SUPPLEMENT: DESIGN AWARDS 96; Industry Sector awards: Best use of design in financial services marketing sponsored by MCA Group



Client: NatWest

Consultancy: Design House

Project: NatWest Prime Retail Stores


Client: Banco Banif

Consultancy: RPA Europe

Project: New branch design


Client: Tradepoint

Consultancy: Springpoint

Project: Launch


One of the hardest tasks for today’s consumers is to know where to go

for specific financial needs. Building societies have become banks, big

retail brand names now offer their own financial products, ATMs and

telephone banking are the order of the day, all tempting customers who

once would have stayed with a bank for life. This represents a serious

threat to high street banks as we know them.

The challenge for NatWest was to reposition branch outlets in the light

of trends and changes in customer and competitor behaviours and

perceptions. The result, launched late last year, was the UK’s first

seven-day ‘Financial Store’ in Lakeside Shopping Centre, Thurrock. It

was closely followed by another in Basingstoke.

They were designed to create an environment which was about people,

where customers could feel comfortable and relaxed, and which let them

take time to discuss their financial affairs. They demonstrate core

brand values, while retaining existing corporate identity, yet encourage

interaction between customers and staff, plus facilitate the use of the

automated self-service options.

The store’s meeting rooms are comfortable, with TV and games packs to

amuse the kids, and have an indoor atrium in the browsing area which

creates the look of natural light and helps attract customers. Customers

can sit, have a coffee and read the papers.

New merchandising layouts and formats help to move the customer around

the store, while the counters at Basingstoke are protected by a light

sensor-triggered steel screen, unique in a banking environment.

Initial results are promising: 19% of Lakeside and 9% of Basingstoke

footfall are non-NatWest current account holders, compared to 1% in

control branches. But perhaps the most telling insight came from an

employee: ‘I’ve had customers who’ve done non-stop talking and they say

‘I must let you go to get on with your work’ and I say ‘no, this is my

work, do you want a cup of tea?’ ’


Banco Banif, jointly owned by two of the largest banks in the Iberian

peninsular, Banco Central Hispano and Banco Comercial Portug-EAs,

located through research a new niche market which was previously

underdeveloped within Spain: private banking for high net worth


It wanted a new corporate identity and branch concept and to launch and

reposition Banco Banif as an exclusive private bank. The solution was a

pure, uncluttered transaction area leading to a galleria designed to

reflect an elegant atmosphere, complete with a wide corridor geared to

display antique furniture and contemporary works of art.

Sales so far are 600% up on forecasts, while there has been a 5%

increased investment per customer post launch.


Launching into a market where one product previously reigned supreme is

a tricky venture.

Tradepoint, the first competitor to the London Stock Exchange, was

launched last year. It is an order-driven, screen-based, electronic

market for securities trading which - in a conservative market - needed

immediate recognition of its innovation and trustworthiness.

Springpoint, through design, positioned it as the ‘new establishment’ of

the City. It created a marque which used the visual language associated

with paper currency, presented in a contemporaneous form.

So far, around 42 firms, including some of the City’s largest investment

banks, stockbrokers and institutional investment companies, have signed



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