A best practices case study for building an ownable and distinctive prototype branch
The fourth largest Texas-headquartered bank, PlainsCapital Bank is a financial institution serving their customers through highly personalized relationship banking at more than 60 branch locations across the state. To better serve their North Dallas clientele, PlainsCapital Bank partnered with Adrenaline in 2020 to leverage the company’s industry-leading turnkey design-build process for their North Dallas prototype branch which delivers an immersive brand experience and intuitive footprint from the outside-in.
In this multi-story, corporate building, the branch was located on the first floor adjacent to the main entrance lobby. The new design would need to define and distinguish the space for PlainsCapital for the customer-facing portion of the bank, as well as provide a home for back-of-house activities for the bank. With a leased space that was much larger than the bank required, the new prototype branch needed to repurpose the real estate to optimize the space for better functionality and leverage the storefront as a billboard to welcome in retail and small business customers.
Following a comprehensive experience planning session, the team developed a design and implementation strategy for the retail experience that created meaningful, branded engagement. The design also optimizes space planning for staff and operationalizes efficiencies, addressing the administrative functions of the branch. With the branch positioned in the lobby of the office building, the space needed to seamlessly transform into a brand beacon, spotlighting the branch as a branded banking experience.
Inside an Ownable Space
With the branch located in an office-tower lobby and little exterior signage to attract people inside, the design of this prototype branch really leaned on elevating interior elements to inspire and influence customers and staff alike. The large open lobby-facing windows created clear visibility to impactful focal walls, bringing the PlainsCapital Bank signature to the space and a distinctive interior branded billboard.
A focus on functionality and usability of the space was also a priority for the design, moving the branch from five to six staff towards efficiently operating with three employees, deploying new technology like PTMs (Personal Teller Machines) to help the bank facilitate a modern, efficient experience for customers in an upgraded environment. The branch demonstrates that PlainsCapital Bank can have an even better banking experience by shedding the trappings of the typical branch – like a heavy millwork teller line – and facilitating movement and engagement inside a striking new space.
From inside out, PlainsCapital Bank’s new prototype branch makes the most of brand presence and fosters a cohesive experience, providing a better opportunity to connect with customers within a new branded environment. A reinterpretation of PlainsCapital’s Mo the Buffalo serves as the backdrop to the branch and also as a unifying force emphasizing the bank’s roots shining a spotlight on the unique story of this North Dallas branch. Brand culture messaging is on display in the back of house administrative areas, reinforcing what each employee of PlainsCapital Bank represents.
On the exterior of the branch, a challenge turned into an opportunity. Since there was no spot for master signage allocated to PlainsCapital Bank, the team needed to get creative about how to drive awareness and foot traffic. To make the most of existing exterior real estate, the design maximized the brand exposure potential of the drive-up, which was really the only exterior presence available. Doing double-duty, the drive-up became the primary signage vehicle – not only as a transaction point, but also as a place to point people into the building.
One big advantage to that approach is that the drive-up already had great projection potential with ideal proximity to the main artery roadway that runs by the bank. To maximize the positioning, the team designed and deployed branded color and a custom texture to wrap the whole canopy. Using as much area as possible, the master signage and motivational message on the canopy not only communicates that the bank is here, but also broadcasts what the PlainsCapital Bank brand stands for at the same time.
With PlainsCapital Bank’s new branch, Adrenaline’s experience-first approach extended beyond design and deployment of the branch itself. Understanding that positive experience during and following construction for the bank is as central to the success of a space as the design, the team liaised between the bank and the contractor to manage and facilitate the construction work. Further, as a partner the Adrenaline team was able to work with a preferred local general contractor and provide the bank with a kit-of-parts that could be rolled out into other branch environments to upgrade them to the new brand standard.
Addressing multiple use cases of the space, the experience-first approach resulted in a design that addresses aesthetic appeal and operational functionality – incorporating communications, transactions and consultations with varying levels of privacy and utility. Going well beyond typical interior design considerations, the space achieves a beautiful balance of form and function, with a complete branded package that incorporates multiple disciplines and best practices in banking. With the new prototype, PlainsCapital Bank has a branch with a proud personality that’s a destination in Dallas.