ence while delivering on the KeyBank brand promise. As the program further
expands, it will continue to leverage existing and alternate advertising channel